Today’s goal with pressure washing is actually to prep this house for a fresh coat of paint. So grab some safety goggles and clothes that you don’t mind getting a little wet, because I’m gonna walk you through how to pressure wash a house the right way.
I’ll give you all the tools you need, tips, safety precautions so that by the end of this video, you’re confident to pressure wash your house and have it looking sparkly and clean like new. [dynamic music] A pressure washer is a way to amp up your garden hose.
It has a motor that increases the PSI of the water. If you think of it like cars, your garden hose is kind of like a 3-cylinder hatchback, and your pressure washer is a super fast sports car. And speaking of cars, don’t ever use a power washer to wash your car.
A lot of people do that. It’s a terrible idea. It can really damage the paint. Pressure washers can clean houses, decks, patios, driveways, sheds. It’s a great tool to have to help with a variety of uses around the house.
I’m gonna show you how to pressure wash this house the right way and avoid some common mistakes. All right, so we are using a Craftsman 3200 PSI gas-powered pressure washer for this project. There’s a lot of different options out there for pressure washers.
They have some really good electric ones, cordless options, and great gas options as well. For this project and our purposes, we’re going with the pretty heavy-duty gas-powered. Look at the PSI rating when choosing a pressure washer.
PSI means pounds per square inch. The higher the PSI, the greater the force of the water. A typical garden hose has about 40 PSI– not strong enough to do heavy-duty cleaning on your house, but if you take that garden hose and hook it up to a pressure washer, it can easily increase your PSI by over 50 times.
This model has a PSI rating of 3200, which means it’s about 75 times more powerful than a typical garden hose. Pressure washers also use up 80% less water than a garden hose– powerful and efficient.
So we’re gonna walk through kind of some of the features and how this bad boy works. – Basically what we have here is this is where our gas is going to go. – Okay. – And then we have our on/off switch.
And then we also have our choke for the gas and then the gas fuel line for turning that on and off. This is an extra added safety feature that keeps fuel from running through. – Okay. So the first thing we need to do is put some gas in it because we’re working with a gas-powered one.
– So with a gas-power engine, you want to be cautious of a few things. One is you don’t want to run out of gas. – Yes. – If you do, that can cause vapor lock, and you don’t want that. – No. – And when this runs, it’s gonna run hot, so you want to make sure that you’re not refueling it when it’s hot.
You want to allow it to cool down. – So in the front of your pressure washer, there’s gonna be two hose nozzles. We’re gonna be using two hoses for this project– one is your input hose, which is the regular garden hose that you already probably have, and the other is our high-powered hose.
That’s connected to the pressure washer. It gets connected to the front and then also here to the wand. So you’re going to put a tip onto the end of your wand, and each trip has a different purpose, so it’s really important to make sure you know what each tip does and then know what surface you’re about to be working on.
You’ll want to select the best tip that will clean without damaging your surface. Test the tips on a section of your exterior to see what works best. Choosing the right tip for the job is extremely important.
Using too much pressure can damage the surface and beyond. Pink is the low-pressure soap detergent nozzle. Use this when applying detergents for your cleaning projects. White is the 40-degree nozzle. It’s a wider fan of water, less pressure in direct spots, best for surfaces that are softer, and more prone to being damaged.
Yellow is the 15-degree tip. It’s typically used for surface prep such as removing dirt, mildew, or paint, and can be used on most surfaces. Red is the zero-degree tip. Be careful with this one. It delivers a very concentrated stream of water and the highest PSI.
It could damage softer surfaces. [mellow music] This house is in the middle of a renovation, so there are some unpainted surfaces, missing trim, but luckily, we’re not dealing with any lead paint.
Don’t pressure wash your house if it’s painted with lead paint, as this can be very hazardous. If your house was painted prior to 1978, or you suspect it might have lead paint, it’s best to let a professional do an inspection and make recommendations.
It’s really important that you know what type of house material you’re dealing with as it will impact the way you pressure wash, how much pressure to use, the tips you use. So, Jon, what do we have on this house? – So we have a block house foundation here, and then we have wood up at the top.
– Mm-hmm. – We got brick out front, and we also have vinyl windows, so we’re covering all the bases with this house. – We’re covering all of it. So all of those are safe for pressure washing. Now, before you ever start pressure washing, you want to take a good look and inspect all the surfaces of the home.
