Cleaning Stucco With a Pressure Washer

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Stone walls, brick and standard siding are all common ways to decorate the house but stucco is an excellent alternative to all this if you know how to keep it clean.

Stucco usually has a textured surface and this allows dirt, grime and dust to settle down all over the surface. What starts off as a beautiful surface soon disintegrates with weeks of dust piling over each other. Thankfully, having a pressure washer around works wonders as it blasts past any kind of build-up that may develop on your stuccoed wall.

Repair Any Crack

Before doing any power washing, you need to make sure there aren’t any cracks or chips in the stucco. If there are, water can seep through them, potentially leading to structural damage down the line.

All cracks and chips should be patched and given enough time to dry. You should let patches dry for about a week.

Dealing With Rust And Heavy Stains

For heavily stained regions, a rotating scrub brush works great as it helps in freeing up dirt and grime before the pressure washer’s force blows them away. Choose a quality brush for this purpose as the better the quality, the faster the job gets done. For rust, you will have to scrub it by hand removing it slowly as you go since rust and water really don’t go well.

Spray It All Away

Set your pressure washer at a setting of between 1,500 and 2,500 PSI and test it on an inconspicuous area of the stucco before you use it on your surface. This will let you know if the PSI needs to be adjusted down without damaging visible areas. Keep the tip of the pressure washer about 2 to 2 ½ feet away from the wall and hold the wand so that the water stream is angled, hitting the stucco at around a 45 degree angle to avoid damage. Rinse the detergent away, working in sections and moving from the top down. Work around your windows, as a pressure washer may damage them.

Start from the same point you did when applying detergent, then work your way in the same direction. Clean one section at a time, and be sure to overlap slightly to avoid missing anything. Unlike the bottom-up approach you take when applying detergent, start rinsing from the top and work your way down.

The dirt and detergent will run down the surface of the wall, so a downward rinse will keep the soapy filth moving in the direction you want it to. When you’re finished, gently rinse the surrounding foliage with clean water to dilute and flush away any lingering detergent.

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Pressure Washer Maintenance

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Taking the time to examine and clean your pressure washer and accessories, both before and after each use, will help you avoid performance problems and save money on parts and repair. Refer to your operator’s manual for special guidelines appropriate to your pressure washer make and model.

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Prior to Each Use

Follow these steps before each use to ensure the unit’s in proper working order.

1. Check the “o rings” on the ends of your high pressure hose for wear and tear. Damaged o rings can cause serious problems including leaking and even injury during use. If one is damaged, replace it before use.

2. Check the nozzle at the end of your wand to make certain it’s locked securely in place.

3. Be careful never to plug the nozzle with debris, dirt, or anything else.

4. Make sure, if you’re using a gas pressure washer, that you have fresh gas and oil in it before starting it. Don’t use gas that’s been sitting in the tank since last season. If you have old gas, add some stabilizer and top it off with fresh gasoline.

5. Check your spark plug for corrosion. If you have a corroded spark plug, it could cause difficulty starting, and inefficiency during use. Replace corroded spark plugs prior to using.

6. Keep the spray nozzle open while the unit’s running. Leaving it running with the nozzle closed will build up pressure within the hose, and could cause damage.

7. Don’t run the pressure washer without an adequate amount of water. Not having enough water in your unit can cause the pressure to increase too much.

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After Each Use

Follow these steps after each use to ensure dependability of the unit.

1. Switch the power to “off” and unplug the unit. Always do this first to avoid injury or damage to the washer.

2. Locate the chemical/detergent intake and clean it thoroughly with water. Make sure any residue or buildup is rinsed clean and the water running out of the intake is clear.

3. Wash away dirt and grime from the inside of the pressure washer to prevent any erratic behavior while it’s in use.

4. Drain all excess water out before storing. Water left inside can attract insects, grow mold, and produce bacteria.

5. Store your pressure washer somewhere away from the elements where it can stay well ventilated and out of the sun, rain, and snow. Make sure it’s not accessible to children who could injure themselves.

