Power Washing-At A Glance

Spring is here! The air is crisp and clean, the temperature is rising, and everything is covered with a winter film of salt spray, gunk and of course, bugs. Time to power wash! Power washing is a logical and cost effective start to any spring cleaning. With a little direction and a bit of elbow grease, you could be on your way to a great season with return bookings for the year to come. Renters are becoming increasingly discriminating, and the homes that rent most often are those that stand out amongst the sea of cottages available. Homes that are not meticulously cleaned and maintained do not enjoy the return bookings that used to be taken for granted. Ask any sales or rental agent and they will tell you that curb appeal counts for a lot. When renters pull up to a home that is dirty on the outside, they will usually start looking for other situations that arent to their liking. Very often, power washing is all that is needed to get the outside of a home presentable and ready for your guests. Not only do you get the benefit of a good cleaning, as you perform this task, you will get the opportunity to inspect for signs of failed caulking, siding and trim rot, and other tell tale signs of trouble.

Last year we fielded an unusually large number of calls from rental agencies requesting emergency power washing. Since the wind blew almost exclusively out of the West for most of the summer, the east sides of rental homes were the gathering places for swarms of mosquitoes and spiders,and renters were very vocal about having those cleaned up right away. As the wind continued to blow from only one direction, the problem recurred each week and many homes were power washed each turnover day so that the property would be ready for the next guests. It became evident how important cleanliness really is to renters and their happiness. The Better Business Bureau gets thousands of requests for information on reputable companies who perform power washing each year. If you do not plan to attempt this yourself, you should ask your local BBB about the companies that you intend to solicit.

If you do plan to attempt the power washing yourself, look at your needs. Perhaps you intend to clean the outside of your home, your car, your driveway and maybe even your decks. All of these require only minimal pressure-it would be a waste of money to purchase a machine that delivers 4000 PSI (pounds per square inch) at 3.5 gallons per minute. We have had more success with much smaller machines that deliver between 1800 and 2500 PSI and up to 2 gallons of water per minute. These machines are also much lighter, take up less space, have fewer bells and whistles (to break), and are less expensive. The most common mistakes made by do-it-yourselfers when power washing are that they are too aggressive, use too much pressure and often ruin the surfaces that they are trying to clean. You can easily ruin decking, siding, concrete, and other surfaces with a power washer. For small, intermittent projects the smaller electrically driven machines will serve you better.