Pressure Washing

High pressure water is an effective cleaning agent for many surfaces, particularly masonry such as bricks, driveways, sidewalks, and patios. High pressure water literally blasts away dirt, mildew and other contaminants.

However, painted surfaces should generally not be cleaned with high pressure water. Not only can such a method cause damage to the paint and the underlying substrate, it is ineffective in removing dirt and mildew on such surfaces.

A wide variety of pressure washers are available. Their output can range from 1,000 PSI to 5,000 PSI. Machines with outputs above 5,000 PSI are generally considered water blasters, and are usually used for industrial applications.

For most residential applications, an output of 1,500 PSI to 2,500 PSI is sufficient.

The output of the pressure washer is controlled and directed with a gun and wand assembly similar to that found at a self-service car wash. A tip at the end of the wand shapes the output into a fan, the width of which can be changed by inserting a different tip.

Though masonry surfaces are less susceptible to damage from high pressure water, care must be exercised. Pressurized water is abrasive, and prolonged exposure can loosen pea gravel and mortar.

In many situations, pressure washing may not sufficiently clean a surface. Bricks, for example, are highly porous and mildew and algae can grow in these pores. In such situations, a diluted bleach solution may be required to remove the residual fungal growth.

Exterior Siding

While the primary purpose of siding is to protect your home from the elements, siding can also have a dramatic impact on the visual charateristics of the home. In addition, the type of siding you choose can have a significant impact on maintenance requirements.

In repair situations, it is generally necessary to match the existing siding for esthetic purposes. However, there are situations in which it is possible to replace some areas of siding, such as gables, without detracting from the appearance of the home.

Until the middle of the twentieth century, wood was the primary material used for siding. After World War II aluminum and vinyl were introduced as low maintenance alternatives. Though both are still used today, vinyl siding has become more popular, particularly in the Northeast.

More recently, fiber-cement sidings have been introduced and are quickly becoming the product of choice. These sidings are rot resistant, dimensionally stable, and impervious to insect damage. Their stability helps them hold paint better. Fiber-cement sidings look much like wood, and with the introduction of dimensional boards (such as 1”x4” and 1”x6”) fiber cement can also be used for many trim applications.

All types of siding can be painted. However, vinyl and aluminum sidings should always be painted with a color the same as, or lighter than, the original color. Darker colors will absorb heat, and can cause the siding to buckle and deform.

Color Psychology

Yellow– The most visible color. Good for narrow hallways.

Orange—Viewed as cheerful and friendly. Good for family rooms.

Red—Encourages action and aggressiveness. Good for dining rooms

Violet—Regarded as a power color. Preferred by children more than adults.

Blue—Lighter blues are calming. Good for bedrooms.

Green—Considered relaxing. Good for bedrooms.

Gray—Encourages creativity. Use depends on warmth of color.

Black—Viewed as dignified and sophisticated. Enhances most other colors.