Power Washer Help

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WildBill
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Power Washer Help

#1

Post by WildBill » Sun Nov 01, 2009 2:39 pm

I am relatively new to Texas and have no experience related to mildew and powerwashing. My HOA wrote me a nasty letter telling me to fix the problem with with some black stuff on the side of the house. I haven't been able to find any service to do it so I thought I would try myself.

The driveway has a lot of "black stuff" on it also, which I assume is mildew [at least that what the HOA letter stated] and on some of the brick siding on my house. A website that I found said that Jomax and Chlorox sprayed from a water sprayer would wash it right away. This weekend I tried spraying the side of the house and my driveway and it didn't do a thing.

Do I need to get a powerwasher. I have been looking and considering an electric powered washer. Any suggestions?
Last edited by WildBill on Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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TLE2
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Re: Power Washer Help

#2

Post by TLE2 » Sun Nov 01, 2009 2:57 pm

I have an electric power washer made by Karcher. I bought it at Lowes, I think. I didn't want to store gasoline on premises, so I went electric. It has enough power for the job and was relatively inexpensive.
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Re: Power Washer Help

#3

Post by USA1 » Sun Nov 01, 2009 2:59 pm

Just make sure to get the most PSI that your budget will allow .
You can add cleaners , but be careful with bleach around vegetation .

dang HOA's :grumble
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WildBill
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Re: Power Washer Help

#4

Post by WildBill » Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:14 pm

USA1 wrote:Just make sure to get the most PSI that your budget will allow. You can add cleaners , but be careful with bleach around vegetation.
My budget will allow high PSI, but I hate to spend money on something that I'll only use once a years. Except for another gun. :lol:
USA1 wrote:dang HOA's :grumble
:mad5
TLE2 wrote:I have an electric power washer made by Karcher. I bought it at Lowes, I think. I didn't want to store gasoline on premises, so I went electric. It has enough power for the job and was relatively inexpensive.
I am leaning the same way. BTW, approximately how long does it take to pressure wash a driveway?
P.S. Supposedly Jomax neutralizes the bleach. I was careful not to get any on the lawn. I guess will see in a couple of days.
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Re: Power Washer Help

#5

Post by seamusTX » Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:13 pm

Plenty of people power-wash for around $50. It beats spending several hundred on a machine that you then have to maintain (don't ask me how I know ;-) ). Usually the more professional landscapers have powerwashers.

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Re: Power Washer Help

#6

Post by A-R » Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:48 pm

In addition to hiring out the work, you can also rent a good gas-powered pressure washer from most rental places. $25 for 4 hours to $50 for 24 hours sounds about right. I used to manage PW contracts for commercial/retail buildings. PSI is not that important. Gallons per minute is the key. A $600 washer at Home Depot has 2600 psi, and so does a $75,000 truck-mounted pro set up. Difference in gallons per minute is substantial .., 10x as much.

Bleach and or any good mildew killer will work. But don't apply with washer. Apply with basic spray bottle (landscape chemical pump sprayer works well) and let the chemical soak in for 20 minutes or so. Then blast it with the high pressure spray.

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Re: Power Washer Help

#7

Post by ELB » Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:59 pm

One caveat: power washers are powerful. If you are washing brick or concrete, they do a wonderful job of cleaning off all the ground-in crud. (of course you will have to do the whole wall or the whole driveway, otherwise there will be a nice clean spot surrounded by "ick".)

But they can damage lesser materials, like vinyl siding or wood trim, if you use too high of a pressure setting, either by ripping it off or stripping of the paint. If it is older wood, it can gouge the wood.

So if you rent or buy one, start with lower pressure and stand well back until you get the hang of it.

I had good results with Jomax, a long handled scrub brush/mop combo, and a regular hose when washing mold of the side of a vinyl house. Maybe mildew gets a tougher grip on brick, dunno.
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Re: Power Washer Help

#8

Post by hheremtp » Sun Nov 01, 2009 5:02 pm

you can rent one from lowe's or Home depot for fairly cheap.
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Re: Power Washer Help

#9

Post by Piney » Sun Nov 01, 2009 5:13 pm

I"ve had good results with the Jomax/bleach combo. I wet the surface with plain water, spray it on with a pump sprayer, let it sit for 30 min or so , then power wash. Depending on the surface and the amt of "goo", some have told me they just spray it on then wash it off with a garden hose .

As others said, be cautious with a power washer. It can damage some surfaces. Also, don't think you can just kinda stand back and spray. Some surfaces may take careful washing, otherwise you'll end up with streaks. Our driveway was "power wahsed' before we bought the house-- looks like someone painted stripes in it where some parts were hit heavily and others not. A few of my own hours cleaned that up.

