Now that spring has finally begun to take hold, many homeowners are beginning to think about getting outdoors and dealing with any repairs or maintenance tasks that have been put on hold until winter has passed. Whether it is for general cleaning or paint preparation, pressure washing is a job that is probably on many lists this spring. In this article, we will discuss some of the pros and cons of using a pressure washer on your home.
For starters, if you aren’t familiar with pressure washers they are high pressure mechanical sprayers that are used for removing unsightly mold, mildew, grime, dirt and/or loose paint from a surface. The high pressure of the water allows the operator to remove unwanted surface adherents that would otherwise require a great deal of “elbow grease”. A basic pressure washer utilizes a motor (generally gasoline or electrically powered) to drive a high pressure water pump. The pump pushes the water through a high pressure hose. The water is allowed through the hose via a trigger/gun-style switch that releases the water to flow through a nozzle. There are many different nozzle types that allow the user to easily change the nozzle tip in accordance with the desired outcome of its usage.
When used properly through the hands of a seasoned professional, pressure washing can greatly improve the appearance of your home. Whether you are interested in selling your home or just maintaining it, having your home look its best is always desirable.
Besides the cosmetic improvement, pressure washing can also prevent or at least delay some major projects such as painting, installing siding or restaining or resealing your deck. If done correctly and regularly, pressure washing can extend the life of many outdoor features of your home. And when comparing the cost of hiring someone to pressure wash as opposed to the cost of residing your house, the reduction in cost is significant. That’s not to say that pressure washing will prevent you from having to put new siding on your home, it certainly won’t. But it can extend the life of your current siding so that you have more time to prepare for replacement. Same for the surface of your driveway, the paint on your soffit and fascia and the finish on your deck.
Pressure washing is also desirable because it is efficient. It is exponentially faster than hand washing in nearly any application. And if you are comfortable with doing it yourself, renting a pressure washer has become quite economical. But alas, the affordability and easy access to pressure washing equipment can put your home exterior at risk.
Many of the potential downsides to pressure washing are linked to the expertise of who is using the pressure washer. While a pressure washer is not an extremely complicated piece of equipment, there are facets of its operation that when not executed properly can quickly cause damage to your home or the operator.
First and foremost, if you are entertaining the idea of buying or renting a pressure washer and using it yourself, be extremely aware of the power of the water exiting the nozzle of the pressure washer. While it may seem like a glorified garden hose, a pressure washer can tear into flesh at close range. So if you go the DIY route, use extreme caution and take your time as you learn the ins and outs of the pressure washer.
Along those same lines, be aware of the power of the water when you are washing siding. It is generally best to work from the top down to avoid loosening any of your siding. Do not spray windows and try to avoid using a pressure washer on wood siding and brick. The pressure of the water can saturate the wood and extend drying time and for brick you run the risk of removing mortar between bricks and also removing part of the brick faces. Stucco and hard board siding should also be avoided.
Finally, be aware of the chemicals that are being used to aid in the cleaning process. Depending on the material you are washing, you will need a certain combination of chemicals and the proper concentrations to get the best results. If you use too strong of a solution, you could damage the material that you are intending to clean. So do your research if you decide to do-it-yourself, or check with whoever you hire and make sure they have a plan. Also consider the potential impact of the chemicals you use on your shrubs, flowers, lawn and yourself!
After hunkering down for the winter, make your home feel open again by improving the look and feel of your main entryway.
Begin by picking up the doormat and sweeping the area. Is the doormat worn? You may want to consider a new one. Next, wipe down the door, the threshold and any other surfaces that you can clean. If you have a glass storm door, take time to clean the glass. Remove any unnecessary clutter from the area. Like they say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Next, step back a few feet from the entryway and evaluate what you see. How does the paint look? Is it showing signs of wear? Do you still like the colors that are present? To add some new color to the mix, consider painting your steps and/or the landing.
If you don’t have plants out yet, introduce a couple of varieties that bloom in spring. Place them in any existing planters that you have or perhaps buy new ones to add interest.
And to conclude your front entryway makeover, study your light fixtures. If they are rusty or look outdated, consider replacing them.
Among homeowners who plan to sell their homes, they appear less eager to make improvements as compared to last year. Reasons for this are open for interpretation. Seller confidence is at a four-year high, with 65% believing that they will be able to obtain the asking price for their home. This is up 25% from 2010.
Other notable statistics from the study were 16% of homeowners plan on moving in 2014. That’s up from 10% in 2012. 46% plan to buy a home, which is up from 43% in 2013.
The biggest common bond among all age groups was the reliance on good reviews and references to decide upon who will do the work. But when investigating how & where those reviews were found, clear behavior differences became apparent. Younger homeowners in the Millenial generation tend to depend more heavily upon online reference sources such as Home Advisor and Yelp, while older age groups depend more on personal references and recommendations.
Millenials also appear to be the hardest age group to please when it comes to getting estimates, setting appointments and overall satisfaction with the completed project. The survey was answered by 1,000 homeowners who hired a service professional in the past year for a renovation or repair. The findings seem to highlight a younger generation that is more reliant upon indirect contact through digital media rather than person-to-person communication. Home repair specialists will need to adjust how they relate to the customer if they want to have a more positive interaction with the growing number of homeowners that are from the Millenial generation.