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How to Protect Your Outdoor Features During a Pressure Wash

calander Jul 11 , 2021 user-icon Nash Painting

Pressure washing is a vital task for both keeping your home free from dirt and grime and for preparing its surfaces for fresh coats of paint. Experts recommend that homeowners have their homes thoroughly washed at least two times a year to prevent mold buildup and maintain curb appeal. Moreover, many professional painting services include pressure washing as a key part of their surface preparation efforts. Ultimately, pressure washing is a step towards protecting your outdoor features. Unfortunately, the power that comes with pressure washing can also be destructive. In some cases, pressure washing can ruin a previous paint job that you wished to keep intact, fracture exterior surfaces, remove shingles, dent metal, and more. If pressure washing is both crucial and potentially hazardous, you must find the proper balance so that your surfaces are thoroughly cleaned but also come out unscathed.

Let’s go over how to protect your outdoor features before and during a pressure wash.

How to Protect Outdoor Features from Pressure Washing

Make Sure Pressure Washing Is the Way to Go

Pressure washing is certainly the most efficient way to wash your house exterior and other outdoor features. However, this doesn't mean that pressure washing is necessary or even recommended for every project. Indeed, it’s possible to damage certain surfaces via power washing, even if you use proper technique. Asphalt roofing, worn down/aged surfaces, lead painted surfaces, and glass (like windows) are just a handful of features you should not blast with a pressure washer and should instead be cleaned in other ways. Still, many outdoor features can hold up just fine when pressure washed, including gutters, patios, fences, sidewalks, outdoor furniture, most types of siding, and more. If you’re not sure about a particular surface, do some research and/or contact a power washing professional for their input.

Properly Configure Your Power Washer

When you’re certain that a particular surface is safe for pressure washing, you must still take necessary precautions to protect it and nearby outdoor features before blasting off. Simply put, not all pressure washers are created equal, differing in power type (i.e., gas or electrical), size, mobility, special features, etc. Moreover, an individual pressure washer can be configured and modified in various ways by attaching different nozzles, adjusting pressure/power levels, inserting different soaps and detergents, and so on. Before cleaning a surface this way, make sure all settings are optimized for the task at hand -- start by testing water flow, then select the right nozzle, power setting, and detergent for the job (some research will again be necessary to determine these things). Failing to make this prerequisite effort can result in damaged surfaces, poor outcomes, and even injury.

Use Proper Technique

Proper configuration is half the battle of a successful pressure washing project -- the other half is proper technique. Just as using the wrong settings and soaps can harm your outdoor features, so can holding your tool at the wrong angle, standing too close to the surface, or moving the stream at the wrong speed. If you’re not all that experienced using a pressure washer, stand at least ten feet away from the surface you’ll be cleaning and then gradually move forward until the stream is clearly removing dirt and grime -- starting too close can damage your surfaces and create additional problems for you. As you clean, try to keep the tip at a 90-degree angle. Also, make sure you’re solely aiming at the surface you wish to clean, going in sweeping motions so the blast doesn’t linger in one spot for too long.

Secure and Cover Electrical Outlets

Quality pressure washers are designed with safety in mind. That said, bringing water near an electrical source is inherently hazardous and must be avoided at all costs. If the surface you’re pressure washing features electrical outlets or other electrical components, make sure they’re all secured and thoroughly covered before you begin cleaning. To protect yourself, always wear the right personal protective equipment (PPE) when pressure washing your property. Ideally, you’ll want to wear a helmet, face shield and/or goggles, closed-toe boots, waterproof safety gloves, and a protective suit that completely covers the skin. After all, your home’s outdoor features aren’t the only exposed areas that need protecting during pressure washing.

Cover Plants, Shrubs, and Other Relevant Landscape Components

Pressure washers can easily tear through plant life. Using proper form will help you avoid blasting your shrubs, garden, lawn, and other green spaces, but accidents are known to happen. To make things easier for yourself and secure your precious plant life, bring any moveable plants (e.g., hanging plants, window boxes, potted plants, etc.) inside your home or at least on the other side of where you’ll be pressure washing. As for fixed plants, cover them completely with sturdy tarps and make sure they stay in place for the duration of the project.

When in Doubt, Hire Pressure Washing Services

The primary purpose of pressure washing is to enhance the appearance and integrity of your outdoor features. And yet, the wrong approach to this task can end up doing just the opposite. If you don’t have easy access to a pressure washer and/or you’re not confident in your ability to protect your surfaces before or during the process, seek help from reliable professionals. At Nash Painting, pressure washing is a key component of every one of our exterior home painting projects. We don’t just clean your home prior to painting, though -- we also offer this service on its own. Our pressure washing experts have made homes and businesses across Nashville, Brentwood, and Franklin, TN shine like never before. To learn more about us, our services, and our values, call us at 615-829-6858 today!