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Re: Power Washer Help

#10

Post by WildBill » Sun Nov 01, 2009 6:11 pm

Piney wrote:I"ve had good results with the Jomax/bleach combo. I wet the surface with plain water, spray it on with a pump sprayer, let it sit for 30 min or so , then power wash. Depending on the surface and the amt of "goo", some have told me they just spray it on then wash it off with a garden hose .

Our driveway was "power wahsed' before we bought the house-- looks like someone painted stripes in it where some parts were hit heavily and others not. A few of my own hours cleaned that up.
My neighbor's driveway looks the same way, although with circular brush strokes. The crew that repaired their roof after IKE left some discoloration from the roofing materials. They promised to come back and clean rest of the driveway, but they never came back.

I will probably break down and buy one. It looks like the electric washers give about 1800 psi. I am not sure about the gallon rating.

To seamusTx, my "professional" lawn service doesn't perform this service. They did give me a "referral" but the person answering the phone didn't speak English. I am not sure if it's an old number, but I am still looking.

BTW it seems like this would be a great part time job for a high school student. Not much investment to buy the equipment and much better profit than mowing lawns.
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Re: Power Washer Help

#11

Post by Oldgringo » Sun Nov 01, 2009 6:32 pm

WildBill wrote:
Piney wrote:I"ve had good results with the Jomax/bleach combo. I wet the surface with plain water, spray it on with a pump sprayer, let it sit for 30 min or so , then power wash. Depending on the surface and the amt of "goo", some have told me they just spray it on then wash it off with a garden hose .

Our driveway was "power wahsed' before we bought the house-- looks like someone painted stripes in it where some parts were hit heavily and others not. A few of my own hours cleaned that up.
My neighbor's driveway looks the same way, although with circular brush strokes. The crew that repaired their roof after IKE left some discoloration from the roofing materials. They promised to come back and clean rest of the driveway, but they never came back.

I will probably break down and buy one. It looks like the electric washers give about 1800 psi. I am not sure about the gallon rating.

To seamusTx, my "professional" lawn service doesn't perform this service. They did give me a "referral" but the person answering the phone didn't speak English. I am not sure if it's an old number, but I am still looking.

BTW it seems like this would be a great part time job for a high school student. Not much investment to buy the equipment and much better profit than mowing lawns.
I have a power washer that sits, sits and sits some more in the garage awaiting my beck and call. Look under mobile homes, manufactured housing (they're called trailer houses in Texas) for repair, maintenance services, etc. In Florida, many years ago, this was a regular service to/for the many manufactured home communities that dot the Forida landscape.


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Re: Power Washer Help

#12

Post by lrb111 » Sun Nov 01, 2009 8:13 pm

Today only at http://www.woot.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; is a refurb Karcher power washer 79.95.
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Re: Power Washer Help

#13

Post by A-R » Sun Nov 01, 2009 8:45 pm

If you do buy one, I'd actually recomend not getting an electric one. They're good for cars and wood (fences, decks) but don't really have enough power for concrete, brick etc, IMHO. Also have had problems with electric washers popping breakers, especially easy to overload GFCI breakers that are standard building code for all outside outlets on newer homes.

If you do go gas, I'd strongly recommend a Honda motor. Much steadier/more reliable for the constant speed/steady torque requirements, and much easier to start each time. Worth a few extra dollars over Briggs & Stratton.

A rotating nozzle, with 4 spray settings on one wand is handy too (better than changing individual nozzles).

And do be careful: a 2400 psi or higher machine with a 10 degree or tighter nozzle can cut thru wood like a saw and will etch concrete and brick if you hold the nozzle too close.


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Re: Power Washer Help

#14

Post by casingpoint » Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:30 pm

And do be careful: a 2400 psi or higher machine with a 10 degree or tighter nozzle can cut thru wood like a saw and will etch concrete and brick if you hold the nozzle too close
It will also inject you or anybody else who gets in front of it through their skin, causing an embolism requiring emergency medical treatment ASAP.

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Re: Power Washer Help

#15

Post by USA1 » Mon Nov 02, 2009 11:23 pm

casingpoint wrote:
And do be careful: a 2400 psi or higher machine with a 10 degree or tighter nozzle can cut thru wood like a saw and will etch concrete and brick if you hold the nozzle too close
It will also inject you or anybody else who gets in front of it through their skin, causing an embolism requiring emergency medical treatment ASAP.
:eek6
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