How to Pressure Wash a House

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Use a power washer to clean the exterior of your house. Photo by AZ.BLT via Twenty20
No matter the type of home you have, the exterior of your house will get dirty. Wind brings filth, mud, and dust. Rain and snow leaves a powdery film when it dries. Even the sun can dull your siding over time. Siding can even get moldy over time! However, by pressure washing your house, you can restore much of your home’s exterior’s former appearance and reduce repairs. This is a great way to take care of your home and add value to your property — not to mention you’ll just feel better when your house looks nicer!
The exterior of a house can be made of many difference materials, so in this article we’ll explain how to wash a brick exterior, describe how to wash vinyl siding, cover how to wash wood siding, describe how to wash metal siding, and discuss how to wash stucco.

How to Wash a Brick Exterior

Materials Needed
  • Brick detergent
  • Mortar
  • Mortar sealant
  • Pail
  • Pressure washer
  • Scrub brush
  • Trowel
  • Water
Step 1: Inspect and repair mortar. You should repair and seal any cracks in the mortar joints so water cannot get behind the brick.
Using the trowel, mix the mortar with water in a pail per instructions. When ready, use trowel to carefully fill in any cracks, damages, or holes in mortar joints between the bricks. Allow repairs to dry for one week before washing the house.
Step 2: Soak brick, apply detergent, and rinse. To get a uniform clean, you need to make ensure water and detergent are distributed evenly.
Using the pressure washer, follow the correct settings for washing brick. Too much pressure may damage the exterior of your house. Once set, soak the brick with water.
Next, mix and add the detergent as instructed and apply it by spraying it onto the brick. Let soak for 10 minutes before rinsing. If needed, use a scrub brush to work out stains.
Change the pressure washer setting to a spray pattern and slowly rinse the detergent off. Remember to constantly move the pressure washer as to minimize chances of damage.
Step 3: Complete by applying sealant. A good mortar sealant will protect your hard work.
Follow the directions on the sealant to apply to mortar and brick. Make sure it is the correct type for the job. This step will keep the exterior of your house clean for a longer period, as well as help prevent dirt, grime, and water from penetrating the brick.

How to Wash Vinyl Siding

Materials Needed
Step 1: Rinse vinyl siding. To loosen dirt and grime, rinse the siding before washing.
Using the pressure washer at the correct setting (remember, the high pressure setting is not right for all materials and could damage your house), rinse the vinyl siding with plain water. Try to steer clear of siding seams so water does not get behind panels.
Step 2: Wash siding. After mixing the vinyl detergent with water per instructions, it is time to wash the exterior of your house.
In a bucket, follow the directions to prepare the detergent with water. Dip a soft brush into the mix and use to gently wash the vinyl siding. Start from the highest spot and work your way down. If needed, use a ladder to reach these areas. Do one section at a time, rinsing before allowing to dry.
Step 3: Rinse siding. Before moving on to wash a new section, make sure to rinse detergent off.
Using the pressure washer on a rinse setting, rinse the detergent off the vinyl siding before it dries. Allowing it to dry may leave a stain or create an uneven clean.

How to Wash Wood Siding

Materials Needed
Step 1: Wet the wood siding. Thoroughly wet the siding with water.
Set the pressure washer at the right setting for wood siding as to avoid any possible damage. Using low pressure, soak the siding.
Step 2: Mix detergent and wash siding. Washing your wood siding will thwart off mildew and mold.
Mixing the wood siding detergent per instructions, use the pressure washer to wash the siding. If any area has a hard to remove stain or excess dirt, use the soft brush to gently scrub.
Step 3: Rinse siding. Removing all the detergent is the final step.
Adjust the pressure washer to the rinse setting. Rinse the wood siding with water until water runs clear.

How to Wash Metal Siding

Materials Needed
  • Bucket
  • Clean cloth
  • Fine grain sandpaper
  • Ladder (if needed)
  • Metal siding detergent
  • Mineral spirits
  • Primer and touch-up paint
  • Soft brush
  • Water
  • Water hose
Step 1: Rinse metal siding. Rinse dirt and grime away so you can assess siding before washing.
Using the garden hose, rinse the siding with plain water. Look for stains and rusted spots that may need touch-up later.
Step 2: Spot clean. Stains from bugs, grime, tar and tree sap will need extra cleaning.
To remove tough stains, put mineral spirits on the spot, leave for up to five minutes and then wipe with clean cloth.
Step 3: Wash metal siding. After mixing the detergent with water per instructions, it is time to wash your siding.
In a bucket, follow the directions to prepare the detergent. Dip a soft brush into the mix and use to gently wash the metal siding. Start at the top and work your way down. Use a ladder to wash the hard to reach areas. Only work on one section at a time, rinsing before allowing to dry.
Step 3: Rinse siding. Before washing a new section, rinse detergent off.
Using the water hose and clean water, rinse the detergent off the metal siding before it dries. Allowing it to dry may leave streaks.
Step 4: Sand and paint rusted spots. To prevent future damage, complete washing by touching up rusted areas.
Once metal siding is completely dry, work on the rusted areas. Use the fine grain sandpaper to remove the rust. Paint spot with primer according to instructions. Once dry, finish by painting with touch-up paint.

How to Clean Stucco

Materials Needed
  • Bucket
  • Caulk
  • Caulking gun
  • Pressure washer
  • Soft brush
  • Stucco detergent
  • Water
Step 1: Inspect and repair stucco. You want to repair and seal any cracks in the stucco to prevent water damage and mold or mildew.
Using the caulk and caulking gun, carefully fill in any cracks or holes in stucco. Match the caulk to the stucco color as close as possible. Allow repairs to dry for one week before washing the house.
Take note that if the damage to the stucco is extensive, you may have to hire a professional to repair it.
**Step 2: Soak stucco and apply detergent **. To get an even clean, you need to distribute the water and detergent uniformly.
Using the pressure washer, follow the correct settings for washing stucco. Soak the stucco with water. Mix the detergent as instructed and spray it onto the stucco. Let soak for 10-15 minutes before rinsing. If needed, use a soft brush to gently scrub stains. Change the pressure washer spray setting and gently rinse the detergent off.
Step 3: Rinse stucco. Before washing a new section, rinse detergent off.
Using clean water, rinse the detergent off the stucco before it dries. Allowing it to dry completely may leave detergent marks.
Power washing your own house is not that hard as long as you follow directions. The price of a power washer that can handle siding ranges from $150 to $500. Depending on how often you use it, it could easily pay for itself. But if you want to avoid the hassle, you can also hire a professional power washer to clean the outside of your house when you need it. Make sure you hire a contractor with good review who you trust.
Once you wash the exterior of your house, you might decide it is time to spiff up other areas of your home. Depending on what you want to do, you may need to get a home renovation loan to make improvements on your property. Any types of changes to your home will require assessing the project, determining the costs, and then taking the appropriate steps. Changes are influenced by the type of materials involved. When washing your house, you need to take different steps depending if your home’s exterior is brick, vinyl, wood, metal, or stucco.