There may not be a magic wand to instantly banish years of mildew, soot, dirt, and grime from your home’s exterior, but pressure washing can get rid of unattractive build-up to restore a tidier look to traditional stucco, aluminum, steel, wood, and brick. Pressure washing can be performed every few years for general maintenance; it’s also a great way to prepare an exterior for painting.
The task takes some skill, however, and strict adherence to these guidelines for how to pressure wash a house. Spraying too aggressively could harm siding or paint—and in fact, pressure washing is not recommended for hardboard, bottle-dash, and rock-dash stucco, all of which could easily be damaged by the process. You’re bound to be in for some physical labor, too: Serious scrubbing is virtually guaranteed if it’s been a long time since the last pressure wash. And failure to follow all safety measures to the letter could result in personal injury (if your home is higher than one story, you may be best advised to hire a pro for the job).
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Professionals charge anywhere from 10 to 80 cents per square foot, while gas and electric pressure washers may be rented from large home centers for about $100 a day. If you decide to DIY the job, speak with the rental agent and refer to the manual to ensure you’re picking the right machine for the job. Have the rental agent demonstrate how to attach and detach nozzles to the spraying wand, then try it yourself to become familiar with it. Also, ask for a demonstration on attaching the extension wand as well. Note: The bulky equipment starts at around 75 pounds and can exceed 150 pounds, depending on the power and size of the model, so you may need a helper and a truck to get it home.