How Do You Clean a Building Facade Using Pressure Wash?

Oct 31, 2022

A building can be made of different materials. But whether it’s made of brick, stone, marble, or even glass, the building exterior is sure to accumulate dirt and other sorts of buildup from the harsh elements. Not only will this make your building look dingy, it will also take a toll on the building’s structural integrity.

That’s why regular maintenance and cleaning for building facades are important. And what better way to scour building surfaces clean than with pressure washing?

Pressure washing is a cleaning method that uses highly pressurized water to clean surfaces. For commercial pressure washing, the water pressure can go over 4000 psi and 10 gpm (gallons per minute). This much pressure is incredibly effective in getting rid of the most stubborn stains and buildup, but it can also easily destroy property, as well as cause severe injury. 

If you’re thinking of cleaning facade using high pressure, check out the steps below to learn how to do it properly!

1. Learn how to use the pressure washer

There are various types of pressure washing machines out there, and the way one is operated may greatly differ with another depending on the model and manufacturer. 

You should always read the manual before operating the machine. Though it may be tempting to use the highest pressure available in the settings of your equipment, doing so may damage the paint job or even the masonry of your building.

Reading the manual helps you adjust the pressure of the washer, and it also instructs you on which nozzle to use for your purpose. This is incredibly important for you to get the best cleanse without causing any damage to the building.

2. Prepare the building facade for pressure washing

Never just apply pressurized water to a surface without prior preparation. Before pressure washing a building facade, thoroughly inspect it for cracks and holes. These minor damages have to be remeied with a waterproof caulk and allowed to dry prior to pressure washing. Otherwise, you risk damaging the building facade through these vulnerable points.

3. Spot test your water pressure

Before pressure washing the entire building facade, always conduct a spot test first. Find a small spot in a less conspicuous part of the building facade and test the water pressure and nozzle you selected. 

This is important to make sure you don’t use too much pressure or have the wrong distance when scouring the entire area. Sometimes, it is possible to mistake the building masonry for something else; spot testing allows you to prevent any accidents due to miscalculations.

4. Adjust the pressure to your cleaning objective

Know the type of cleaning job needed before you conduct pressure washing. If you’re only removing surface dirt, 2000 psi or less may suffice. But if you’re scouring the facade of a building to paint, then you will need to ramp the pressure up. 

Remember to be conservative and avoid maximum pressure immediately. Gradually increase the pressure to suit your purpose to avoid damages due to sudden impact from the high pressure.

5. Divide the building facade into sections

When pressure washing a building facade, you want the most even result. This is why you must assign sections to the wall and clean them one at a time to avoid streaking. Use w8. indows, corners, and other fixtures as a guide when dividing the sections. 

Some areas of the building facade may be higher or be made of a different material. Sectioning the area allows you to adjust the pressure and nozzle as you move from one section to the next.

6. Pressure wash with long strokes and in a top-down direction 

To avoid streaks, always pressure wash using long strokes and start from the top and move to the bottom. This way you don’t clean the bottom twice, and you avoid streaking. 

7. Angle the pressure washer to 45 degrees

You apply the strongest water pressure when you hold the nozzle at 90 degrees to the surface. However, you want to avoid applying too much pressure to a building to avoid damaging the paint job or causing cracks. Start off at 45 degrees and slowly angle to 90 degrees if there is need for more pressure.

8. Inspect the walls after drying

Pressure washing can sometimes remove waterproofing in building facades. Waterproofing is important to maintain the structural integrity of any building. That’s why you must thoroughly inspect the building facade for water stains 24 to 48 hours after pressure washing. Apply adequate waterproofing to those areas to avoid problems in the future.

Hire Commercial Pressure Washing Services

Pressure washing is one of the most effective ways to clean a building facade. However, it does require specialized equipment and does take some getting used to. That’s why people often leave the pressure washing to professionals. Not only can professionals do the job properly and avoid damaging your building, they also work more efficiently and can give you the results more quickly.

Hire commercial pressure washing services by calling West Coast Property Maintenance! WCPM is the number one when it comes to providing top-notch property maintenance service. Contact WCPM today to get a free estimate on our commercial pressure washing services!

Joe Flexen

Owner – Joe grew up doing construction jobs with his father at a young age. He knows the value in hard work and dedication. Outside of work, he loves fishing, boating, and off-roading with his wife and 4 kids. Their dog is never left behind!