Before you paint your vinyl siding, you have to clean it first. Paint doesn't cover dirt and mildew very well, and if your siding is dirty, the paint may not stick at all. To get the best results when you paint vinyl, be sure the siding manufacturer supports painting and use a paint brand they recommend that is made to stick to vinyl. Then you have to start with a surface that is as clean as possible. Power washing is the ideal way to do that. You may be able to wash your home yourself and save money over having the painters wash the house before they paint. Here are some tips for pressure washing your vinyl siding.
Rent A Quality Machine
You may have a power washer at home already that you use to wash your car or boat. If it's a small electric model, it might not be strong enough to properly clean a house. A more powerful gas-powered pressure washer is ideal. If you don't have one, you can rent a commercial quality power washer from a home improvement store. This ensures you get the best results possible.
Start With Plain Water
Water may be all you need to clean your siding if it is just dirty or covered with light mildew. Try a test patch to see if water alone will get the siding clean. If so, you can avoid bleach or detergent runoff that may harm your plants. Plus, some detergents can leave a filmy residue if you don't rinse the siding thoroughly. However, if the vinyl is stained, it may not get clean with water alone. If that's the case, you can buy a cleaner at a home improvement store to use with the power washer.
Choose one specifically made for use on vinyl siding so the vinyl isn't discolored or damaged by the chemicals. You can apply the cleaner to the washer or put it in a bucket and scrub the stained area with the cleaning solution and a brush. Be sure to rinse the soap off before it dries so it doesn't streak or leave a film. To accomplish this, it's best to work on small sections of siding at a time.
Keep The Wand Under Control
Spray the water straight against the siding rather than at an angle. Spraying at an angle might drive the water under your roof or behind the siding. Practice on lower portions until you gain control of the wand. Be careful about the spray going wild, because it could hit electrical connections or power lines. Using a power washer on a ladder also takes extra caution because the force of using the washer might cause you to lose your balance. In addition, you want to avoid spraying windows because you could break the glass.
Using a power washer to clean your house isn't difficult, but it is tedious work. You should compare the cost of renting a machine and buying detergents with the expense of letting your painter power wash your house. Since the painter is working on your house anyway, you may get a break on the cost of power washing. Letting a pro do the job saves you from a lot of work and spares you from lugging a machine to and from the rental store.