Pressure washing offers a great way to quickly blast dirt and grime from exterior surfaces, such as your house, driveways and decks. This process can quickly and efficiently freshen up a surface.
Pressure washing basically uses a water pump and electric or gasoline motor to power a high-pressure hose and sprayer to generate an extremely powerful spray. In some cases, detergents or other chemicals are used to enhance the effect.
Sometimes the term is used interchangeably with “power washing,” but they’re not quite the same thing. They use very similar equipment, but tools that power wash a home heat the water to loosen up dirt or grease.
However, you should take great care with both. Pressure washing and power washing are potent tools that are best used by the hands of professionals.
The cost to pressure wash or power wash a home varies based on size. For a smaller home, you’ll pay around $100 for this job. Larger homes could go as high as $380.
You can use pressure washing on other exterior surfaces such as decks or driveways. You’ll pay between $80 and $200 to pressure wash a driveway.
Pressure washing a deck or patio will cost between $250 and $500. Professionals report that you’ll pay about $2 per square foot on a deck.
Tips for hiring a power-washing service
When you hire for this work, make sure they’re up to date on EPA regulations regarding runoff water and environmentally safe chemicals. The EPA can hold a property owner responsible if cleaning chemicals are allowed to discharge into the drainage system.
- Ask if they have experience with your type of house. Some power washers add chemicals to the spray to clean more effectively. You want to be sure they know which chemicals to use and in what quantity for your specific job. Some companies use biodegradable solutions that won’t damage plants or soil and don’t leave behind a residue. The specialized chemical knowledge is one big reason it’s wise to hire a pro rather than do it yourself.
Verify that they carry their own insurance to cover any damage to your home that may occur.
- Most professionals suggest you avoid power washing siding. Siding is particularly vulnerable to damage, and the vents in most siding can allow water to get caught in between the siding and the home, causing wood rot.
This is a case where it’s best to rely on a professional who has the expertise to use the right pressure settings and can identify if your siding is easily damaged.
- Ask for an itemized bill. This should include the costs of materials, soap and equipment and a breakdown of labor based on time to complete the job and size of the area cleaned. If the company will use water from your home rather than bring their own, make sure you’re not being charged for it.
If your house’s exterior contains lead paint, the work needs to be done by an EPA-certified specialist who can safely wash the exterior without contaminating the nearby area.
Garage door installation not a DIY job
The average garage door replacement costs between $600 and $2,500. Here are tips from industry experts for a successful garage door installation.
Garage door installation
Consider curb appeal
Garage doors are one of the most visible and largest features of your house. They have one of the highest returns on investment of any home improvement.
Plus, they’re a long-term investment that will define your home for many years.
So, consider your choices carefully when installing.
This isn’t the kind of job where you can Google “how to install a garage door” and figure it out in an afternoon.
Garage door installation and repair involves a lot of moving parts, specialized tools, and carefully calibrated spring tension. You can very easily cause expensive damage to your door, or even seriously injure yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Leave this one to the professionals.
Pay attention to regular maintenance
Homeowners should have their garage door maintained at least once every 18 to 24 months, if not once a year, experts say. You can avoid a lot of problems with basic maintenance.
Garage doors and openers involve chains, lifting weight and many moving parts. All these elements should be lubricated to add years of life to your garage door.
Check the photo eyes if you have trouble
One exception to the DIY rule: Checking alignment on photoelectric eyes.
Most garage doors feature photo eyes as a safety feature. These eyes deactivate the garage door if they sense an object coming through. They can easily get out of alignment and prevent the door from closing.
Pros suggest checking on that first if the door’s not closing, but to call a professional for any other problems.
Make sure to have electrical outlet in ceiling for the opener
You may need to hire a licensed electrician to run a line in this case.
Don’t just connect it to an extension cord: That can be a fire hazard and is against building code in many locales.
Don’t forget your local rules
Whether it’s local covenants or municipal laws that call for permits for a garage door, make sure your contractor works under those regulations to avoid unpleasant surprises later.
You don’t want to install an expensive door only to find out that your town or homeowner’s association covenants don’t allow it.
Give your installer room to work
Installing a garage door takes a considerable amount of space, which pros say they don’t always get. Some report that they show up at garages so packed, they can’t even get the door open.
Installers should be able to get at least 10 feet into the garage.