How to Pressure Wash Vinyl Siding
Regularly cleaning your vinyl siding can help to maintain its beauty and value and improve the overall look of your home exterior. Using a pressure washer is a great way to clean the vinyl siding as it can easily blast off the dirt, mold and grime that’s on the siding. Most of the pressure washers are user friendly and can easily be operated without too much effort. All of the required materials, which include the pressure washer, can be rented or if you have the money, then you can choose to purchase a new one. This equipment is a good investment especially if you have vinyl siding at home. You can easily purchase the pressure washer from the hardware store or at any home improvement store.
To be able to successfully pressure wash the vinyl siding, you have to first prep the surface and choose the suitable setting for the pressure washer. You may also need to spend more time in operating the machine especially if it is your first time. If it is your first time, then here are some tips on how to pressure wash vinyl siding.
Choosing the Right Pressure Washer
If you feel that you have the means to spend for a new pressure washer, then find out how to choose one. Pressure washers are indeed one of the best tools for cleaning a wide variety of things, most especially your vinyl siding. Although it is ten to fifty times more powerful than a garden hose, the pressure washer makes use of as much as 80 percent less water.
If you are thinking of investing on a new pressure washer, learning these steps is not enough. You also need to learn how to choose the right pressure washer, so here are some tips that might be able to help you.
- Pressure Washer Types
There are several different types of pressure washers available. There is the electric pressure washer, a light duty model that is ideal for smaller projects. They are lighter, quieter and are much easier to use as compared to the gas models. Most of the electric pressure washers can be simply plugged directly to a power outlet by mean of a built-in cord. So make sure that you take this into consideration before you decide to purchase this kind of equipment.
Another type is the gas pressure washer. This equipment can be used for medium to extra heavy duty jobs and they provide more power and come with great benefits as well. The device will give you much better mobility because it does not require you to stay near a power outlet. They can either be manual pull start or can come with an electric starter.
- Pressure Washer Power
The pressure washer comes with different power settings. You can choose the power that is based on the kind of job that you need to do, ranging from light duty up to extra heavy duty. The extra heavy duty has a power of 3300 PSI and up. As for the heavy duty, it is from 2900 up to 3200 PSI and there is the multi duty, which is from 500 to 3000 PSI. The medium duty which is from 2000 to 2800 PSI and light duty is from 1500 to 1900 PSI.
In your case, since you are going to use it to clean your vinyl siding, an electric or gasoline washer that has a pressure rating of at least 3,000 PSI would be a great choice. However, if you plan on using the pressure washer for other jobs, such as cleaning trucks, furniture, etc., then you have to choose a pressure washer with a different power.
Tips in Using the Pressure Washer
Before we go on, it is important that you also know some tips on how to properly use the pressure washer. First of all, make sure that you use the correct spray setting and the proper nozzle. Using a setting or a nozzle that has extreme power can cause damage on your vinyl siding so you have to be very careful on this.
You have to also make sure that you are using the proper chemicals, as recommended by the manufacturer of the power washer. Some of the manufacturers will recommend a specific brand of detergent or wax for their equipment so you have to follow that. There are varying formulas that will be available for cleaning the vinyl siding, vehicles, etc.
When using the pressure wash to clean the vinyl siding of your home, make sure that you start working from the ground level instead of starting on the top and using a ladder. Make use of some accessories, like the spray arm extensions and brushes. Remember that the cleaning result will greatly vary depending on the detergent that you use, the distance from the surface of the area you are cleaning, the water pressure and the spray fan angle that you use.
Steps in Pressure Washing the Vinyl Siding
Now that you know a bit of information about the pressure washer, you should be ready by now to learn the steps of pressure washing. So here is the step by step process:
- Choose the Appropriate Equipment and Settings
This step should be easy for you after reading the tips above. And again, you can make use of either an electric or gasoline washer that has a pressure rating of at least 3,000 PSI and having a flow rate of at most 4 gallons per minute when it comes to cleaning your vinyl siding. This power will be enough to provide the required force to effectively clean off hard to reach areas of your vinyl siding. Make sure that you set the spray nozzle to a low pressure and that you make use of a 25 degree spray tip. Afterwards, pour the appropriate cleaning solution, such as the mild dish detergent, towards the reservoir.
- Prep the Area
Proper preparation is actually important in the overall success of the vinyl siding cleaning. Preparing your work area can help to make the job so much easier and faster especially for first timers like you.
To prep the area, remove any of the obstacles within the surrounding area. You might need to temporarily relocate furniture, planters, or any items that are beside the vinyl siding. Next, dampen and cover any of the nearby gardens or plants in order to keep them protected from the pressure spray as well as the cleaning chemicals that you will be using.
You can make use of any nonporous cover like a tarp or a plastic tablecloth. It is also important that you cover all of the electrical wires and exposed outlets. If you do not have any outlet cover, you can choose to seal them with a plastic or a waterproof tape. Afterwards, remove the dense areas of mildew or mold with a mixture of water and household bleach. Scrub off the area well and rinse thoroughly with clean water.
- Test the Pressure Washer
Before you go on with the actual cleaning job, it is important that you test the spray of the pressure washer. This is for you to get used to the power of the device. You can choose to increase or decrease the power of the spray by simply adjusting the nozzle setting or perhaps, the distance on which you are holding the wand of the washer from the siding.
- Work in a Steady Manner
After you do a test, you can start the actual cleaning job. Make sure that you work in a steady manner by pressure washing one section at a time coming from the bottom up to the top and then sweeping from left to right. Always make sure that the nozzle is being pointed downward in a 45 degree angle in order to minimize the amount of water that will get in the siding.
Remember that excess water can cause the siding to bulge and will dampen the insulation or the framework and the worst that can happen is that this might eventually cause molds or electrical damage.
- Rinse the Siding
The final step is to clean up the siding with fresh and clean water. Work your way from the top down in order to prevent streaks and make sure that you rinse it within approximately after five to ten minutes of cleaning right before the detergent will dry up.
So as you can see, the steps are pretty easy. There are some tips to keep in mind though. First, make sure that you aim the nozzle of the pressure washer at an angle and direct the jet far from the glass when you are cleaning the windows of your house.