Let’s be honest, if you are reading this article it’s because you are wondering if you should pay a pressure washing contractor a few hundred bucks every year or two to clean up your house or you should buy a $200 pressure washing machine at your local Lowe’s or Home Depot and do the work yourself. The simple answer to that is there is no simpler answer to that question and you should read our power washing safety guidelines regardless of your decision. It depends on your ability level of do-it-yourself projects. It depends on the projects you are trying to undertake. And, it depends on time constraints. So instead of giving you a definitive answer I will let you in on 5 things you should know before buying a store grade machine.
- Store-purchased machines are slower than a commercial machine a contractor would use. What the consumer industry machines focus on advertising is the psi or pressure per square inch when they should be focusing in on the gpm or gallons per minute. Sure you can find a machine from Home Depot or Lowe’s whose psi is equivalent to a machine a pressure washing contractor would use but if may output one or two gallons per minute as opposed to five to eight. In other words it is similar to sweeping your porch and deck with a tooth brush instead of a push broom.
- No liability insurance is provided with a store bought machine. So, if you damage your siding, vehicle, or wood fence you are out of luck. Any pressure washing contractor in Pennsylvania should have $1,000,000 in liability insurance and any pressure washing contractor is New Jersey should have $2,000,000 in liability insurance.
- Pressure washing machines can be dangerous. In addition to the feasibility of skin removal if you were to come in contact with the water coming out of a pressure washer, without proper safety procedures in place you can easily get hurt falling from a ladder or from debris flying.
- Pressure washing is not easy, especially if you do not have experience, and more especially if you have a large area you are trying to clean with a store-bought powerwashing machine. Unfortunately, it takes more than just water to easily clean most products. You may use bleach and water to clean one material, soap and water to clean another, and acid to clean another.
- You can easily damage the material you are cleaning if you do not know what you are doing. We do not want to scare you because it is pretty difficult to damage concrete patio or vinyl siding but it happens. Wood on the other hand is a soft material that can easily be harmed.
If you are thinking about taking on another project, take a look at our do-it-yourself pressure washing tips.