Home Advisor: The costs, benefits and dangers of pressure washing
Pressure washing can instantly transform your deck, driveway or garage into a cleaner, more attractive version of itself. But before you hook up the hose and power up the machine, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared to get the job done right — and safely.
THE BENEFITS OF PRESSURE WASHING
Pressure washing has many advantages:
Removes stubborn stains: With a pressure washer, you can clear away baked-in stains and stubborn spills from nearly any outdoor surface. Layers of buildup will disappear, revealing the original beauty, color and potential of your home’s exterior.
Tackles nooks and crannies: A pressure washer can get into difficult spots like cracks, corners, gutters and overhangs.
Exposes maintenance issues: When done annually, pressure washing can clear areas where you might need to perform further maintenance. It will offer a better view of surface damage and remove grime so that you can stain the backyard deck or seal the garage floor.
SAFETY AND DAMAGE CONSIDERATIONS
Considering the instant benefits of this task, you might consider it a simple DIY project. However, even the lightest-duty equipment puts out a dangerous level of pressure. In the hands of the inexperienced, that pressure can cause serious property damage and bodily harm. Operating your washer on the wrong setting, with the wrong cleaning solution or too close to the surface can turn small slip-ups into costly repair projects. Worse, it could send you or a loved one to the hospital with significant injuries.
COST COMPARISON: DIY VS. HIRE A PRO?
If you were to tackle pressure washing yourself, you would need to keep a few things in mind aside from safety and damage: preparation, capacity and cost.
Preparation: Removing debris, covering doors, closing windows and moving outdoor furniture takes time and may require physical effort — as well as the use of ladders and other equipment.
Capacity: Whether you’re cleaning two stories of vinyl siding or the grime on a garage floor, you’ll need to choose the power washer that best suits your job. Pressure washers offer varying degrees of power and versatility. So, it’s important to consider factors such as pressure (PSI), flow (GPM) and compatibility with different types of cleaning fluids.
Cost: Purchasing an electric washer can run you anywhere from $90 to $200, while gas-powered washers generally cost between $300-$800. On the other hand, hiring a professional typically costs between $180 and $380.
Given the cost to purchase a pressure washer — coupled with the amount of time it takes to complete the job and the dangers it entails — many homeowners find it’s worth the cost to hire a professional. Not only will a quality pro have the equipment and expertise necessary to clean the surface safely and effectively, but their services are typically affordable.
Pressure Washing Do’s And Don’ts
— Know which cleaning solutions are recommended for each surface you’re spraying.
— Wear protective gloves, eyewear, clothing and shoes at all times.
— Follow all safety protocols when working with washers, ladders and other equipment.
— Consult a pro to avoid mishaps and make sure the job is done right the first time.
— Operate your pressure washer near people or pets at any time.
— Stand too close when spraying any surface, as debris and damage can result.
— Use pressure washers without first consulting instructions and safety warnings.
— Work on roofs or high places without taking the proper precautions.
HomeAdvisor is an online marketplace connecting homeowners with service professionals to complete home projects. Visit HomeAdvisor.com.