What Different Types of Home Exteriors Can I Pressure Wash?


by Kyle Ray

Similar to the interior of your home, the exterior also requires upkeep and cleaning. Dirt, debris, and other contaminants can build up on your home’s exterior. When you hire professionals for pressure washing in Austin, you can make your Texas home look new again without risking damage to your home’s exterior.

What Types of Home Exteriors Can I Pressure Wash?

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Pressure washing is a deep cleaning that involves hot water under high pressure. The exterior pressure wash process blasts dirt and debris from your home’s siding or brickwork. Pressure washing can clean many types of exterior materials. When considering an exterior pressure wash for your home, take into account how different materials will react to pressure washing

Vinyl Siding

Many homes today feature vinyl siding. Vinyl is popular because it’s affordable, easy to clean, and durable enough to withstand inclement weather. However, vinyl can collect dust, spiderwebs, and other debris. Since vinyl consists of many types of materials and processes, it can be helpful to review the manufacturer’s information to determine how much pressure or which cleaners to use during your exterior pressure wash efforts.

In most cases, you should use cold water and medium pressure when exterior pressure washing vinyl. Applications of this technique may vary, though, depending on the type of vinyl on the exterior of your home. It’s also a good idea to repair any damages to the vinyl before an exterior pressure wash. The blast of water from pressure washing can further damage or remove vinyl pieces.

Brick Exteriors

Brick was once one of the most popular materials used when building houses. Today, you can still find whole neighborhoods made with brick materials. Brick is highly durable, long-lasting, and gives a home an antique or classic design. While brick doesn’t collect certain types of common exterior debris, like dust, it is prone to dirt and moisture. Brick can fade over time, but you can usually restore the shine through an exterior pressure wash.

Although brick is one of the most durable materials, the bricks are more at risk of chipping or cracking if you use too much pressure and minimal damage has already occurred. For this reason, it’s best to use either a very low setting on the pressure washer or clean the brick by hand. If your brick materials are newer or still in good condition, they can likely handle more pressure from a pressure washer. Stone is similar to brick, and you should take care should when you’re performing exterior pressure washing.

Stucco Walls

Stucco is less common in households today, but certain areas of the country and neighborhoods within Texas still have it. It’s essential to be careful when pressure washing stucco because it can be harder to replace. Before scheduling an exterior pressure wash, go through and repair any chips or cracks to the stucco. If you plan on pressure washing your stucco, use low to medium pressure and avoid putting the pressure washer too close to the stucco.

Depending on how much dirt or debris is on the stucco, you may need to supplement cleaning with hand scrubbing. Use a large sponge and hot water to loosen the debris. Use an exterior pressure wash tool to remove it.


It’s best not to use any exterior pressure washing on paint. The pressure from a pressure washer can chip or strip paint away. Pressure washing is commonly used to remove paint from an exterior before repainting. Instead of an exterior pressure wash, it’s best to use a large sponge and hot water to remove dirt from the paint.

Wood Exteriors

Wood is often used on the exterior of homes because it’s durable and long-lasting. While wood doesn’t collect debris as fast as other exterior materials, it can accumulate dirt and dust. You may find removing debris from wood challenging, which often leaves it looking dull and worn out. Algae and mildew can also grow on wood, depending on where you live. This growth makes your home’s exterior look duller and affects the wood’s condition, causing it to become even less durable.

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Use a soft wash when pressure washing wood materials. A soft wash refers to a process of pressure washing that uses a low-pressure attachment. This technique uses less pressure, meaning it’s not as rough on the wood materials. If much time has passed since the last cleaning, you can add some wood cleaner to the solution to remove harder stains. It’s also good to repair any cracked or damaged panels before applying an exterior pressure wash on wood.

Cement Exteriors

Fiber cement is a type of siding often used because of its affordable price. Cement is a low-maintenance material and tends to last a long time. Similar to other exterior materials, cement isn’t exempt from dirt, dust, or other debris from the weather elements. High-pressure washing may be too much for cement, damaging the fiber. A soft setting on the pressure washer can be the perfect setting, removing dirt without damage.

Exterior Pressure Washing Techniques for Different Materials

Pressure washing is an effective way to clean up the exterior of your home. However, before beginning, you must know what type of materials you have and the best cleaning process for them.

Using the wrong materials or pressure can damage your property. Adding a little detergent with your solution can help loosen up extra dirt or debris, which you can then wash away with the exterior pressure wash. Using detergent or other cleaners can also loosen up the debris so that you don’t have to use as high of a setting. 

Pressure washer attachments can also help with the task of pressure washing. An extension wand can help you reach higher areas. A brush attachment can help you remove dirt and debris, making it easier to remove without using a higher setting. The process of pressure washing vinyl siding versus pressure washing brick is different, and it’s essential to know the differences to protect your home.

The cleaner that you use also depends on the type of debris. Dirt and dust can be removed with hot water, whereas contaminants like algae or mold may require a more robust cleaner to remove the growth effectively. 

How to Prep Your Home for an Exterior Pressure Washing Session

Pressure washing is safe as long as you use the correct pressure level and prep the exterior of your home ahead of time. Continually evaluate the exterior of your home for any damage before exterior pressure washing. If you discover any loose pieces of vinyl or chipped or cracked bricks, be sure to repair them before pressure washing.

Make sure you have all the necessary tools and cleaners you need before beginning. Never use a ladder when pressure washing. The pressure paired with the instability of a ladder can be a dangerous combination. Instead, make sure you have a sound, steady footing before beginning exterior pressure washing.

Why Use a Professional if you need to Pressure Wash your Home’s Exterior?

Some homeowners may choose to take on the task of pressure washing themselves. Others may decide that the risk of damaging the exterior isn’t worth the trouble and instead hire a professional. Explore the following reasons to use a professional for your exterior pressure wash efforts:

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  • Professionals have all the necessary tools: A pressure washer may not be the only tool you need to clean the exterior of your home. A professional has access to all the extra tools, like brushes or wands.
  • Professionals receive safety training: Professionals are also aware of the safety risks of pressure washing. These risks may include identifying and avoiding power lines or reaching higher parts of your exterior without a ladder.
  • Professionals are experts in siding: Professional pressure washers also are familiar with the different types of siding. This familiarity can help them identify any special considerations or precautions you need to protect your home.
  • Professionals can easily identify lead paint: If your home was built before 1978, the exterior might contain lead paint. If you set the pressure washer too high, the force of the water can lead to the paint chipping and peeling.
  • Professionals can accurately identify asbestos: Asbestos is also possible in older homes. A professional can help you identify, and avoid, these dangerous materials.
  • Professionals can help you avoid water damage: Pressure washing your home can also put you at risk of water damage. Water entering the home through vents or doors can damage your walls or carpets.

You may be tempted to clean the exterior of your home yourself, especially given how easy it is to rent a pressure washer. However, you risk making mistakes, including using the wrong detergent or the wrong pressure setting, which can damage the wood structure of your home.

A home’s exterior can get dirty. Pressure washing is an effective way to clean the exterior of your home. Knowing the difference in materials and the best pressure washing method can help you maintain your home without leading to expensive damages.

What Different Types of Home Exteriors Can I Pressure Wash? | Geek Window Cleaning