At some point, every homeowner struggles with stains on the roof, dirty siding, and a worn out deck. Fortunately, if you have a little time and the right equipment, it is a simple task to remove stains and restore a newer look. There are a few important things to remember before you start cleaning.
Not doing the job properly can result in permanent damage to your property and may require replacement of damaged pieces. So you want to make sure you know exactly what you are doing to avoid any mishaps.
Many homeowners across the American Southeast and parts of the Midwest have had to combat a roof bacteria known as gloeocapsa magma, a form of ancient cyanobacteria. Typically, roof sections which do not get early sun hold onto morning dew longer and create a perfect atmosphere for moisture-loving cyanobacteria.
Removing the black stain these bacteria create requires a low pressure power washing to avoid damaging roof tiles. While roof tiles are very hardy and can take a higher pressure, there is a chance that older tiles will be damaged by high pressure or a nozzle closer than six inches.
You can clean off these stains with a 25 degree nozzle at 2,500 PSI, but you may want to test on a single shingle at a time so that you can determine what pressure will work best for your roof. You may also want to consider cleaning chemicals and a soft bristle brush to remove any remnants.
Cleaning a deck with a power washer can be a daunting prospect. As anyone who has handled a pressure washing system knows, it is very easy to damage or destroy what you are trying to clean. A wooden deck can be chewed to pieces if you don’t use the proper settings.
Typically, you will want to use a 45 degree nozzle at about 3,000 PSI. The most important thing to remember is to keep the nozzle far enough away from the deck that you are not removing pieces of the wood itself.
Once the wood has been cleared of dirt, lichens, or stains you can let it dry before applying stains or deck treatments. Remember that while it may be tempting to pressure wash your deck in the summer barefoot, even a low pressure power washer can break the skin so always wear appropriate foot protection.
Using a pressure washer on siding is a fairly delicate process compared to a deck or roof. If your siding is painted, you want to use a lower pressure washer with a 45 degree nozzle and keep it no closer than 12 inches from the surface. Any closer and you risk removing the paint rather than just cleaning the surface.
For unpainted surfaces, a 3,000 PSI washer could be used so long as care is taken. Always remember when cleaning siding to clean along the siding. For horizontal siding, clean side to side. Cleaning up and down on horizontal siding with a pressure washer could damage the siding or even peel it away from the house.
For safety reasons, you should never stand on a ladder when using a pressure washer. If you have a second story to clean, you should purchase or rent an extension for the pressure washer.
Because of the climate in Raleigh, power washing your roof is a great way to combat the gloeocapsa magma that loves to grow in the mild weather. Plenty of sunshine also means faded decks which need to be cleaned and refinished.
Even aluminum or cedar siding can collect dirt, tree sap, and bird droppings which can harden and become nearly impossible to remove with anything but pressurized water. So long as you know how to safely use a pressure washer, it can be a great tool for maintaining the aesthetic value of your property and keeping your house exterior well-maintained.