Pressure washing has an incredible return-on-investment in terms of curb appeal and brightening up the most visible areas of your home. In addition to requests for Softwashing (the use of light pressure and chemical cleaning agent) of the home’s siding, our estimators are frequently asked, “What other areas to you recommend we pressure wash?” We always counsel homeowners to look to those areas of their home that are the most visible to them and their guests.
Where do you spend most of your time outside the home?
What are the common places of entrance and egress?
Are there portions of your home particularly visible from the street to passersby?
The answers to these questions are probably the spots for which a power washing service will offer the biggest “wow” factor and bang for your buck. They also vary depending on the home – the direction it’s facing, surrounding vegetation, and the surface materials comprising the home exterior.
Here is our list of the several exterior areas that, when cleaned properly, lead to the greatest overall client satisfaction.
Many homeowners neglect to consider the impact of a driveway’s appearance on their home’s curb appeal. In fact, your driveway may be the first thing that you or anyone else sees when they enter your property, or, in the case of street-facing driveways, when they pass by your property. Porous driveway materials such as concrete, exposed aggregate, and brick or stone pavers will collect dirt, mildew, tire marks, and oil stains over time. The use of hot water and chemical cleaning agents in the pressure washing process can help to remove more difficult stains from driveway areas than cold water pressure alone cannot address.
Front sidewalks and steps
Sidewalks – whether concrete, brick, or stone (e.g., slate) – are similar to other porous hardscapes in that they collect dirt, mold, and green algae. Most sidewalks have a resilient construction and respond incredibly well to power washing as a cleaning method. In addition to the cosmetic benefits of regular sidewalk powerwashing, the homeowner will ensure that these areas do not present any slip-and-fall risk to pedestrians (or themselves!) due to buildup of surface organics.
Porches and entrance areas
Front stoops, porches, and trim are great collection areas for cobwebs, insects, and dirt, in addition to being highly visible. Your contractor should take care to treat columns, rails, trim and siding with a different level of care and precaution than the hardscapes around the home. Softwashing is often the safest technique to use on more delicate substrates, such as painted wood columns or vinyl railing. Do not let your contractor apply excessive pressure to your home’s siding or trim!
Patios and retaining walls
Patios are designed for outdoor enjoyment, so let’s keep them clean! Like all hardscapes, patios can be made with a variety of different materials and mortar configurations. We do find that due to the intentional aesthetics of patio design, we see a higher mix of patios built with delicate stone and loose jointing (i.e., loose material holding the stone or pavers in place) than we do with other hardscape surfaces around the home. So, while patios age and get dirty just like sidewalks and driveways, the cleaning approach to each patio should be tailored to how the patio is built. For instance, patios with polymeric sand or soil jointing may be power washed, but the homeowner should understand that the jointing may need to be replaced or re-set after the service, as it can be displaced by water pressure. Does your contractor have a plan to manage this risk and/or remediate damage to your jointing? Further, we often see patios built with decorative stone such as bluestone, flagstone or travertine. Your contractor should take care not to power wash decorative stone patios at higher PSI levels, as too much water pressure can leave permanent marks or grooves in the stone. Too much pressure can also displace cracked or crumbling mortar, regardless of stone variety.
There is not a one-size-fits all approach to your home’s pressure washing program, in terms of scope or frequency of service needed. The best approach is to try to look at your property with a fresh set of eyes and evaluate which parts of YOUR home would benefit from a fresh appearance. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.