We’ve looked around here and we’ve found a few things that we’re gonna need to take care of. First, there’s a pretty good rust stain out front, so we’re gonna need to give that some special attention.
There’s a bit of just like kind of dirt rubbed in. There’s loose dirt and debris. And then there’s also even an area where some vines have grown up onto the house. Also went around and clipped away any of the bushes or greens that were up against the house or just pulled them away.
This is an area that can be really prone to staining, so you want to make sure that you have full access and can pressure wash there as well. Also really important– when you’re inspecting your home, look for areas where water could possibly get in and make sure you protect those.
We put plastic around some of our exterior lights. We wrapped up our doorbell. We put duct tape over our outlets. Also, when we’re pressure washing, we’re gonna make sure to avoid any window casings, any caulking areas, and the edges of doors.
We don’t water to get into the interior of the home and cause some leaks. So now in this area, we have a lot of exterior utilities, and these are weather-proof. But just to be careful, we’re not really going to pressure wash anywhere in this area.
We don’t really need to wrap all of these up. They are used to taking the elements. But we’re just gonna steer clear of all of this area. So this is a serious power tool, and I’m sure you have some professional safety tips for me.
– It may seem simple, but we gotta be careful because we are dealing with engines, and we are dealing with a wand that has a lot of PSI to it. So if you think of a nail gun, you’re gonna get that same recoil.
So you’re definitely gonna want to make sure you have your eye protection, and you definitely don’t want to be aiming it at anybody, and you want to be smart. And then the big thing is you don’t want to stand on a ladder when you’re using this just because there is so much recoil.
So there are some ways that we can resolve that, but we’ll get to that later. – And this isn’t quite as much about safety, but guys, you’re gonna get wet. This isn’t a business casual type of event.
Make sure you’re wearing some old clothes that you don’t mind getting wet. For this house, it’s gonna be a two-step process. First what we’re gonna do is use the pressure washer to apply a cleaner, and then we’re gonna come back with the pressure washer, switch out the tip, and pressure wash the entire thing.
The soap we’re gonna start from the bottom up, and then for the pressure washer, we’re gonna start from the top down. How ’bout I attach the hose, you load up a cleaner? – All right. Deal.
– And we’re just using a basic kind of all-purpose cleaner. This will work really well in this particular instance because we have a combination of block, wood, and brick. So it’s very all-purpose.
This is actually a plant-safe cleaner, so it’s not really gonna do any damage to the bushes and trees around the house. But just to be on the safer side, we’re also gonna spritz them down with water just to make sure that they’re not absorbing too much of the cleaner from the ground.
– Well, what I’ve done is is I’ve turned off the power washer. So basically, the water’s just bypassing the engine, and now we have low pressure coming through here. You definitely don’t want to do this with the engine on.
That would cause a catastrophe. – It would be a plant catastrophe. So the first tip we’re gonna be using is our soap tip, ’cause we’re gonna start with our cleaner. All right, cleaner’s in, so, Jon, why don’t you show us how we go about starting our pressure washer.
– First thing we want to do is turn our fuel control on, then we’re gonna pull our choke out and then put our ignition switch to on. And then we’ll give it one pull… – Ah! Safety first. – Ah, you got me on that one.
– [chuckles] – We’ll give it one pull, and then you’re gonna wait for it to start, like sound like it’s choking a little bit, and then you’re gonna push the choke back in, and then you’re good to go.
[engine revving] – All right, cool. I’m gonna start off with soap. Okay, with this wand, there’s a safety on here and you wanna make sure that you engage the safety and then pull the trigger. When I’m applying my cleaner, I’m gonna start from the bottom and work my way up to the top.
Start no less than a foot away, because you kind of want to make sure you have the right amount of pressure and see how your surface responds at first. And you’re gonna work in just nice, even back-and-forth strokes.
Basically, the same application, even though we’re starting with our cleaner, as when we are actually power washing. This tip here is very low pressure, and it’s to apply the cleaner. Now, the interesting thing is if I swap this to a pressure washing tip, the soap will not come out.
As you can tell, I’m working from the bottom up. If I work top-down, we could potentially have some streaking issues. Now, I’m gonna work on this whole section, get the soap on. I don’t want to let the soap dry.
