Pressure-washing is a wonderful thing if done properly. A well-trained person with a decent machine can turn a dirty, moss-infested property into a gorgeous, fresh-looking estate to make the Joneses weep. On the other hand, an untrained person can leave stripes up and down the driveway, cut lines into wood siding, remove chunks of mortar from your nice brick retaining walls, or worse.
Because of the damage done by untrained businesses over the years, the state of Washington now requires everyone performing the service of pressure washing to have at least a specialty contractor’s license (if not a general contractor’s license), insurance, and bonding, in addition to a regular business license.
Evergreen Window Cleaning, LLC is licensed (Gen. Con. #EVERGWC908JB, UBI#603-000-297), bonded, and insured, and our technicians are trained to clean every surface to the complete satisfaction of our customers, using only the pressure and cleaning agents necessary to get the job done properly. Our goal is to make your home and property look its very best without shortening its durability.
For those who want to know more about what we do and how we do it, please read on!
Our technicians are trained to manage the following eight variables in any pressure-washing job:
1.Volume: This is the amount of water used, measured in gallons per minute (GPM). A high GPM pressure-washer not only allows us to clean more surface in less time, it also lessens the likelihood of striping, maximizes the end-job cleanliness, and lowers the overall cost of cleaning. An 8 GPM machine will use twice as much water as a 4 GPM machine but it cleans twice as fast, negating any overuse of water. We use only 8 GPM machines with 50-gallon reservoirs. To give some point of reference, the very best machines sold at Home Depot and Lowes are a maximum 4.5 GPM and most run only 2-3. Few of our competitors in the residential market use 8 GPM machines and the difference in quality is immediately noticeable.
2. Pressure: Water pressure is measured in pressure per square inch (PSI). Higher PSI means a stronger cleaning force. And stronger is better, right? Not necessarily – just ask the owner of the china shop after the bull came through. For example, we could clean a concrete driveway at 3500 PSI, but would we want that same pressure on a comp roof, or on painted wood siding? Not at all! We have the ability measure our PSI, and increase or decrease to adjust for the requirements of the surface being cleaned.
3. Temperature: While raising the temperature of water can significantly add to cleaning power, it is mostly commonly used in commercial settings where there is serious oil spillage or old gum pressed into the concrete. There are also environmental concerns when using hot water, which must be collected at the point of usage. This raises the cost of pressure washing substantially. So, unless you have an oily, gummy parking lot, it’s best to go with cold water.
4. Tools: There are many tools that change the way we clean. Regular pressure tips, in varying sizes, are used to clean siding, and smaller or uneven surfaces. Surface cleaners, which kind of look like floor buffers, are used on large flat areas (like driveways, walkways, and patios). These have the benefit of maintaining an exact distance above the surface being cleaned, and minimizes or eliminates choppiness and lining. Turbo tips are used for stairs, curbs, and are particularly effective on long-neglected flatwork. X-jets are used to evenly disperse cleaning agents onto various surfaces.
5. Cleaning agents: Cleaning products, such as 30-Seconds on gutter facing and siding, or certain acids for stone and concrete, can be applied. They have the sole purpose of minimizing the amount of pressure required to get the job done right. Why is this important? Because too much pressure can damage the surface. We aim to be good stewards of our planet. This includes being good stewards about your expensive and hard-earned resources (have you paid for a new roof lately?). Sometimes this requires using a little more cleaning agent and little less pressure. While we leave the ultimate decisions up to you about what cleaning agents we use, we make our recommendations to reduce the overall damage to your home, property, and the planet.
6. Surfaces: Pressure-washing can improve the appearance of almost any surface, whether it’s concrete, aggregate, stone, brick, aluminum, steel, wood, paint, composite decking, or composition roofing (just to name a few). Steel and aluminum can withstand a great amount of pressure with little or no wear. Concrete, aggregate, and stone can be cleaned at 3000-3500 PSI annually or every other year. Painted siding, fences, vinyl, and composite decking (e.g. Trex brand) should all be washed with a cleaning agent and a bare minimum of pressure. Please see our roof care section for information about roof washing.
7. Weather: With the exceptions of freezing weather and lightning, pressure washing can be done safely in almost any sort of weather.
8. Accessibility: While most pressure washing is on the ground and easily accessible, some is higher up and may require ladders, roof hooks, harnessing, and ropes.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Are there any surfaces you don’t clean?
We clean almost every type of surface with a few exceptions. We don’t clean stained wood decks and recommend our good friends at Evergreen Wood Restoration (email@example.com) for this type of work. We also don’t wash cedar shake roofing. In addition, there are some surfaces we won’t do owing to a high potential for damage and others for which we are unequipped to do safely.
How often should I have my roof washed?
For those who want to have their composition roof looking completely new (e.g. the house is going on the market), the roof wash may be the best option. But we recommend not doing it again in the life of the roof. While a roof wash may not be as abrasive as brushing the roof, the best option is to maintain it regularly by blowing off the debris and applying moss treatments. For most homeowners, this will be an annual task.
How often should I have my flatwork pressure-washed?
Many homeowners pressure-wash annually, but as with any type of pressure cleaning, this can wear the surface down over time. For those who want to extend their pressure-washing services to every other year or more, we recommend keeping the surfaces free of debris, rinsing it down as needed, and applying an outdoor cleaner such as 30-Seconds or Wet & Forget to help keep the green away.