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How to power wash wooden fences

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Fences are a great addition to any home. They keep pets in the yard, help prevent kids from running into the street, and provide privacy from your nosy neighbors.

However, being exposed to the elements 24 hours per day, 365 days a year can really take a toll on your wood fence.

Fortunately, a pressure washer can turn back the hands of time and make your old wood fence look like new again. All it takes is the right tools and a little know-how.

Work in sections. Start from one end of your fence and wet the first section of fencing. Spray down surrounding foliage as well to saturate the soil prior to using detergent. This will help to encourage runoff of detergent water to prevent harming your plants.

Switch your pressure washer’s detergent tank to “On” and begin applying detergent from the bottom up to avoid streaks. Let the detergent settle for 5-10 minutes to give it time to work. Continually add water to any areas that start to dry.

Especially dirty spots may need to be washed using a rotating scrub brush. The soft inner-bristles of the brush are propelled by water pressure from the power washer, and will easily take care of heavy stains.

Use a low-medium pressure spray pattern when rinsing the detergent. Wood is soft, and you don’t want to cause any damage to the surface of your fence. A fan-pattern with moderate pressure is a good bet to cover a decent sized area.

Switch your detergent tank to “Off,” and squeeze the trigger to flush out remaining detergent in the lines. Start from the same part of the fence you began on when applying detergent, and work from the top down this time to rinse all detergent from the fencing. Work with the grain of the wood. Cover 1 to 2 boards at a time, working in identifiable sections.

Repeat the process of applying detergent and rinsing it clean for each section of fencing. Applying detergent to the entire fence prior to rinsing will cause the detergent to be absorbed and dry onto the fence. You don’t want this to happen. Keep the detergent wet until it’s rinsed away to prevent spots and streaks from the detergent.

After pressure washing your fence, let it dry for at least 48 hours. You want to allow enough time for all of the absorbed water to evaporate from the wood so it doesn’t get sealed in.

Once your fence is fully dry, it’s important to paint or seal it so that it doesn’t become damaged by the sun and wind. You can either paint your fence for a bright new look, or you can seal it to allow the wood grain to show through.

Seal it fully, and don’t miss the edges of the boards between the gaps. The boards on privacy fences may be too close together to seal between them, but spread sealer into the grooves between the boards to cover any exposed wood the best you can.

After the sealer is dry, your fence will look brand new, like it was put up yesterday. Pressure wash your fence annually to keep it looking like new. You shouldn’t have to apply fresh paint or sealant every year, but you should reapply it every couple years or so to keep it protected.

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Removing stains from concrete

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Tired of those ugly grease and oil spots making your concrete look like the floor of an auto shop?

These spots stick out like a sore thumb and are the reason why cement can be one of the most difficult surfaces to maintain and keep looking its best.

Dirt, oil, grease and grime are no match for the power of a pressure washer though. A little know-how and the right accessories will enable you to get that concrete as clean as the day it was poured.

 

Wash

It’s best to divide up your project into multiple sections. This will help to guide your stride and ensure the soap gets washed away before it dries.

The first step is to apply detergent, giving it 5 to 10 minutes to work into the concrete. Make sure to reapply soapy water to any areas that start to dry.

Once the soap has had time to settle in, the dirt and oils should be starting to loosen from the concrete.

 

Spray blast it clean

When the detergent has done its job, switch to a general high pressure spray pattern and rinse away the soapy grime.

Be sure that you move in smooth, consistent motions so you don’t leave streaks. Be careful not to miss any spots, or they’ll be noticeable. Clean away the soap and grime in even, sweeping motions and take your time. This is not the kind of project you want to rush.

For areas that are heavily soiled, you may need to make a few extra sweeping motions. It can help to also slow down over those areas and let the pressure washer work its magic.

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