Pressure washing is the process of using a machine to deliver high water pressure through a hose and nozzle to remove stubborn substances from hard surfaces. The force of the water physically dislodges loose paint, gum, graffiti, mold, and caked on dirt that normal effort cannot budge.
Pressure Washing Types in Florida
In Florida, pressure washing is used on residential and commercial buildings as well as institutional buildings such as municipal building, bridges, concrete barriers, parking lots, schools, hospitals and storefronts. The surface to be cleaned must be hard enough to ensure that it is not damaged during the process. The combination of water pressure and nozzle selection is important in order to make certain that only the offending substance is removed and not the building materials.
Other Types of Pressure Washing
The two other types of pressure washing used in Florida are power washing and soft washing. Power washing is similar to pressure washing as it also uses highly pressurized water. The difference is that power washing uses heated water to help remove the offending grime.
Soft washing is employed on surfaces that would normally be damaged with the high pressures of pressure washing and power washing. Instead of high pressures, soft washing uses environmentally friendly chemicals, soaps or surfactants to penetrate and lift grime, mold and mildew. Once lifted from the surface, the surfaced is rinsed with clean water multiple times until all the residue is gone. This process is used extensively on roofs and siding.
The climate in Florida is such that mold, mildew and algae establish on surfaces and continue to grow until they spoil the look and functionality of surfaces. There are many professional services throughout the state that specialize in cleaning and preserving outdoor surfaces. Each type of surface, and each type of grime, require a specific type of cleaning to effectively accomplish the objective of removing offending substances.
Residential Pressure Washing
There are many exterior surfaces on the home and property that will need cleaning at some point during their useful life. Here are some surfaces that the Florida climate is especially hard on and will require professional washing.
Roof WashingRoofs take a beating from sun, wind, rain and storms. They also collect salt spray, dirt, biologicals from animals, mold, mildew and algae. All of these invaders will eventually compromise a roof's appearance and functionality.
Asphalt shingle roofs are particularly susceptible to a particular type of algae, gleocapsa magma, which thrives on humidity and warm weather that Florida experiences year around. This is an airborne invader that travels from roof to roof. Once you see black streaks on a roof, you know it has been infected. The algae feeds on the limestone which is one of the components of asphalt shingles. Eventually, the shingles will fail and the roof will need a full or partial replacement.Another reason for roof washing is curb appeal. The roof is one of the first things people see when they approach a residence. A dirty roof is a sign of lack of proper maintenance and detracts from the overall appearance of the home. Many Florida HOA's require that homeowners maintain a clean roof. Even clay tile or composite cement tile roofs will need cleaning at some point.
Soft washing is the recommended procedure for roofs. Many roof shingle manufacturer warranties become void if pressure cleaning is used to clean the roof.
Siding and Stucco Cleaning
Both siding and stucco will become damaged if too much pressure is applied during the cleaning process. Soft washing is the prescribed cleaning method for aluminum and vinyl siding. Eliminating mold, mildew, dirt, fungus and grime will keep a home's exterior healthy and attractive..
A combination of low pressure pumps and custom cleaning solutions is used to safely break the bond between the dirt, algae and the affected area. When the chemical cleansers are left to soak into the surface and its cracks, they are then easily removed with a low pressure rinse.
Stucco rust stains, stains from grills and mold are the primary intruders that spoil the look of stucco and dryvit exteriors. Especially near metal electrical pipes, vents and other rusty metal, orange rust stains on stucco are unsightly. Rust stains are also an ideal host for mold growth.
Soft washing and the proper eco-friendly chamicals can be used to safely and effectively restore the original appearance of exterior stucco surfaces.
Around the home there are many concrete surfaces which may include driveways, walkways, patios and sidewalks. Over time, these surfaces can accumulate many types of stains from grime, tires, mold, fungus, rust and fertilizers.
