Should You Pressure Wash Your Building Before or After You Paint?
As we are in the thick of spring—and all homeowners are in the home maintenance and upkeep zone—this concern often arises: “I need to pressure clean my vinyl siding, but I need to do touch-up painting of trim work, doors, and other exterior surfaces of my home. What should I do first—the pressure washing or the painting?
First, let’s take a quick look at your home’s siding and brick work. These surfaces can collect many kinds of dirt and debris; some of it is so fine that it is not visible. Airborne pollutants, dirt, mold, and mildew can collect on both vinyl siding and brick. You can tell if you have mold and mildew. Mold presents itself on siding like zillions of tiny black dots that look like pepper. Green mold spores are easy to see and usually on the side of your home that has the least amount of sun. Brick surfaces can also accumulate the mold and mildew but also have another visible type of dirt that appears like white chalk; and that white chalky substance on your brick is lime deposits. Lime leeches out of brick over the course of time and comes out with the changing of the seasons. Still, whatever is on your brick or siding must be removed. The absolute best way to remove dirt, mold, mildew, and lime deposits is pressure washing or pressure cleaning your siding and your brick.
The question that remains is when to pressure wash or pressure clean these surfaces. Exterior maintenance professionals suggest that homeowners should pressure clean the exterior of their homes before they paint any surface. But here is the key: the pressure cleaned surfaces need at least three to five days of dry weather before painting begins.
Why Should I Pressure Wash My Home or Commercial Building?
Pressure washing not only removes the grime and dirt that has collected on your siding, but it also blows off flaking and loose paint that you or a painting professional would otherwise need to scrape off. Some pressure washing or pressure cleaning machines have a port for detergent and a low-pressure setting that allow you to treat mold while you’re washing, thus ensuring the mold doesn’t return after you paint.
You can pressure wash vinyl siding; however, aluminum siding—which is quite an old product—can usually not be pressure washed. The reason is that aluminum siding is not used anymore, and if a home still has this type, it is usually past its lifespan and cannot be cleaned. To test this, rub your hand across the siding; if a white chalky substance comes off on your hands, the chances are it is aluminum, and most responsible contractors will not clean it.
Wood siding dries more slowly than vinyl or aluminum. If you can’t get to the painting job immediately after washing, don’t wait longer than a month. If you do, enough dirt is likely to collect to require another pressure washing.
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