What I'm Seeing Now

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Don't Pressure Wash Siding!

Don't pressure wash siding!

Just don't.

There are many reasons, which range from the professionalism of the people doing the pressure washing to the damage pressure washing does to siding, paint and trim work.

Case in point - I saw a house in my neighborhood being pressure washed.

The temperatures outdoors weren't exactly suited to such activity, but this house, on the market, must have had someone think this would help sell the house.

Here the pressure washers are trying to remove a stain under a gutter at the upper edge of the brick. 

After they were done the stain was not removed.

But even still, when finished there were problems everywhere.

Having a quick look around here is what I came up with.  It's not good, and easily understood.

Unbelievably they decided to spray the paint on the foundation wall.  The paint was removed, of course, with peeled paint chips all over the yard.  Do they intend to come back and repaint the wall?  Winter is NEVER a good time to paint.  I've had posts on this before - read one here, part 1 of 2 - and believe me it is not good to paint in winter.  When temperatures are below 50-60F (read the label on the can!) and the humidity above 50% the paint will not adhere, and if it freezes before it dries completely it will bubble and peel quickly.  The future buyers of this house would be inheriting a mess.

Also, look at the wood trim above the stain on the brick work.  Holes were gouged into the wood, damaging it.  Why pressure wash something in order to replace it later?  Since that doesn't make sense it is apparent that they intend to "repair" and then repaint this trim too.  Utter silliness.

Finally, and this is particularly disconcerting, a day later I looked and water was STILL  coming out from inside and behind the siding.

What does that say?

That pressure washing this siding, which is a temporary fix at best for staining, the tip had an inappropriate jet angle (meaning less than 18 degrees), or was held too close, and the pressure was WAY  too high.

Not only can that damage the siding, but water, and whatever cleaning agent, if any, was forced into and behind the siding.  So whatever the material is behind it (and when this house was built they did not use plastic house wrap) was infested with water and left very wet.  Which means it froze during the night.  Which means it did not dry well.  Which means other problems can result.  For example, if the insulation was rendered wet it has become compromised.

My recommendation:  pressure washing siding sets the house up for problems!  And some poor unsuspecting buyer will be the beneficiary of those problems.  And in speaking with pressure washing "experts" about this they understand this and agree with me!  But it's their business, so they persist in doing what they do.  And every time I have a post about pressure washing I get ripped by these "experts" telling me I don't know what I'm talking about.  Well, look above and decide for yourself.

Don't pressure wash siding!

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 27 commentsJay Markanich • December 30 2016 10:38AM

Comments

We manage condos and power washing makes all sorts of new issues. We discourage it highly.

Posted by Dennis Swartz, MBA, GRI...experience counts! (Full Circle Property Management) over 2 years ago

A wise practice, Dennis.  The same applies to decks, about which I have had another very popular post (also trashed by the pressure-wash guys), because the "experts" don't use the right stuff or know how to use the washers!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

Good morning Jay. What a terrific post. I never would have thought about this. Thank You.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) over 2 years ago

Well explained and supported by photographic evidence. Thank you.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) over 2 years ago

I'm certain most people don't, Sheila.  Which is why most people's thinking goes right to pressure washing when they want to clean anything!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

N&T - the proof is in the trying of the pudding, as they say.  I intentionally waited a day to see what would happen from behind the siding.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

Thankfully, they didn't pressure wash the shingles too... or did they?

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 2 years ago

Fred - for all I know that's next!  My neighbor across the street saw what I did to my roof to remove the black algae (I cleaned my roof for $35) and went ahead and did this:

http://activerain.com/blogsview/3536137/how-to-knock-10-years-off-your-shingled-roof-s-lifespan-in-90-minutes

The algae came back inside of a year, but his roof granules did not...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

Jay, I do love to pressure clean but my "wand" is taken away from me if I'm around decks.   I do the driveway and sidewalks.  

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 2 years ago

Thanks for a very enlightening blog.  These are obvious results and not the results we are looking for.  

Posted by Ricki Eichler McCallum, Broker,GRI,ABR, e-Pro, TAHS (CastNet Realty) over 2 years ago

Driveways and sidewalks you can do anytime, Kathy.  But with the proper nozzle - again, I recommend 18 degrees.

Thank you Ricki.  The results pretty much speak for themselves!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

                                      Thank you Jay Markanich 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 2 years ago

Gracias Miss Kathy!  Now I feel obligated to tell everyone about your beaches.  One good turn deserves another...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

Good morning Jay. Do it right or don't do it at all! An extension on the wand only appears to make it easier, but really more difficult to see the result! Few are professionals! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) over 2 years ago

Which is why binoculars and telephoto lenses come in handy, Wayne!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

Yeow! The first time I used a pressure washer on my deck I soon realized it's like a wet sander. I definitely needed to improve my technique. Happy New Year, Jay!

Posted by Mike Cooper, GRI, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) over 2 years ago

Mike - my pressure washing post about decks is one of my most popular ever, and the most hated by the pressure wash guys who send me nasty notes and even leave me voice mails!

Decks require a special technique.  Most don't know the secrets, including the pressure wash guys.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

Thanks to Kathy for leading me here... Great advice here I would never have thought of. Thanks! 

Posted by Lisa Hernandez, Realtor serving Kendall, South Miami & Pinecrest (Opes Real Estate Group) over 2 years ago

Thanks Lisa.  Subscribe and you can come here every post!

Happy New Year also!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

We believe you. When we painted our house about a year ago. We used a light brush and hand-washed the siding, and then rinsed it with a hose. Yes, it took freaking forever, lol, but we felt it was worth it to do it right. 

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) over 2 years ago

D&B - Years ago I developed a formula to clean the algae off my roof and it works great with siding.  You can read about it on my website here.

It's very gentle and if rinsed right away does not damage to plants.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

Good evening Jay Markanich ,

I've been unplugged on a family vacation. Came right over to read posts from Kathy Streib on  her "Ah-ha" moments for the week. Great post and loved the photo documentation..hard to argue with the facts!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) over 2 years ago

Thank you, Dorie.  Yes, it is a hard argument.  And you don't have to go through Kathy to plug into my posts!

Says he, with a smile and a wink.   ; >)

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

Jay

This was certainly some valuable learning. I bet more than one homeowner has either tried this and had problems, and hired someone with results they did not expect

Jeff

Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) over 2 years ago

I'm glad you enjoyed it Jeff.  These results were pretty clear.  And they are very consistent results that I see every time.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

Hi Jay Markanich 

Thank you for the post. I never knew you shouldn't pressure wash siding.

Posted by Doug Dawes, Your Personal Realtor® (Keller Williams Realty - Topsfield, MA) over 2 years ago

We get new information every day, Doug.  And this is a very clear lesson.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

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