We all want to give our homes more curb appeal, and one great way to do this without having to apply for planning permission or paying out for contractors is to give the outside of our homes a good old wash. Whether you are selling or just want your home to look more attractive, an exterior which gleams in the sun can make all the difference.
However, if you are about to reach for the pressure washer, then you may want to take a step back and have a rethink! Not all surfaces can take the pressure, so to say; some, like brick, can be damaged by the wrong tools. Here we will take you through which method is good for your home, and how to do it to get the job done.
When to pressure wash
Vinyl, wood sliding, and hybrid materials, are typically strong enough to withstand pressure washing. But before you head on down to the home improvement store to get yourself a new washer, consider how dirty your home is. It is always best to start with the lightest and most gentle cleaning method possible, and work your way up from there.
Try not to reach for the pressure washer unless you are fighting some serious grime - a layer of dirt or road dust will easily come off easily with an ordinary garden hose. However, if you are dealing with a thicker layer of muck, then a pressure washer can be an absolute necessity!
Be prepared to pressure wash
If you own your home and plan to use a pressure washer at least once a year, then it will be a good investment to buy your own rather than hiring. They do not come cheap, so do some research and read as many reviews as you can, like this Simpson MSH3125-S review, so you know that you are choosing the right one for your home and your needs.
- Soap or no soap? Water alone is usually enough to rid the outside of your house of dirt, but if you have mold or mildew you will probably want to get a specialist cleaner to put into the detergent compartment of your pressure washer.
- Choose the right nozzle. Pressure washer nozzles are measured in degrees - the ones which shoot water in a narrow area have the strongest spray, and should be used cautiously so as not to damage your property. Most homes will only need a 40 degree spray, so start from there and work your way down.
- Secure windows, doors, and pets. Make sure dogs and children are inside, and close all windows and doors before getting started. Remember to wear dirty clothes and some safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris.
Your new pressure washer is a pretty powerful thing, so remember to treat it with some respect! Use common sense and act as though it is like any other power tool that you own - it is just as dangerous after all! The spray which comes out of the nozzle is very concentrated and pressurized and can slice through skin, so remember to keep pets and children away at all costs. And never aim a pressure washer at another person!
Also, avoid spraying windows as the spray is powerful enough to smash the glass, especially in old homes with single pane or sash windows.
When to skip the pressure washer
Homes which are made out of brick, old wood or stucco are best washed by hand or with the garden hose, as they are far too delicate to handle a pressure washer. You won’t have to put in too much elbow grease though, as home improvement stores carry kits for washing these types of houses which include special nozzles for targeting without the full-frontal pressure of a washer.
Think about your plants
If you have plants growing up the side of your house, such as ivy, roses, clematis or vines, avoid using a pressure washer, regardless of whether or not the side of your house can handle it. If you have plants growing near the side of your house, but not on it, make sure you cover them with a plastic sheet to avoid damage.
How to wash your house with a garden hose
Before you head outside to clean your house, buy a cleaning kit from your local store to make the job a little bit easier. It should include a nozzle which you can attach to your garden hose and a specialized compartment for cleanser or detergent if you need it.
- Inspect. Take a good look around the outside of your house, so you know what state it is in. Keep an eye out for spots which are especially grotty, as these are the bits you will be taking on first.
- Pretreat. Once you have identified the areas which are the dirtiest, you will need to squirt these with a cleanser before attacking them with the hose. Areas which are especially dirty can also be tackled with a scrub with a soft brush.
- Wash. If you are using cleanser, then fill the compartment with this before turning on the house. Remember though, that unless your home is really dirty, water will be just fine to give it a wash down. Spray your home from bottom to top, one section at a time.
- Rinse. If you used a cleanser on the first time around, you will need to rinse your home with plain water to get all the soap off and to stop your house going moldy. This time, spray your home from top to bottom.
This is the perfect time of year to get out and clean your house, as the sun is mostly shining and it will dry off easily. Plus, being outside in good weather is much more enjoyable than being inside doing chores.
Do you have any more tips for cleaning the outside of your house? If so, drop us a comment below and let us know!