Paint removal with pressure washer

Chris StrombergerSeptember 1, 2006

The previous owner did a poor job of painting the exterior of our house--paint flaking off easily, probably not painted in decades, has some mildew. It's a 1959 ranch style brick house, with paint only on the wooden roof eaves, fascia and the board that runs above the windows/bricks. Wondering about using a pressure washer to wash off as much old paint as possible before hand scraping & sanding. I have never used a pressure washer, so looking for tips and advice. I hear they can be dangerous (to persons and to materials) if not properly used. My wife is high on buying one to use around the house, for this job, and for cleaning our wooden deck, washing the house bricks off, cleaning the driveway/concrete around the house, etc.

So, is pressure washing the old paint a good idea? What's a decent PSI/GPM to aim for in a pressure washer that will accomodate removal of already-flaking paint, deck cleaning, brick cleaning, etc? Gas or electric?

Here's a link to a picture of the house. I don't have a good one showing the flaking paint.

House Pix



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If you are going to purchase a pressure washer, get one that has multiple tips that are geared for the task at hand. The various tips regulate the pressure/intensity for a particular project. In another words, for cleaning a concrete driveway you would be using a high pressure compared to washing wood siding, where you would use a lesser pressure regulated by the tip. My washer has only one setting and lent it out to a buddy. Idiot that i am, i forgot to mention being careful not to get too close to the siding that he was spraying. It literally blasted through the siding, leaving a hole.You have to be real careful when power washing certain materials. Also look for one that has a filler that you can add cleaners that work with the unit. I generally run simple green for cleaning things like my dirt bike, bar-b-que,decks,etc.Take your time and do your homework if you purchase one. I wish i would have gotten one with multiple tips and will if this one goes south.As for electric or gas, no advise, ours is gas powered.SAfety concerns are basically common sense. You dont want to get your hand or any other body part caught up in the spray at close range.You want to make sure all connections are tight by double checking, and dont use the wrong tip for the wrong purpose.REad up on the owners manual concerning safe practices. Definetely not a big squirt gun, but is something that both you and your wife can use, just be safe!Over head spraying, your going to get wet, wear eye protection even though it's a hassle because the lenses will get wet. The only time i used mine for getting rid of loose paint chips. went pretty well and saved a lot of scraping. Made a pretty good mess on the ground,though. Waited till everything was dry and raked it right up.Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 2:30PM
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Brushworks Spectacular Finishes

500 psi max on wood and be sure the wand is moving with the grain. Be sure to allow at least 7 days dry time before primer and paint.


    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 8:55PM
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Shallow angle to surface helps also.
If you put the stream perpendicular to the surface you can cause a lot of damage very quickly.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2006 at 1:14PM
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