The chemicals in fertilizers such as iron, copper and zinc, will stain concrete if left alone. Unfortunately, these fertilizer stains are difficult to remove with household cleaners. They can be removed using high pressure pressure washing and chemical solutions specifically formulated for fertilizer removal from concrete. These chemicals are eco-friendly and bio-degradeable and not recommended for DIY use.Tire marks on driveways and mold growth in shady areas are particularly difficult to remove without the proper equipment. Power washing can be very effective in removing both biological growth and tire marks from concrete drives. Stains from cars, such as from oil or radiator fluid, can be difficult to remove from concrete. Using the proper power washing techniques and chemicals, these stains can be mitigated to restore the appearance of concrete driveways.
Patios can, over time, become stained from puddles, spills, rust, and ground in dirt. A clean concrete patio is more inviting and will improve the appearance of your property. Hard water stains can be found throughout Florida, especially in areas where well water is the primary source of outdoor irrigation.
Hard water concrete stains (from the high mineral content found in hard water) can be removed with professional pressure washing equipment and the proper surfactants to treat the offending stains.
Cleaning gutters using pressure washing equipment is best left to professionals. It is not safe to be standing on a ladder while using pressure of any kind.
To clean gutters properly using pressure, professionals have specific types of wands and nozzles that enable them to use pressure while not standing on ladders. They can also use scaffolding to hold the equipment while cleaning gutters on the second or third stories of buildings.
Clogged gutters lead to rainfall overflow which can back up into houses and begin to form mold and mildew inside of residential walls. Gutter clogs come from debris such as leaves, pine needles and weeds growing inside the gutter channels. These intruders must be removed before cleaning can occur. Clogged gutters also hold heavy rainwater which stresses the gutter which begins to sag or loosen from the house.
Additionally, gutters should also be cleaned from the outside to remove algae. Gutters can be whitened or brightened with a cleaning solution and a low pressure rinse making them look just like new again.
Over time, fences can start to look dingy and dirty because of mold, dirt, grime and algae. Wood fences will turn grey and weathered when dirt and grime and mold have penetrated the surface.
Fences made from wood, aluminum, PVC or vinyl can benefit from a thorough cleaning to remove the substances that detract from a fence's appearance.
A stained wood fence can weaken with the passage of time and this will mean it can become damaged and decay more easily. Commercial grade detergents specifically designed for wood fences also include a mold inhibitor to keep the wood bright longer. Pressure washing a fence is also a great way to prepare the surface for painting or staining.
Vinyl and PVC fences also have custom cleaning compounds formulated just for them that will safely remove mold, mildew and algae that affect Florida's composite fences.
Cleaning your driveway is a major step to improve the curb appeal of your home. Florida driveways are typically made of concrete, asphalt or pavers. All of these surfaces can lose their appearance with stains from moss, mold, oil, fertilizers, debris and traffic. These contaminants can be difficult to remove.
With the proper equipment, knowledge and cleansers, a driveway can be restored to like new appearance. When the only alternative is to redo the driveway, a good cleaning may be all that is necessary to reclaim the beauty and curb appeal of a driveway.
Pavers aren't just for patios anymore. They are used on pool decks, sidewalks, driveways and for retaining walls and stairways. Because of their increased use and durability, pavers have become a Florida favorite. Pavers aren't, however, a lifetime maintenance free choice. In order to keep their appearance, pavers require regular cleaning, usually with steam.
Paver manufacturers also recommend sealing pavers to prevent color fading. There are two types of sealants: coatings and impregnators. Coatings are inexpensive and easier to apply, while impregnators are longer lasting and have the effect of enhancing the beauty of the paver. Sealing brick or concrete pavers will have the added benefit of retarding algae and mold growth. Keeping moisture from penetrating pavers is the main way to keep mold and mildew from growing.
Pavers can take on many forms including concrete pavers, clay brick pavers, poured concrete, decorative concrete and stamped concrete pavers. Good paver maintenance includes not only pressure or soft washing the pavers, but cleaning out the crevices and resanding. This procedure will help to eliminate sand washout, insect infestation and weed growth. While this is more of a restoration than just a general cleaning process, it is advised.
