Thinking about your next exterior paint job? Before you even think about it, check the state of your house’s exterior. If it’s too dirty, it’s best to put off repainting and have it cleaned first. It’s important to pressure wash before painting your house exterior. Here’s why.
Why You Need to Pressure Wash Before Painting Your House
Do you have to wash a house before painting? In a word, yes. To put it simply, a clean house means your exterior paint will last longer and experience lesser issues in the long run. Don’t be misled — paint will stick fine on a dirty exterior. But, by painting a dirty exterior, you will almost certainly shorten your paint’s lifespan. This is why you should pressure wash before painting.
Exterior house painting is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor, so you will want to make sure to get the job done right the first time. Furthermore, cleaning your house’s exterior can potentially double the lifespan of your paint, so it is well worth your time, money, and effort. When your house’s exterior is properly washed, paint can last 7-10 years or potentially longer.
How to Pressure Wash a House Before Painting
It’s important to have a clean house exterior before painting. Even if your house exterior appears clean, you should still give it a thorough check because things aren’t always as they seem. It’s always safer to wash it prior to painting, and one way to do so is by pressure washing houses. This is by far the best method you can adopt to clean your house’s exterior. When learning how to pressure wash houses, you can either do it yourself or hire someone else to do it for you.
Pressure Washer for House Painting: To Hire or Not to Hire?
Nowadays, personal pressure washing machines can be purchased by any homeowner or amateur pressure washer. This ease of access has made it possible for just about anyone to use a pressure washer on their home. And while it’s definitely an option, it isn’t the best one. Here are some common issues that can arise as a result of DIY pressure washing before painting:
- Damages. You can easily cause damage to your home’s exterior by using the wrong nozzle, pressure level, or cleaning product. You may also inadvertently pressure wash a surface that can’t take a high level of pressure.
- Injury. Pressure washers are no joke. They can be dangerous, and even just the slightest miscalculation of distance can land you in the hospital with serious injuries.
- Added costs. Causing damages will force you to spend more money on repairs.
After pressure washing your house, you have to wait for it to fully dry before you can paint it. This waiting time can be anywhere from 24 hours to 3 days.
Pressure washing isn’t for beginners. If you’re not experienced, the high water pressure can easily damage portions of your house’s exterior. This includes the siding or the sheathing and wall cavities beneath the siding. If you want to pressure wash a house before painting, it’s best to call a professional service company for help.
Professionals know how to pressure wash a house and how to prep a house for painting. They have years of experience under their belts and know how to tailor their methods according to the surface material. They also have the best equipment at their disposal, with machines that come with adjustable pressure levels and a variety of nozzles. In the end, a safer and cheaper way is to outsource the task to a professional service company.
Pressure Washing or Hand Washing?
Cleaning your house by hand could be effective if you have the time and energy to do it manually and meticulously. The greatest results can be achieved through handwashing with soap, brushes, and water.
Unfortunately, though, it is very time-consuming to wash the whole exterior of a house by hand. If you can’t be bothered to hand wash, go for pressure washing instead.
An adequate pressure washer will do a quality job and take up less of your time. This method is simply easier and more practical for the average homeowner. Plus, it’s a good option for anybody looking to prepare their home for a new exterior paint job. As explained before, you can buy a pressure washer for personal use, but it’s best to hire a professional to take care of the job for you.
What About Power Washing?
You may have heard of power washing before and wondered what sets it apart from pressure washing. The truth is, power washing and pressure washing are basically the same. They use the same process and serve the same purpose. The only real difference is power washing uses heated water, while pressure washing does not. Power washing houses can achieve the same results as pressure washing when used for cleaning house exteriors prior to painting.
By now, it’s clear that you must pressure wash before painting your house’s exterior. Contacting a professional for help is recommended. But if you insist on doing things yourself, there are some things you ought to know (which professionals already know of). When you pressure wash the exterior of your home, be cautious of the following dangers:
1. Don’t Use Pressure Washers to Strip Paint
When you pressure wash the exterior of your house before a paint job, the goal is to clean it, not to strip the paint away. Most pressure washers are strong enough to take off the paint, but it’s not recommended to use the tool to strip off the paint.
For the best results, you should separately strip old paint with a scraper, heat gun, or sander after you finish pressure washing. Aside from that, using it to strip off the paint can easily damage the surface beneath, especially wood and vinyl surfaces.
2. Be Wary of Etching
Concrete and brick may be durable, but there’s a risk of etching when pressure washers are used on them. That said, the damage it can potentially cause on vinyl and cedar is much worse.
To avoid etching, maintain a good distance from your home when spraying — you don’t want to crack or chip your surfaces. Stand at least 2 to 6 feet away, depending on your machine’s PSI levels. For extra caution, opt for a fan spray nozzle instead of a stream nozzle, which can tear your siding.
3. Don’t Inject Water
Spraying at an angle is equally important. Don’t use a pressure washer upward from a low angle, as doing this can inject water into the siding boards. This can drench the insulation and sheathing of your interior walls, resulting in water damage in the long run. Make sure to spray at a right angle or a bit downward. Be aware of your surroundings as well to avoid getting water into vents, doors, windows, and other openings.
The Importance of a Pressure Wash Before Painting
There’s no denying that pressure washing before painting your house is beneficial. It simultaneously cleans the exterior surface and extends the life of the paint brushed over it. Beyond that, though, you must consider the hands that will operate the pressure washer. While you can certainly accomplish average results, there’s nothing like a professional pressure washing company to make the task easier, cheaper, and more effective.
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