I'm planning to paint the exetrior of my house to get it ready for
sale. The old paint is in decent shape, with not much peeling, so the
main function of the pressure washing will be to clean the surface, not
strip the old paint. In fact, I'll mainly be repainting the faded trim
and only touching up the walls.
I was planning to rent a 2,400 psi washer from Home Depot, but am also
considering buying a low-end consumer washer for $70-100. For example,
there's one on sale at Sears with 1,500 psi (not sure about the GPM
Would something like this be sufficient for my needs, or should I rent
the heavy duty one?
I always find it amazing to find dozens of opened (returned) 1500 PSI
washers at the local big box for sale as 'demos'..or 'clearance'.
Fricking things are useless.
I rented a 10 HP Honda powered 3000 psi unit last summer...NOW you're
talking. Blew the paint and rust off the railing on my front porch.
That one liked to cut wood too... so I guess we're still on topic?
I rented a big pressure washer to remove loose paint off of a cedar shingle
house. It removed a fair number of shingles too. Which was OK, because they
needed to be replaced. But I had to be careful. Otherwise it would just eat
the cedar shingles away.
I tried a low cost washer like you described for the same application you
are planning. I found it not to be any more useful than the water coming
from a garden hose. I then borrowed a 2400 pound machine from a friend and
I agree with the respondents that the 1500psi ones are crap.
How about buying a 2400+ psi unit?
3 years ago my neighbor & I bought a Karcher 2400psi w/
a Honda engine at Costco for $300. I figure I'm at payback
(vs rental) already.
There's now no pressure(no pun intended) to hustle thru the job
and return a rental unit.
In addition to washing the house:
Cleaning and/or stripping the deck.
Annual blasting the winter moss from the driveway.
Cleaning the mud from the toys - quads, M/Cs, etc
Degrassing the underside of the lawnmower.
Peeling the bark(and mud, grit, whatnot) off of logs/wood
before running them thru the saw/jointer/planer.
Etc, etc, etc.
You'll be surprised at how many uses you can think of for
your new "toy".
firstname.lastname@example.org ( email@example.com) wrote on Monday 27 June 2005 01:11 pm:
I'm going to have to go against the grain here. I bought one of the cheap-o
Karchers for just the purpose you're planning to use it for and it did the
job. The paint's been up for three years without a problem. I've also
used it for some cleanup of stuff around the house. The big plus is that
it's low maintenance - I didn't want another motor to maintain (already
have lawn mower, paint sprayer, cultivator, chain saw, three cars). Just
remember to set your expectations properly.
The soap dispenser sucks, so don't depend on it's usefulness.
Michael White "To protect people from the effects of folly is to
fill the world with fools." -Herbert Spencer
I wouldn't buy anything less than 3000 psi, 3 gpm. The less powerful models
are good for washing the car, but that's about all.
If you decide to buy one, take a good look at the pump. A $400 model gets
you a plastic oilless pump. If you want an oil-lubricated metal pump from
Cat (US) or Annovi Reverberi (Italy), expect to pay $800-$1000.
Gas engines require maintenance. If you aren't going to use the washer very
often, renting it might be the way to go, even if you end up spending more
in the long run. Let the rental store deal with storage, parts and
I had several lower pressure units... bought one, "inherited" another,, both
at or below 1500 PSI.
Really slow way to get little done!
*Rant mode: ON*
I finally bought what was represented as a 2700 PSI 3 GPM unit (when
shopping, remember the GPM is almost as important as PSI).
Later during a time when the had the pump in for "warranty repair" the
company went out of business :<(.
I got the pump back and got it repaired a little closer to home and found
the pump had a max. 200PSI 3GPM rating. The 6 HP Honda driving the pump
would not have been adequate for a larger pump according to Cat.
It has a sticker on it stating 2700 PSI, who to believe? ;<)
*Rant mode: OFF*
The point to my ramblings above to make you aware that if buying one, get
the model number of the pump and do some research to learn if you are
receiving what you are paying for.
Now to add my two cents to the loads of other good replies you've had;
Pressure will add additional area to the cleaning "zone" and may be
controlled with a valve on the machine, or more easily by varying the
distance to the working surface.
With a low power machine, you have to get close and then be able to clean an
area of a few square inches at a time.
With mine an a special additional nozzle that throws a "cone" of single
stream being spun out of the end for the large concrete slabs and walls
(plus the usual jets for fans and streams) .
Poorly advertised or not, it will remove a cheap auto paint job, cuts wood
and plastic nicely and has an appetite for foot mats made like 3M sanding
It will allow for about a 10" to 12 " cone if I move slowly ( I get lotsa
spiral patterns if I don't <G>).
How often can you invent uses for it (to justify this with SWMBO)?
A lot? Get out the crowbar!
Not often? Rent one!
On 27 Jun 2005 11:11:07 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I was going to do the same thing, but then I heard from a couple of
different sources that pressure-washing as paint prep was a really bad
idea. First one was on a rerun of This Old House a couple of months
ago, and the second was the salesman at the Sherwin Williams store.
Evidently, it can wreck the paint from the inside, even if you let it
dry for a couple of weeks. Previously, I had always scraped and
sanded, and after hearing a couple of folks warning against
pressure-washing, I figure I'll stick with the old tried-and-true
method. Could be a load of BS, but I figure they know more about it
than me and I'd hate to waste a couple hundred bucks worth of paint.
And really, if you're just mainly doing trim, it's not all that hard
to sand it down, even if you're taking it down to bare wood.
If you're main concern is washing it, consider how deeply you really
need that water to penetrate the wood... seems like the smaller one
would work just fine to me.
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