Natural Stone Pressure Cleaning
Natural stone surfaces are a beauty to behold, but can become dirty from grime, mold, algae and mildew. Power washing will remove years of built up grime that destroys the look of stone. Certain stones such as travertine also have natural holes which can easily fill with dirt and are difficult to clean by conventional methods.
A steam cleaning process is the best way to thoroughly clean stone killing mold and mildew immediately. Sealing travertine pavers will also enhance the color of the stone while it provides a shield from dirt and mold going forward. Especially in Florida, where pavers are used near salt water pools and the ocean, travertine and limestone pavers will deteriorate over time due salt exposure if not properly sealed.
Decks and Pool Cages
Pressure washing pool decks and cages is a common maintenance occurence in all parts of Florida. No matter what deck surface, a pool deck will accumulate dirt and debris that spoils the appearance of the decking material. A good washing will enhance the pool surroundings and help preserve the longevity of the surface.
Pool cages gather debris from the wind as well as from birds and other animals. Cleaning the green of pool screening means removing all the mold, mildew and algae that has infested the pool cage.
Soft wash, low pressure cleaning is the proper method to use for pool cage cleaning. The cage must be sprayed from all angles to remove contaminants and the right cleansers should be used to release the contaminants from the screening and frame.
Commercial Pressure Washing
The first impression people have of a business or commercial building is the exterior. A clean exterior is a reflection on the company and its products and/or services. Pressure washing is the answer to getting the exterior of a property in like new condition and keeping it there.
There are many types of commercial cleaning procedures which have been developed for each specific area to be cleaned. These include:
1.Cleaning storefronts - Both pressure washing and soft washing are used on storefronts to present a clean appearance to customers. Depending on the materials used to build the store, a professional pressure cleaning company will use pressure, heat or eco-friendly chemicals on sidewalks, eteriors, fences, dumpster areas and parking lots to remove gum, food, oil and grease, garbage and other biologicals from the surface.
2.Cleaning graffiti from commercial strutures, especially from common spray paint, is one of the most difficult types of graffiti to remove. High velocity pressure washing is one of the proven methods to get rid of the eyesores that are affecting the appearance of a commercial property.
3.Homeowners' and Property Owners' Associations as well as landlords have a vested interest in keeping their properties maintained to the highest standards. From parking lots, to signage, to exteriors to common areas such as pools, pressure washing or soft washing is used to maintain the appearance of multi-dwelling properties. Keeping property values high and attracting desireable residents is easier when the property is clean and well-maintained. Residents expect their association to enhance the quality of living and appearance of their neighborhoods.
4.Industrial properties can get dirty fast due to high levels of traffic and the materials and machinery that are used there. The exterior of an industrial building can be pressure washed or soft washed to remove mold, grime and mildew that has penetrated the exterior. Environmentally friendly cleansers are used in soft washing processes and are rinsed away leaving a clean, fresh looking appearance.
Driveways, sidewalks, concrete ramps and loading docks will also benefit from pressure washing the grime away. Getting rid of dirt, mold and mildew will provide a healthier working environment for employees and a more appealing appearance for customers.
5.Chewing gum removal is particularly troublesome for commercial properties. Not only is it ugly to look at, but it can become stuck to patrons' shoes. High velocity pressure washing is only one of the proven methods to remove chewing gum that has embedded itself on sidewalks, bleacher seats and walls.
6.Drive-thru windows at restaurants need to maintain as clean and sanitary appearance as the inside of the establishment. Pressure washing and soft washing the drive thru lanes, signage, curbs, walls and drive up window will ensure that customers come away with a good impression.
7.The areas around a business' dumpsters can be filthy and this filth translates into undesireable odors and unappealing views. Regular pressure washing of the surfaces around the dumpsters, including the fencing and driveway, will ensure that this necessary feature of a commercial property doesn't become more of an eyesore than it already is. Cleaning will also help keep away rodents and other pests.