Professional Pressure Cleaning – What to Expect and How to Prepare

Posted on 06. Apr, 2013 by in pressure washing

DIY or Hire Pro Pressure Cleaning Company?

Spring is in the air, with a little winter chill this year, (thanks Punxsutawney Phil) and you’re looking to get ready for summer by having your home or business pressure washed by a professional.  Maybe you’ve tried it before, and you’ve discovered how much work it is.  Maybe you’ve never done it before, because you know it’s much easier to hire a professional pressure cleaning company. The convenience of doing so is worth it on it’s own.  Not to mention the fact that a real pro can get the job done quickly and efficiently.

pressure cleaning jacksonville fl services

Our low pressure washing methods guarantee great results.

Professional pressure washers have the right equipment to make a job go fast and efficient. They also have the knowledge and routines in place to do the work without having to think through each step. A good pressure washing company will get your home or business clean and sparkly easily, with no hassle at all.

Whatever the case is, once you’ve decided to bring in a professional, or do it yourself, there are some considerations and preparations to make.  So what do you do to prepare for a professional pressure cleaning company to wash your home or business?  What things should you know ahead of time?  What things should you do to make it all go smoother? What kind of expectations should you have for a professional pressure washing of your home or business? We will attempt to answer some of these questions.

Price vs. Value – Who to Hire?

First things first, who do you hire?  Do you call out the guy with the cheapest price, because you don’t want to spend too much on pressure washing your home? This is probably not the greatest idea, because cheap isn’t always good, and good isn’t always cheap.  What you really need to look for is someone with good references, reasonable rates, and a verifiable history of good results. Good results mean a clean home without damage to your landscaping, belongings, or your home itself.  The same thing goes for businesses with storefronts or buildings that need pressure washed.

Keep in mind, the price of pressure washing to maintain your home is marginal at best in comparison to major repairs caused by neglect.

Pressure washers are powerful machines that can cause serious damage.  The last thing you want is the least expensive pressure washer to blast away at your home or business with high pressure, forcing water into places it shouldn’t be, blowing out window seals, leaving unsightly marks from the pressure washing wand, etc. It’s a good idea to carefully consider the value of a true professional pressure washing company, not just how cheap they can get it done.

What you really want is someone who knows how to properly clean your home of dirt, mold, mildew, algae, and grime with low pressure and no damage. Any competent professional pressure cleaning company should be doing things in this manner. In fact, Weathered Wood Restoration’s pressure washing process is all safe, low pressure cleaning that provides great results, with zero damage. We also have the customer references to back this up. Check out our Facebook page  for a look at the kind of results we’re talking about.

Getting Ready for Pressure Cleaning

So you’ve found a good pressure washing company, and you’re ready to have them come clean your home or business. What do you do to prepare for their arrival? This is an important question, because you don’t want to just assume your house is ready to be cleaned. The first thing you should do is take a walk around your home, and take a look at it.  Look for things like loose mortar on brick homes, loose laps of vinyl siding on vinyl homes, look for cracks or even chips or missing chunks on stucco homes.

Jacksonville, FL pressure cleaning company service

Pressure cleaning is a great way to keep your home looking clean and inviting.

Look for oxidized paint, chips in the paint, and other problem areas before the pressure cleaning company arrives, because you will want to make sure peeling paint is not opened up further by high pressure washing. You will also want to know where the trouble areas are, so that you can touch up your paint after your home or business has been pressure washed. You don’t have to repaint everything, but if you have peeling paint, you should touch it up after a cleaning to prevent further damage to your home.

Little things like yearly cleaning and touch ups can keep your paint job looking it’s best for years to come.  It will also save you money on costly repairs in the future, so make note of these things beforehand. Pressure washing may cost a couple or few hundred dollars once a year, but a paint job is going to start in the thousands and will require a pressure washing ahead of time as well! You don’t want to paint every five to ten years because of neglect at those prices! Skipping pressure washing will cost you more in the long run.

