Is pressure washing historic homes safe? The answer is yes. However, there are rules that should be followed.
Let’s first discuss what should be avoided. Abrasive cleaning methods such as sandblasting, the use of tools such as sanders or wire brushes should be completely avoided. Abrasive cleaning methods use forced removal to get rid of dirt and grime. This method will also strip away paint, chip or break loose stone or wood, and scratch metal surfaces that need to be protected. Using abrasive cleaning methods can permanently damage a historic home or other building.
The best method is a soft wash
The best methods for pressure washing historic homes or buildings is what is considered a soft wash. When pressure washing your historic home, you want to use as little pressure as possible. This includes the cleaning of materials such as bronze, marble, copper, or other metals with patina, etc. Also, soft bristle brushes are best for areas that are difficult to reach. These areas include any delicate cracks or crevices that would not be able to dry properly if you were to shoot pressurized water into them.
It is important to remember to not get too close when pressure washing your home. Having the nozzle too close to the surface can dig out wood or other materials. You want to stay at least 1 foot away from the surface at all times. Most pressure washers have an adjustable nozzle that can set how the water comes out. Whether it be a wide fan or a single jet stream of water. You want to avoid the jet stream setting at all costs. The wider the stream, the better. Try washing downward, using the natural path that rainwater would take. If you plan on repainting your historic home after pressure washing, it is safest to wait 48 hours to let the surfaces completely dry.
Professional pressure washing is ideal
It is best to have your historic home pressure washed by a professional company because they are able to inspect the home beforehand. They also have the necessary equipment to perform this delicate task.