Summer is here – which means everyone is getting that last bit of spring cleaning done, and getting their patios and decks ready for some summer grill-outs. After years of rain and ice and snow wreaking havoc on your home’s exterior, you may be looking to spruce it up a bit with a power wash. The fastest way to wash away that grime may be to pressure wash, but there’s also the option to soft wash which is less harsh than a high-pressure wash. Let’s talk about the differences between pressure wash and soft wash to determine which is right for you.
Soft Wash vs. Pressure Wash
One of the main differentiating factors of soft wash and pressure wash is one using high pressure and one using a lower pressure. Pressure washing or power washing uses high-pressure water that runs at a very high PSI. Depending on the type and strength of pressure washer, the PSI can range from 1300 to 3100 PSI. Meanwhile, soft washing uses much less power than that — more like a strong powered hose.
Another difference is what comes out of the hose with soft washing vs pressure washing. While a pressure wash relies on the high-pressure water alone to clean properly, soft washing systems use a combination of soaps, bleach, and water to ensure your exterior stays clean for the long-term.
When Will I Know When I Need to Wash My House?
If you are wondering whether or not to power wash your house, take a good walk around your home – pointing out any spots that look dirty or dingy. We can tell you that on the northern side of your home, you’ll typically find much more dirt – including things like black mold or algae growth. You may see the discoloration on your siding, stone landscaping, asphalt, brick, etc. If you live further out into the country you’ll notice more dust and dirt coating your exterior surfaces.
As you walk around your home, take a good look at your roof. If you see dark gray or black streaks, that is a sign that you have algae growing which is the early stages of something much more sinister. That algae growth will eventually turn into lichen which attacks your roof shingle granules and lessens the lifespan of your roof. Lichen can take a 15-year roof and jump it straight to the end of its lifecycle.
Exterior surfaces that can be washed using pressure or soft washing include siding, gutters, decks, concrete sidewalks and driveways, fences, retaining walls, and more. Roofs can only be cleaned using soft washing, or low pressure. There’s no real timeline for how often you need to use these techniques to wash your exterior, and you can usually tell just by looking at it. But it is important to note that homeowners living in rural or wooded areas may need to soft wash more often.
Pros and Cons of Pressure Washing
Pressure washing is likely more commonly known for washing your home’s exterior, over soft washing. It has some benefits, but overall can be unnecessary for what your home needs.
Pros of pressure washing include being able to easily rent or buy the machine—having one of your own can make cleaning the driveway or you siding very easy and convenient. Some people very much appreciate the convenience factor of being able to use a pressure washer any time they need without having to schedule a crew to come.
There are quite a few more significant negatives to using a pressure washer on your exterior surfaces. One is that its high psi can be difficult for someone who is not equipped and can end up hurting themselves or others. The high pressure used on your siding can actually blow water up underneath your siding and overhangs and up into your soffit. Water in your soffit can cause water to get into your attic and soak your insulation.
Now, we’ve talked endless times about how moisture in the attic can lead to rot or mold growth, so this is something to avoid at all costs. Pressure washing your siding can also leave behind streaks on the siding of areas that are cleaner than others. Overall, pressure washing can be very dangerous and damaging, without being an effective tool to legitimately wash your siding and other exterior surfaces.
Pros and Cons of Soft Washing
Above all, soft washing is definitely going to be your best bet to wash your siding, roof, deck, or fence without damaging anything. Plus, you will get a much longer-lasting result thanks to the added anti-bacterial components. The only con may be that it absolutely requires a professional to come out and do the work. However, the effectiveness of the soft wash system outweighs anything else.
First off, soft wash systems use much lower water pressure yet are more effective because it’s using a mixture of high-quality soaps, bleach, and water. Whereas pressure washing uses just water, the soft washing system cleans your siding and actually kills any algae or bacteria growth on your house, rather than just blasting it off. Plus, this can all be done within the day, and last you much longer, while also causing zero damage to any of your home’s exteriors.
At First American Roofing, we love being able to offer soft washing as an alternative to power or pressure washing for our customers. Trust us when we say it’s definitely the right choice for you. The highlighted benefits include destroying bacteria without the use of high-pressure washing, it can be done within one day, and we offer a 5-year roof cleaning warranty.
Our safe and biodegradable disinfecting solution kills bacteria, fungus, mold, mildew, moss, and more. Pressure washing can actually deteriorate your exterior materials such as asphalt shingles and vinyl siding. To get yourself a long-lasting clean, choose First American’s soft washing services to give your home a new and improved look. Call us at 608-291-3129 for a FREE estimate on our soft washing services — you won’t regret it!