While you are walking around your home, check for simple things like torn window screens, open windows, and even take a look at the seals around your doors. Even with low pressure cleaning, windows and doors have to be lightly rinsed, so be sure they are closed tightly and that the seals are in good shape.  It’s no fun to find out that a window had a quarter inch gap that wasn’t closed once the washing starts. A competent pressure washing company should be on the lookout for these things too, but a second story window just barely cracked may not be visible from the ground outside. Do your due diligence and make sure your home is ready to go. Know ahead of time if you have any cracked or broken windows, and inform the pressure washing crew of the problem.

Clear the Way

If you have delicate plants hanging in pots outside or under the patio, move those out away from the house.  Professional pressure washing companies should take care to pre-wet, rinse, and water your plants as they clean, but any small or delicate plants in pots that can be moved, should be moved.  While you’re at it, go ahead and move your patio furniture, rugs, door mats, grills, and other items out away from the home, or take them inside if need be.

Weathered Wood Restoration will often move these things if the homeowner forgets them, but it really helps if you move your own stuff out of the way.  We are extremely careful with things that belong to our customers, but we would really rather not be the one moving your grill when a wheel falls off, or be the one to pick up a plant pot to find out it’s broken in half, and just propped up in the corner.

Move anything you don’t want getting soaked, and anything you don’t want to get cleaning chemicals on.  Generally it’s best to move anything that may be an obstacle to the pressure washing crew while they’re working. Believe us when we tell you, the pressure cleaning company will be very happy if you’ve made it easy to move around your home.  Also think about trimming bushes back from touching the home, and removing clinging vines before cleaning as well.  This will help keep the algae and mold from growing on the home, and keep the vines from causing damage to the substrate.

pressure cleaning concrete

Ask about concrete pressure cleaning when hiring a pro. The results can be dramatic.

Most people don’t really think about moving cars out of the driveway when the house is being cleaned, but you should try to have your vehicles parked by the road, or in the garage. A lot of times our customers are at work, and the vehicles aren’t in the way, but sometimes they are.  We would really rather not have our cleaning solutions spraying onto your vehicles. Try to remember to move them on cleaning day, so that the pressure washing service company you’ve hired doesn’t have to wash your car while pressure cleaning your home or business.  While we’re on the subject, don’t forget to ask about driveway pressure cleaning. It can make a huge difference in your home’s appearance, and makes concrete safer and less slippery when wet.

Inspect Your Home

Another thing to consider is outdoor electrical sockets and dryer vents.  If you have any with missing or broken covers, repairing or replacing them before pressure washing is a great idea.  At the very least, you can cover them with some plastic, or even a strip of duct tape over the outlets to ensure there are no issues. You can also turn off your breaker to any outside receptacles, just in case.

There have been incidents of popping and crackling from outlets, and I’ve even personally heard stories of homes catching on fire from water getting into outlets. With this in mind, make sure you are hiring a competent, pressure cleaning company with good insurance coverage. Don’t be afraid to ask for an insurance certificate, which should come directly from the insurance company, stating that they are properly covered. This is another reason the cheapest isn’t always the best. When it comes to your largest investment, don’t risk anything just to get a cheaper price!

Check electric, phone, and cable boxes to ensure they are properly closed as well. Cable and phone connections can be susceptible to common pressure washing chemicals, so make sure all of your boxes are shut tight beforehand.

Professional pressure washing companies should take care to avoid heavily soaking electrical outlets, lights, fans, and other electrical items on the exterior of your home. However, it’s always a good idea to check your home to ensure things are in good shape before you have it pressure cleaned. No matter what, these items will tend to get wet while cleaning, so make sure they’re all in good condition before cleaning starts.

Professional Pressure Cleaning – Expectations

What should you expect out of a pressure washing company when they arrive? First you should expect them to show up on the scheduled day, but pressure washing is a dynamic business, so most companies will likely give you a time range when they expect to be there. They may simply say, “we will arrive on XX/XX/XXXX date somewhere between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.”.  At Weathered Wood Restoration, when pressure washing, we try to let our clients know if we plan to be there in the morning or afternoon. We always call to let clients know if something like weather, or delays on other jobs will hold us up from arriving on your scheduled day. You should be able to expect good communication ahead of time if something changes with scheduling a pressure washing service visit.

pressure cleaning Jacksonville, Florida

Pressure cleaning requires high water flow, not high pressure.

