THE DIRTY LITTLE SECRET
The term “Pressure” washing can be misleading. When cleaning siding and painted wood the rule of thumb is 90% Chemical and 10% Pressure. The chemical is key when “pressure” washing a home, and the “pressure” is a fraction of that when cleaning flat-work like sidewalks and driveways. If you have ever had someone pressure wash your home and they “blasted” away, they clearly did not have the knowledge or experience to do what they were doing.
Flat-work (driveways, sidewalks, patios) is just the opposite – 10% Chemical and 90% Pressure. There is however some caution with that rule. We have seen where individuals have tried to compensate for an underpowered machine by using a high-pressure tip that oscillates a pinpoint stream (called a zero degree or Turbo tip). Truthfully, any legitimate pressure washing company would never use one of these tips, but it is worth mentioning for your knowledge.
HOW PRESSURE WASHING AFFECTS YOUR WINDOWS
As window cleaners, we can always tell when a customer has recently had their house pressure washed. We can tell because there is a milky white residue on the glass from the bleach that was never rinsed thoroughly.
This is just wrong. Bleach, better known as Sodium Hypochlorite, is technically a liquid salt. Bleach is incredibly corrosive and in full strength can eat through wood, metal – even eat away at the surface of your concrete driveway if left alone (not to mention can etch your window glass).
Anyone who has ever done laundry KNOWS how hard it is to get bleach off your hands. Bleach is a nasty product, but — absolutely nothing will “KILL” the mold, mildew and green algae like plain old bleach.
Ask 10 different companies and you will get 10 different answers as to how best to clean your home. As a rule, it is our preference to pressure wash your home PRIOR to cleaning your windows – but for us, the bleach residue has NEVER presented a problem. We can even pressure wash your home AFTER the windows have been cleaned without issue. The reason is fairly simple and something we learned from an “old-timer” many years ago. His solution – just add soap.
Soap, ANY soap, by definition “wraps” itself around a dirt or oil molecule so you can rinse it away with water – period. Be it laundry detergent, shampoo, dish soap – it’s all the same concept. This is what soap does.
By adding simple dish soap to the cleaning solution the “bleach” can still do its job and penetrate to kill out the Bacteria (mold, mildew, algae). but when you come back for a final rinse the soap will “suds up” and virtually wash away any bleach residue.
DRIVEWAYS, SIDEWALKS, & PATIOS
First, actual quotes are free and you don’t need to be home. No surprise and no hard sell. The basic price for pressure washing a driveway is based on how may “car spaces” there are. That is where we start, but the price for your driveway will vary greatly depending on its shape. At first glance, you may think that it’s the size that matters, but that is only part of the equation. The price is actually based on time.
A straight 2 car wide driveway, for example, is actually far easier than a winding driveway. Imagine trying to paint a square versus a circle. The time spent going back and forth making a 3′ wide path within a square would be much quicker than cleaning a square within the circle, then having to clean the 4 odd-shaped remaining fragments.
The same holds true for sidewalks. It’s easy to look at a sidewalk and imagine that would equal a “Car space”. But sidewalks require trimming both edges, and that is far more time consuming for the small amount of square footage that you are actually covering.
In the end, the price for driveways, sidewalks, and patios (flatwork) breaks down to around $20-$25 per car space. The low end of that range would be a straight forward rectangular shape (very little trim work) and on the high end would be an irregular shape driveway where we spend as much time cleaning all of the odd, small cutouts as we would the bulk of the driveway. A typical sidewalk and front steps will range from $30-$50 and a standard, rectangular back patio about $75-$150.
When you consider the endless variations between any 2 homes (brick, vinyl siding, partial brick, stucco, Hardiplank) it makes it extremely difficult to provide a one size fits all pricing on homes. That said, it is still possible to provide a reasonably good estimate based on the square footage of your home.
We have a Minimum Charge to pressure wash any home of $150. Homes up to 2000 square feet typically run no more $150 – but maybe slightly more if the home has a basement.
Homes from 2500 square feet to 3500 square feet range from $195-$250. Again, the variance depends greatly on if you also have a basement.
Homes from 3500-5000 square feet will run from $275-$350.
To be fair homes over 5000 square feet are difficult to give a ballpark price. Again, an actual on-site inspection is free and we never require someone to be at home just for us to look and provide you an actual price.
SIDE NOTE: We encourage you to shop around, and you have every right to get what you pay for. But there is simply NO business out there who can pressure wash your home for $99 AND be insured.