The Home Spot

Damage from power washing | Avoid mistakes

Power washers have a well-deserved reputation for being efficient cleaners. Power washing your driveway and pathways is one of the most rewarding, but time-consuming, outdoor projects you can undertake. While you may be aware that a power washer can virtually magically remove built-up filth and stains from virtually any surface. Water pressure at the level at which even light-duty power washers may work can cause obvious damage. As a result, if you’re not careful, you could permanently harm your driveway by power washing. When utilizing power washers, you must exercise caution because the high-pressure water stream can be physically hazardous.

Causes of damage from power washing:

The most common causes of power washing damage are:

  • The improper nozzle
  • High pressure
  • Spraying too close to a concrete surface
  • Holding the nozzle on a specific location for too long


What Kinds of Things Can Power Washing Harm?

If you’re considering utilizing a power washer to clean the exterior of your home, you might be concerned that the technique would harm certain materials. Let’s take a look at each one individually.


Bricks that have been power washed also offer a considerable risk. The high-pressure hot water might destroy the mortar between bricks if you’re not careful. The material that holds the bricks together is called mortar. Damage to the mortar can compromise the bricks structural stability. So, power washings of bricks are very harmful.

The surface that has been painted:

Power washing also removes paint from a variety of surfaces. It’s best not to power wash painted surfaces. You should also avoid power washing surfaces that have been painted with lead paint.


If you have vinyl siding on your home, be cautious when power cleaning it. If the water pressure is too high, the panels may become loose or damaged. Before you start power cleaning your vinyl siding, have a look at it. Replace the siding first if it is already loose or damaged before beginning the washing process.


When compared to slabs that are less than a year old, older concrete slabs are usually more resistant to damage caused by power washing. If you’re unsure whether or not you should power wash your concrete driveway, seek advice from an expert. You can also clean concrete without using a power washer. If you want to clean a concrete patio without using a pressure washer, all you need is an ordinary garden hose sprayer and some cleaning solution.

Meters and electrical panels:

Any fixtures containing electricity, including those on the exterior of your home or in your yard, should not be pressure washed. Pressure washing, while designed to endure a deluge, can force water into cracks and crevices, causing damage and costly repairs.

Shingles made of asphalt:

If you have asphalt shingles on your roof, you should never pressure wash it. The granules that protect your roof are stripped away by the water pressure. Not to mention that utilizing a power washer from a high vantage point is dangerous the intense recoil on the spray wand when you squeeze the trigger can knock you off your feet and knock you down a ladder.

Air Conditioning Units:

Don’t use a power washer to clean your air conditioning unit. The powerful water flow can bend or crush the fragile fins, restricting airflow and shortening the unit’s life. Instead, use a butter knife to straighten cooling fins and a vacuum, and a much gentler water flow to rinse away debris.

Things that are alive:

Humans, pets, and plants should never be subjected to high-pressure washing. The force of water from a power washer can cause bodily harm, including skin penetration, and will almost surely kill your plants. Always wear safety glasses when pressure washing appropriate surfaces to protect your eyes from particles.


Don’t use high-pressure water to clean your windows. The excessive pressure can cause them to break, resulting in a significant headache and a costly window replacement. Instead, use these tried-and-true window washing recommendations from pros to clean your windows properly. So, never power wash windows.


Cleaning your vehicle with a high-power washer can result in minor dents and even paint chipping, leaving it exposed to rust. If you must use a pressure washer to clean your automobile, make sure it is set to low pressure.


Despite the temptation, you should never use a power washer to clean the inside of your gutters. It’s preferable to remove debris by hand and then use a garden hose to clean the inside. Rainstorms are no match for gutters, but pressure washers are. Instead of using a power washer, use this gutter cleaning equipment.

Use of Power washing:

You must understand the use of pressure, distance, and technique to power wash properly.

Using the Appropriate Pressure:

Power washing and power washing are two phrases that are frequently interchanged since they both rely on the force of water to accomplish their objectives. Pressure, on the other hand, isn’t necessarily a good thing. The greater the pressure, the greater the risk of harm.

Safe Distance Washing Power:

The distance between a power washing wand and the surface being cleaned is just as crucial as the pressure applied. The distance between you and the surface you’re washing should be determined by the surface you’re washing. Vinyl siding is not the same as stucco. Concrete patios are not the same as brick patios. This is something you must consider.

Techniques for Power Washing:

While power washing isn’t particularly difficult, it does necessitate some practice and knowledge. Let’s take the case of the siding as an illustration. Each section of vinyl siding has a gap between them. Water has a strong possibility of flowing behind the siding if your power washes against the grain and where the gaps are open.

Avoid mistakes while power washing:

Use only water:

A detergent or chemical cleanser is required for almost all power-washing applications. Begin by spraying the area with a suitable, ecologically friendly detergent that can break up dirt and eliminate mold. Apply the product as directed, allowing it to sit, if necessary, before power-washing it away.

Not protecting Landscaping:

Use a garden hose to fully damp down neighboring plantings before you begin power-washing. This will prevent the cleaner from drying on the foliage and leaving burn marks. If your project takes longer than expected, you may need to water the plants again. However, depending on the chemicals you’re applying, you might want to cover the plants with a tarp instead.

Mold-Prone surface:

Surfaces such as drywall or textiles may not be able to completely dry before mold develops, therefore they should not be power-washed.

Wrong Sequence:

Start with the roof if you’re washing the entire house, though power-washing may be a terrible idea depending on the roofing type. After you’ve finished cleaning the roof, move on to the outside, next to the porch or patio, and finally the windows. If you clean the roof first, the drainage from cleaning the exterior or porch will make them filthy again.

Hot Water:

Power-washing services for businesses in industrial applications, contractors use hot water because it cleans faster. Residential exteriors are not as durable as business exteriors, and power-washing with hot water can deform vinyl siding or damage other materials like cedar shakes or shingles.


Power washers are an excellent tool for removing layers of grime from exterior places. The high-pressure water stream produces excellent results with little scrubbing, making it ideal for any project. Pressure washing can change your driveway or garage into a cleaner, more appealing version of itself in a matter of minutes. But before you connect the hose and turn on the machine, be sure you’re ready to complete the task correctly and safely. Power washing done incorrectly might get you into a lot of trouble

Trisha Mae Raymundo
Trisha Mae Raymundo

Senior Writer and Editor of The Home Spot.