Pressure washing companies will need to hook up to your water, whether they have a water tank or not, so make sure your hose bibs are secure, in good working order, and nothing is prone to break on them. Whether their pressure washing machines are running directly off of your water source, or they are using a buffer tank to ensure their machines get enough water, almost all pressure washing companies are going to need a place to hook up for water.

Some plastic fittings and valves homeowners attach are prone to breaking very easily due to weathering and oxidation. It’s a good idea if you temporarily disconnect such fittings from your hose bib before they arrive. It’s no fun for a pressure washing business to turn on the water and snap off an old plastic valve, or splitter, not because they’re incompetent, but because it’s aged, oxidized, weakened and hanging on by a thread. We mention this because we have had this happen, and even though no fault of our own, we immediately offer brand new replacement.

This is the kind of customer service you want from a pressure washing company if something should go wrong, and this is how we deal with all problems. We turn them into a chance to exceed expectations and gain repeat and referral business, so contact us for your Jacksonville, FL pressure cleaning needs. If you hire the cheapest guy on the block, and something goes wrong, don’t expect them to be able to afford to fix it.

With that in mind, try to be a step ahead, and save the pressure washing crew the gut wrenching feeling of breaking something.  Even if it’s not completely their fault, they’re likely to feel terrible if something so simple snaps in their hand. Same goes for those planters we mentioned earlier, plant stands, or any of your other personal belongings. Making sure your home is ready ahead of time will make life alot easier for the pressure cleaning company, and make  the whole job go smoother.

If you are on well water, make sure to inform the pressure washing company ahead of time. Industrial pressure washing machines need strong, constant flow. If your pump is not able to keep up, it could cause serious problems. Make sure your pumps are in good shape, and good working order if you are on a well, and make sure that you have enough water flow. Typically between 5-8 gallons per minute or more is required. Discuss this with your pressure washing company before they come out to clean your home or business.  Generally if you can run your hose off of it, with good flow for an hour or two without problems, you should be fine. If not, a buffer tank is going to be required to even think about pressure washing.

Pressure Cleaning and Stain Removal

Expect your home to be clean and free of dirt, grime, mold, algae, and other contaminants. Your soffits should be clean, the siding should be free of dirt. Bug nests and spider webs should be gone. If you have things like rust stains, tell your pressure cleaning company ahead of time that you want those removed, and be prepared to pay extra for stain removal. The typical pressure cleaning removes the dirt and mold, but is not designed to remove tough stains. Those are usually assessed on a job to job basis, and will incur an extra charge.

Also, be aware that some things like dirt dobber (mud dobber, mud wasp) nests will be removed, but are likely to leave a stain on painted surfaces. These little critters build nests for larvae using dirt or mud and their saliva. The saliva is acidic, and will eat into the surface of the paint on your home. These can be treated and lightened, but they are almost impossible to completely remove without taking off paint. Certain kinds of stains simply may not be removable, and if you have specific concerns, mention those before you have the pressure cleaning company come out. They should be able to tell you what to expect. Pressure washing wands are not magic wands, so ask what can really be cleaned and what can’t, or what will cost extra.

Try not to have any other trades scheduled to work on your home the same day as the pressure washing crew. Schedule landscaping, lawn mowing, and any other work on your home for a day when the pressure washing crew isn’t there. With all the water spray, and activity around your home or business while it’s being pressure cleaned, there really isn’t time or opportunity for other people to do their jobs properly. You can save them all time and money by not scheduling them on top of each other. Just try to be mindful, because a plumber working inside may need to come out a dozen times to get tools or other items, which won’t be easy if your pressure washing crew is rinsing the front porch. Lawn guys won’t be able to mow where the pressure washing crew is working, and you don’t want them blowing grass all over a side of the house that is wet from just being cleaned.

Easy As a Phone Call

Having your home or business pressure washed isn’t a big deal, and with a professional pressure cleaning company, it is really easy. A little forethought, and a little planning go a long way. We have covered a lot of the important, even if very basic, considerations to prepare for pressure cleaning to help make it easier. Be sure to check out what our clients are saying about our business, and when you’re ready to get your pressure washing done right, with low pressure cleaning methods, contact Weathered Wood Restoration right away! Proper low pressure cleaning from a company like ours guarantees good results, so don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and get scheduled today.



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