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Pressure Washing

Pressure Washing 101

With the shift in temperatures and the pollen starting to build up like wind driven snow, this is a time of year when pressure washing begins in Jacksonville. Driveways, sidewalks, wooden decks, pool decks, or the whole house. Whether you do it yourself or hire somebody, pressure washing is a spring ritual for many.

With that I thought I would share a few things that readers may, or may not, know. The goal here is to improve your results and have you not damage your property while working.

If you have hard water stains from sprinkler systems on your home, sidewalks, and driveway, then know that pressure washing will do little for these. Hard water stains need a chemical that will dissolve the deposits that are doing the staining (essentially that stain is rust), and pressure washing will not do this.

Pre-treating automotive stains on the driveway with a solvent will help loosen oil and grease before it is flushed away. Oils will penetrate the cement. So, you can make it look better, but do not expect perfection.

A painful lesson, learned the hard way many years ago, is never pressure wash windows. Being young, and maybe a bit lazy, when pressure washing my new to me home long ago, I thought I might clean my windows while pressure washing the house. This can (and did) pop the seal on some double pane insulated windows, which then fogged up. I recommend you do the windows by hand.

Another common mistake I see the DIY crown make is that when pressure washing wooden decks, they at times go overboard in trying to ‘blast away’ a stain. This raises the grains in the wood and makes any area this was done look rough. Rotten wood can even come apart when hit with pressurized water. Approach the job more as a pressure rinse to keep from raising the grain on the wood. If it has been years since a good cleaning, apply a deck cleaning product and then rinse it down with the pressure washer.

If you buy a cleaning product, and there are many available, always read the instructions and understand what you are working with. We all would love our deck to look brand new, but that is unlikely. Even if you can wash away pollen, algae, dirt and grime, age and the sun still do their damage. Over-use of cleaning products generally will not get things cleaner than the recommended use, and over-use of chemicals could damage your lawn and flower beds in the process.

A freshly cut lawn and clean home are a beautiful sight each spring. Enjoy them both. If you want the result, but not the hassle, of pressure washing your home or doing any of your spring home improvements, home maintenance or repair tasks, then Mr. Handyman would be happy to help.