The Art of Power Washing Siding
Some of the most common mistakes to avoid made by homeowners and contractors are:
Trying to remove the powdery coating called oxidation on aluminum siding. Removing this coating can cause discoloration and in some cases cause the siding to look like a completely different color.
Using too much pressure can also force water up behind the siding where it will cause mildew behind the siding or in some cases, blow the siding off the house!
Washing the house from the top down or letting chemicals dry on the house, which may leave streaks on the siding.
Using a ladder to clean the upper areas of a house can result in serious injuries and death from slipping off the ladder.
These are the types of mishaps that many people have when attempting to do a quick power washing of their home. If you decide to use a power washer on your home, here are some general guidelines to use.
Make sure the machine your using puts out a minimum of 4 gallons of water per minute and less than 1000 PSI.
Most homeowners will buy a machine from a hardware store that puts out 1,000 PSI but only uses 2 gallons per minute of water. While this machine may work, it will triple the amount of time to do the job properly.
Be careful if your making your own house washing chemicals. For example, mixing bleach and ammonia can create a poisonous gas.
We suggest that home owners buy a siding wash that's available in most hardware stores and follow the manufactures guidelines for the product. Leave the stronger agents to the pro's or you may end up removing the paint along with the dirt!
The best way to clean siding is by using a power washer that has a chemical injector built into the machine. Using a chemical injector will allow you to pull the soap from the container, mixing it in the machine with water and spray it onto the house using low pressure starting from the bottom up. Make sure when using a power washer that you don't shoot water or chemicals up under the siding, this can cause significant mold problems behind your siding.
Allow the chemical to dwell on the siding, then using low pressure, rinse the product from the siding. Make sure when your rinsing the product off the siding that you start at one end of the siding all the way to the end. Do not stop or vary your distance from the siding, or it will cause the surface to be cleaned un-evenly.
If your siding has small black dots that do not come off during cleaning but can be scraped off using your finger nail. You probably have artillery fungus on your siding. This can not be removed from the siding without causing damage. For more information on Artillery fungus, see the Artillery fungus page.
If you decide this project is more than you want to handle on your own, we would be happy to tell you how to do the job safely and correctly or to find a reputable and experienced company. Just give us a call.
President, Henry's Housework Inc.
MHIC # 65039 Licensed, bonded and insured.
301 353 9287
Henry Bockman has provided power washing, gutter cleaning, roof repairs and deck restoration services to over 10,000 commercial and residential clients for over 16 years.
Henry Bockman is currently the Maryland PWNA chapter president, serves on the Board of Directors for the National organization The Power Washers of North America and is also the Chairman for the Clean Across America campaign which he helped create in 2004. For more information on Henry Bockman and his company, Henry's Housework, visit the website at
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