What’s included in my power washing service?

“Power washing” is a common term used to describe a variety of cleaning methods that employ water pressure and, oftentimes, chemical cleaning agents to clean exterior surfaces of residential homes or commercial buildings.

For homes, we break down the scope of our services into softwashing (or house wash of home siding, trim and other areas) and power washing (or “pressure washing”).

Before you enter into a service contract with a power washing company, it’s important to understand what scope of work is included in your power washing service. So here we’re providing a framework to help understand power washing service scope. Hopefully, this will help you ask your power washing company the right questions before scheduling service.

Softwashing (House Washing)

Here is the minimum of what you should expect from a standard softwashing or house washing service.

1. Home siding and trim
Every house washing service should include softwashing of all home siding, trim, fascia and soffit. For homes with vinyl siding, painted wood siding, HardiePlank siding, or painted brick siding, the focus of the softwashing will be removing dirt, algae and mold from the siding AND trim substrates. For homes with exposed brick siding, the primary focus of the soft washing service will be the trim, soffit and fascia.

Keep in mind that softwashing uses a chemical cleaning agent and gentle wash to remove organics from the home, so you must be wary of any contractor that says they are going to “power wash” your home siding or employ pressure to clean these delicate surfaces. This method can cause damage to your home! For more information on the different situational uses of power washing (pressure washing) and softwashing, please see Power Washing vs. Softwashing, A Basic Primer.

2. Front entrance, steps / railing and sidewalk
A good softwashing service should include pressure washing of the front steps, sidewalk, and front entrance area (including front porch and gentle cleaning of front railing). If your front sidewalk and entrance area do not sparkle, the house washing service is not complete!

3. Outside of Gutters
Softwashing should do a good job of removing discoloration and debris from the outside of the gutter runs and downspouts. Sometimes, additional chemical applications may be needed to remove black streaks or “tiger stripes” from the gutter exterior. Many companies refer to the surface of gutter stain removal as “gutter whitening”, so please make sure to clarify with your contractor if stain removal is included in the softwashing quote or whether that would be a separately-quoted item.

Common Power Washing Add-On’s
Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of power washing add-on’s that are typically itemized out on your service quote and identified separately from the main home softwashing.
• Interior softwashing of screened-in porch
• Power washing of brick foundation skirt (Note: Brick foundation skirts are often stained due to prolonged exposure to ground minerals; this condition can require specialty chemical treatment to restore the brick to its original appearance)
• Deck power washing or deck softwashing
• Patio power washing
• Driveway power washing
• Softwashing of sheds, pool houses, guest houses, or other secondary structures
• Power washing or softwashing of fences
• Brick wall power washing

Our recent article, Pressure Washing for Curb Appeal, provides several great ideas for the pressure washing scope that provides the biggest bang for your buck!

If it’s not clear on the quote, clarify with your contractor…
When in doubt, ask! If a scope item is not listed on your power washing service quote, chances are it isn’t included and should be discussed with your contractor in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Get a free quote today!
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