New York homeowners in Long Island and Suffolk County and Nassau County often seek power washing services to clean the exteriors of their homes and the surfaces of other outdoor home features like walkways, patios, garden benches, gazebos, bars, or complete kitchens. There is no cleaning product better than a power washer for dislodging dirt and other debris quickly from surfaces.
Yet, when you seek information online about cleaning with pressure washing, you can find a lot of confusing and conflicting statements about the cleaning terms power washing, soft washing, and pressure washing. Whether you recently searched for "pressure cleaning near me" or "Long Island pressure washing options" online, this guide is for you. It covers the primary differences between the terms and methods so that you can make an informed decision about the services you need for your home exterior cleaning project.
Long Island Power Washing 101
Any difficulty you might have experienced when looking for Long Island pressure washing services likely resulted from the fact that some terms are often used interchangeably and have more than one definition. Consider the following:
- Power Washing: This is a cleaning method that removes soil, algae, lichen, mold, mildew, and other forms of dirt from outdoor surfaces via equipment that expels pressurized water in a steady stream. It dislodges unwanted materials from surfaces in a way that's faster and more powerful than other common cleaning methods such as electric scrubbing brushes and garden hoses. This term can also refer to a type of pressure washer equipment treatment that uses extremely hot instead of cold water. With this definition, the term refers to a cleaning method that completely sanitizes surfaces without extra cleaning products.
- Soft Washing: Soft washing is a sub-method of the above that uses more force than the water you spray out of a garden hose, but not as much force as a high-powered pressure washer. The settings are measured in psi or pounds per square inch. Common pressure settings are between 60 and 500 psi. This method often involves the use of gentle cleaning products to help sanitize surfaces and prevent microbial and plant regrowth.
- Pressure Washing: People often use this phrase interchangeably with the first one to refer in general to cleaning outdoor surfaces with pressurized water. You might hear someone say that this term only describes the use of residential equipment and cold water and that the other term describes commercial or industrial equipment and hot water. Whether or not cleaning products are necessary is also apparently debated often online. Common pressure settings are between 500 and 1,300 psi, but they can go much higher.
As you can see, it's a complex topic. For the purposes of this question, you don't need to suffer through confusion any longer. You can define soft and pressure washing for your needs as pressurized water cleaning methods used at a residential level with or without cleaning products. The equipment has a spray gun nozzle with different types of tips that give the user-adjustable pressurized water settings to switch between cleaning methods. As a result, a wide head tip helps to soft wash a surface by dispersing the pressurized spray outward rather than focusing it as a steady stream on one spot.
The Benefits of Each Method
Soft washing is obviously the best method to use on delicate and soft surfaces, such as stucco, roof tiles, plastic or wood fences, screens, windows, and vinyl siding. It's great for protecting painted and stained wooden surfaces, including panels and furniture. You can even use this method to rinse off outdoor plants that are rooted in pots or the ground. It also works better than any method for applying cleaning and antimicrobial products to surfaces.
A pressure washer at a higher setting is ideal for the removal of thick grime and other forms of greasy or hard buildup. It is better for use on hard surfaces that can handle pressure, such as brick, asphalt, and concrete. With certain adjustments, you can use high-pressure settings to replace a sander to save time when you need to remove old paint or rust from surfaces. The force of water that comes out of this equipment can even help you dislodge debris buildup in the tiny pores of hard, porous surfaces.
Serious and Potentially Deadly Drawbacks
These cleaning methods are not perfect. Soft pressure settings don't always clean deeply enough or exert enough force to remove every stain. Of course, they have fewer drawbacks associated with them than the hard-pressure ones. High-pressure settings can cause unsightly surface damaged if you use the equipment improperly. For example, you might etch grooves into soft stone surfaces. The equipment sprays at such a high force that it can also accidentally push water under siding and through exterior walls, which can result in difficult-to-repair wood damage and eventual rot and insulation problems. Even worse, you can seriously injure yourself if you have the pressure set too high and accidentally point the nozzle in your direction. Many home do-it-yourselfers who didn't understand the dangers of using a pressure washer lost control of the gun, tripped over a cord or outdoor item or cut the power off while the equipment was still spraying water and the water sliced through their flesh, blood vessels and bone in a heartbeat.
Why Is Outdoor Cleaning So Important?
A lot of people clean their home exteriors using these tools to improve their landscapes between seasons. It makes sense for those people who want quick, efficient and cost-effective methods for cleaning the exteriors of their homes. Some people also just realize out of the blue that their homes look dirty on the outside from the effects of debris buildup from winds, storms, traffic and other factors. They notice and simply say to themselves that it's time. Home sellers and realtors turn to these cleaning methods to prepare homes for sale. New home buyers, insurers and financial institutions and lenders prefer to see a well-maintained property when assessing risk and value.
That said, pressurized water as a cleaning tool does so much more than quickly make cosmetic changes so that your home once again has curb appeal. When contaminants from air and water sources pile up outside, microorganisms and plants start to grow and flourish on surfaces and in cracks and crevices. Your health and the health of anyone else who lives in or visits your home is then put at risk. You may have heard of several terms used to describe sickness caused by building exposures. One of these terms, sick building syndrome, describes a condition in which a person becomes ill, often with at least chronic allergies, asthma and fatigue, after exposure to chemicals in manmade construction materials used in their home. Yet, the term is not only defined by manmade hazards. Poor building maintenance can make people sick by exposing them to bacteria and mold spores. Your immune system then becomes overwhelmed with these exposures. Some people unknowingly have pre-existing conditions that these living conditions worsen.
Invest in Professional Assistance
As already pointed out, anyone who does not have safety training and lengthy experience with residential or commercial equipment that pressurizes water for cleaning purposes can accidentally cause expensive damage to a home or serious self-harm. Additionally, you will pay more in money and time to rent or buy the equipment, cleaners, nozzle tips and other supplies and then actually perform the cleaning jobs than if you hired a professional. An exterior cleaning job of this magnitude can take more than a week to complete when you do not have the right tools and experience. If other family members, friends, co-workers or neighbors visit your home while you are cleaning, you risk harming someone else accidentally.
When you hire a professional technician to clean your home's exterior surfaces, they already have the equipment and experience needed to use it properly and safely. They also perform a total inspection of all areas beforehand and then come up with a logical plan that works best based on your cleaning, landscaping and scheduling needs. With most homes, they pressure wash the hard surfaces first, follow with soft ones and then rinse everything and clean up after themselves to finish the job. By starting with high pressure, they remove the worst buildup and grime that requires harsher cleaning methods before finishing with easier-to-remove debris and finishing.
Pressure Cleaning Near Me
Above All Pressure Cleaning is proud to offer expert Long Island power washing services for their New York neighbors in Long Island and the entirety of Suffolk County and Nassau County. You want your home to look its absolute best for as long as possible. Each member of Above All Pressure Cleaning's experienced team of technicians has the cleaning with pressure washing knowledge and skills needed to provide you with the soft or hard surface services you need to improve your home's appearance at an affordable price. Call today for more details about this topic or to schedule an inspection of your property and cleaning services.