Pressure Washing And The Dangers of DIY
At Acleanerplace Cleaning Service (ACS) we see many DIYers pressure washing a variety of items on our travels throughout the Central belt- which seem to be mostly driveways and patios. However, pressure washing can pose dangers for the enthusiastic DIYer. Pressure washers have become a popular Diy home maintenance job, particularly during the recent pandemic. Although most homeowners have the funds to purchase one of the more popular pressure washers, others tend to lean towards the many popular rental options that homeowners that want a fast and efficient clean done of their drives without the outright purchase of a machine.
Pressure washing your paths, deck, and driveway is very (aesthetically) effective if done correctly. Unfortunately, many homeowners are unsighted about the fact that there are different types of equipment meant for different surfaces and that without proper due consideration and, or training, one can easily damage their property.
One of the biggest, and common mistakes the keen DIY pressure washer will run into, is using too much pressure. It is very easy to underestimate the power that a domestic type pressure washer can produce in a jet of water, and therefore many first-time attempts will end up stripping strips of wood out of wooden decking/furniture, or etching lines into the softer stone found on many of home patios.
Many DIYers only pass water through their pressure washer to clean items. However, using a proprietary cleaning solution at the proper ratio mixed in, your cleaning effectiveness will significantly increase your cleaning effectiveness. Moreover, water-only mixtures can also spread mould spores around.
There is an art to a thorough pressure washing clean. However, it is difficult to recommend any single technique due to the variation between different pressure washer brands and their models; but there are some general tips that can be shared:
- Always start with a wide fan pattern, but keep the nozzle moving, and always hold the lance and fan jet at a distance recommended in your user manual. Avoid blasting the water-jet directly into corners, e.g. beneath the lintel of a window, or into a dryer/ air brick vent.
- We would always recommend pressure washing in the first instance if you plan to also do the windows. Cleaning out of a set order will essentially make your cleaning effort a waste of time and having to repeat what has already been done i.e if you clean your windows first and then pressure wash, you will end up covering your nice clean windows in dirt and grimy residue.
- Be mindful of electrical hazards and ensure that electric pressure washers are properly connected and grounded at all times- an RCD (electrical trip switch) is a standard requirement in these situations. Also, consider any possible shock hazards around the area and house by making sure that you are wearing rubber-soled shoes for that extra protection.
Without a doubt, some householder’s will find that taking into account, the cost of hiring, transport, to and from, the hire shop location and a day’s wasted effort are put together, they would have been better off investing in a professional pressure washing service. Whenever the DIYer’s first attempt fails, this also skews the costs even more so that they may end up paying twice: once for any remedial cost and secondly the cost for what was a long, hard day that produced a below standard clean!
If you are still strongly considering following the DIY route, then do thorough research (even ask us for some free advice, there is no charge!) and use the right equipment. Do not be afraid to ask questions (even if they do sound simple) or even request a demonstration by a professional company, like ACS. Moreover, you will find pressure washers for sale or hire in many different places. The larger brands (Karcher, Nilfisk, etc) have a variety of different models to suit all budgets!
The more specialist dealers will typically have higher quality (professional petrol driven) versions available. Borrowing an electric pressure washer is the most common way that people get their hands on their first pressure washer, Notwithstanding, the popular branded electric pressure washers can do a reasonable job of your driveway and patio, and providing you have the time you, the householder, can achieve a good job.
When I say time, I mean a lot of time! Most domestic pressure washers are designed to be hooked up to your domestic water supply. The domestic water supply has a pressure output of between 9-12 liters a minute (dependent on where you live). All domestic pressure washers, even the most expensive, models are designed (calibrated) to cope with this low flow and therefore do not have the (adequate water supply) capacity to pressure wash a standard 50m2 driveway in a reasonable timescale of 1-2 hours.
Yes, you will, eventually, achieve your aim of cleaning your driveway, but it will take you most of the day to achieve what a professional unit will be able to do in an hour. So the question must be, can you afford to while away your day pressure washing your drive, or do you have better things to do with your time?
At ACS, we offer a comprehensive pressure washing service in cleaning driveways, patio, paths, and many other types of stone. If you think you need anything pressure washed, and want to better utilize your own time then give us a call on 01786 817401. We offer our Exterior Cleaning (pressure washing) Service throughout Central Scotland.