Monday, May 3, 2010

Pressure Wash for Better Curb Appeal

A home on the market has to sparkle.  An easy – and even fun – way to bring a home’s exterior to life is to pressure wash it.  Siding, foundation, patio, walkways, driveways, stairs, decks, porch, they all benefit from this kind of fast and thorough cleaning.

When I’m pressure washing I feel like I am holding a magic wand in my hands.  The 2700 pounds of pressure a power washer puts behind a stream of water blasts away grime, stains, mildew, bubblegum, bird poop, you name it.  Gone. 

Today I spent the an hour and a half washing the vinyl siding on the two-bedroom investment property we own and rent to the world’s nicest couple.  It’s a powerful feeling to see dirt disappear with hardly any effort.  Just point and squeeze the handle of the washer’s gun.   

For the first pass I use a solution of half bleach, half water, to kill mildew.  Then I switch to straight water and a smaller tip that delivers much more pressure.   Mildew grows on dirt, so removing dirt is key to keeping mildew at bay.         

We bought our Graco washer because we use it often to prep house exteriors prior to painting them.  We also use it to clean any surfaces that are hard enough to withstand the pressure.

If you are staging a home to sell, and some of these areas need cleaning, pressure washing might be the way to go.  But please don’t think you have to spend hundreds of dollars.  Just rent one for the day.  The cost might be $50, possibly less for half a day.

Whatever renting a pressure washer costs, it’ll be well worth every penny.  It's preferable to buying a rinky-dink, low-pressure "homeowner" version that will waste your time and not do that great a job.  The machine we bought cost about $700, to give you an idea of what something that delivers results costs. 

Use a pressure washer if you want to make your home the one that sparkles the most when buyers take a tour of houses for sale.

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