And then I’m gonna switch to a pressure washing attachment, to my 40-degree, and then give it a good rinse. All right, I’ve reached about as much as I can with the standard size wand, so Jon has the extension wand, which actually extends to 18 feet and will allow us to get all the way at the top without using a ladder which isn’t very safe.
Now, in order to swap between the two, we need to shut our water off again. I’m going to kind of drain this out, make sure there’s not a lot of pressure here–okay– and then remove the soap tip from here, and we’ll put it onto the longer one.
And then I’m gonna disconnect my high-pressure hose. – And then we’re just gonna put our quick connect right onto the end. – Great. – We’re loaded. – And now we’ll turn the water back on.
[engine revving] [mellow music] All right, we have fully soaked the top, and now we’re gonna switch this out while we have our extension wand, and I’m putting on my 40-degree. Has the widest fan.
It’s actually the most common like multipurpose one. Our surface is still wet, so we want to get this pressure washed right away. Now, for this, Jon’s gonna start at the top and work his way down.
That way, any dirt that’s being knocked down isn’t falling on a clean surface. [mellow music] Now, with this I should mention that we’ll start out further back, but depending on how our surface is handling the pressure and how hard the dirt is to come off, we may end up in a little bit closer for some hard-to-get areas.
Okay, so the first side of the house is done, and before we start to really tackle the power washing on the front, we clearly have a bit of an issue that we need to take care of here. What we’re dealing with is a rust stain from an old irrigation system.
We don’t feel like pressure washing alone will take care of that, so if we don’t remove the rust, the new paint job will not adhere to the brick, so we’ve got to take care of this the right way.
– So this is a RustAid, and this is going to help eliminate any of the stains that have accumulated over the years. – And we’re just going to apply that using a pump sprayer. Okay, so to do this, Jon is working from the bottom up.
It makes sense to work all the way down and across, starting from the bottom, so that way the chemical isn’t dripping down, kind of rinsing itself off. Once this is set up for a little bit, we’ll leave it, come back, check on it, and then we’ll rinse it off.
And you always want to make sure to read your specific label for safety precautions. This is a serious cleaner, so you want to make sure that you’re following their steps exactly. All right, this has had some time to set up, and now I’m gonna pressure wash it off.
I am using the 40-degree tip. It’ll do a really good job on this brick. With brick, you don’t want to go too powerful. It could get in between and corrode away the mortar. So 40 will be perfect for this.
All right, now we applied the remover from the bottom up. When I rinse it, I’m gonna start from the top down so that the chemicals are running down to the ground. Okay, so you can see that even though this is brick, this is coming off really nicely, and none of the brick is chipping away, so I can get a bit closer.
One thing to note is that you can change the orientation of your tip, so it can spray vertically or more horizontally. Right now, it’s working out really well for me to spray vertically and kind of work my way along with the brick.
[energetic music] As you can see, this is really working very well. It’s taking all the rust off. And don’t worry if there are some little areas of paint chipping. This house is being prepped to paint, so we’ll take care of that later.
This rust stain is gonna be gone in no time. Okay, another situation that you might encounter is when vegetation– and in this case, vines– kind of grows up against the house that leaves marks here. So what I’m gonna do first is try and just kind of bang lose anything I can with my hand.
But then our process is gonna be exactly the same as over on the other side of the house. We’ll use the detergent and then power wash it off. [bright music] All right, so for this area here around the door, I want to be really careful never to pressure wash on any window seams where there’s caulking or right around the edges of my doors.
So what I’m gonna do is stay clear of that, but I’m also gonna take a little step back so there won’t be quite as much pressure. [cheerful music] You want to be sure that you don’t power wash any living creatures like my little lizard friend, so I’m gonna get rid of him.
Go on, friend. – We good? – Yeah. We’re good, all clear of lizards! – All right. [upbeat music] – Took us a couple of hours, but this house is completely pressure washed and looking so much better.
If you plan to paint after pressure washing your house, make sure you give it a couple of days to really fully dry before moving on to that next step. Whether you are preparing to paint your home or just need to get it looking nice and clean and new, I hope that you walk away from this video feeling completely confident in knowing how to pressure wash and do it the right way.
And remember, as always: Do it right. Start with Lowe’s. Want to learn more? Be sure to check out Lowe’s YouTube channel for great step-by-step and how-to videos and lowes.com/howto for all kinds of projects.