How to Pressure Wash a House Before Painting It

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Pressure washing a house prior to paint ensures a better, more even application

A clean surface is required before any interior or exterior painting project. Before painting the exterior of a house it is essential and almost mandatory to pressure wash the area in order to prep a surface to even have the hope of performing a professional paint application.

How to Pressure Wash a House Before Painting It

  1. Determine the Amount of Power Your Project Demands
  2. Don’t use more pressure than your project requires. In order to do the job and fulfill the demands of a project, an individual must be knowledgeable of their tools and be aware of the tricks of the trade that their specific task requires. Therefore, the user of any powered machine must first know – the machine. Do you know the tool you are using? Then and only then after knowing the tool and with proper training can a tradesman go to work. Tools and knowledge of the material to get the job done properly are required for any action to reach its goal.

    A power washer must know the type of exterior surface being cleaned in order to know the type of pressure washer they need. A house made of wood painted with acrylic or stain paint is going to require a pressure washer with less power or a different nozzle than a house made of plastic and vinyl.

  3. Select the Correct PSI based on Your Power Requirements
  4. A pressure washer, also known as a power washer, is a gas or electrical tool that sprays out water and a liquid cleaning agent at high pressure and power. The pressure and power are measured in pounds per square inch (psi). Spray power for most residential and commercial devices ranges between 1200 to 3000 psi.

  5. Use Proper Methods and Tools
  6. A Power washer is a tool. And like any tool proper use is an action of craft and skill. If your power washer is a gas tool remember to prime, choke, then start. If your equipment is electrical remember the basic laws of electricity. And with all tools, proper tools require the appropriate safety clothing to protect all part of your body. In commercial and residential washing task rubber boots and commercial grade rain suits are highly recommended when pressure washing to stay dry.

    Other important basic tricks of the trade may seem simple but can make the difference between professional washing and amateur washing. For example, nozzle selection and spray angle are not tricks of the trade that should be overlooked.

  7. Optimize Nozzle and Spray Angle Use
  8. Every part of a tool is important and works together to complete the task. But it is the nozzle of the power washer that gives the power and pressure to prep the house for painting. Different nozzles are designated and classified by a color-coded system.

    There are four colors in this system. They are Red, Yellow, Green, and White. These colors indicate a specific spray angle for performance specifications that the details of the job require. For example, a Red Nozzle sprays at zero degrees and sprays a direct stream of water and cleaning agent. Its function is direct power more than spraying a wide area. A Yellow nozzle sprays at a 15-degree angle and is ideal for chipping paint and chiseling. A green nozzle sprays with a wider 25-degree angle and is ideal for cleaning wide and large surfaces such as driveways, or vinyl sidings. The white nozzle sprays at a 40-degree angle and produces the widest coverage with the least amount of pressure.

    Most self-service car washes utilize a white nozzle. Whatever nozzle you use remember to always start at a far distance for less pressure and move closer to your target cleaning area to increase pressure.


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