Pressure Washing and Soft Washing
The keys to excellence in pressure washing are knowledge, common sense, an eye for beauty, and a quality high-volume machine. A knowledgeable tech with a good 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 brick retaining walls, or worse.
Because of 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, insurance, and bonding, in addition to a regular business license.
Pressure washing a brick drive with turbo nozzles
Evergreen Window Cleaning, LLC is licensed, bonded, and insured (see our FAQ #1), and our technicians are trained to clean almost every type of surface. Our goal is to make your home exterior and property look its very best without decreasing its durability.
To schedule a quote, please fill out our Request Quote/Appointment form. For those who want to know more about what we do and how we do it, please read on.
8 Variables of Pressure Washing
Our technicians are trained to manage the following eight variables in any pressure-washing job:
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 only use 8 or 10 GPM machines with a 50-gallon side reservoir. 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 or 3 GPM. Few of our competitors in the residential market use high volume machines and the difference in quality is immediately noticeable.
Water pressure is measured in pounds 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 3000 PSI, but would we want that same pressure on a comp roof, or on painted wood siding? Not at all. We have the ability to measure PSI, and increase or decrease to adjust for the requirements of the surface being cleaned. When we use very low pressure and allow a cleaning agent to do the real cleaning for us, we typically refer to this as “soft-washing.”
While raising the temperature of the water can significantly add to cleaning power, it is most 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 can raise the cost of pressure washing substantially. So, unless you have an oily, gummy parking lot, it’s best to go with cold water.
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 in 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.
Pressure washing an aggregate patio with a surface cleaner
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.
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 PSI annually or every other year. Painted surfaces, 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.
With the exceptions of freezing weather and lightning, pressure washing can be done safely in almost any sort of weather.
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 pressure-wash?
We clean almost every type of surface with a few exceptions. There are some surfaces we won’t do owing to a high potential for water damage or others for which we are unequipped to do safely.
How often should I have my driveway, walkways, and other hardscape 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 Outdoor Cleaner or Wet & Forget to help keep the green away.