One of the biggest returns in regards to the appearance of your common areas is pressure washing. Most common area items will shine like a new penny after a good cleaning which will enhance the appearance of your community. Here are some tips to get the most bang for your pressure washing buck.
1. Hire a professional-While it may seem like a no-brainer to get a group of owners together on a Saturday to clean the pool deck or the entrance sign, you’ll have to rent the proper equipment and have enough hoses lined up to get water where you need it. Sometimes its not worth the hassle. Professional pressure washers will sometimes have tanks to bring water directly to the site its needed and larger commercial pressure washers that will do they job in short order.
2. Plan for off days-Pressure wash pool decks and clubhouse areas during non peak times to avoid interruption for people. However, sometimes its unavoidable. If you can’t avoid performing the pressure washing during peak times, make sure owners and guests are informed that the area will be closed temporarily.
3. Start with an inconspicuous area-if you plan to use bleach or TSP (trisodium phosphate) try it first on an out of the way area to make sure it doesn’t strip the color or cause damage.
4. Use bleach or TSP-If the area you’re pressure washing is covered with mold or mildew, using bleach or TSP can remove the mildew and keep it at bay for 6-9 months, depending on humidity.
5. Flat surfaces-To prevent that “stripped” appearance, use a circular surface cleaner to clean sideways, driveways or decks.
6. Chemicals-Bleach and TSP are some of the preferred chemicals used to pretreat concrete areas. However, muriatic acid will actually remove the top finish coat on a driveway or sidewalk. Instead of muriatic acid, use oxalic acid diluted with water (pour acid to water, not water to acid) and scrub with a hard bristle broom to remove organic stains (leaves, acorns and nuts that leave tannic staining). Rinse with clean water.
These are just a few tips on how to get the best result from pressure washing your common areas. If you plan to use a professional, discuss with the contractor the plans for water usage and negotiate if he/she plans to use your water. Ask what type of chemicals will be used and how long they anticipate the project taking. If you’re unsure where to look for a quality pressure washing company, contact your landscape vendor. There’s a good chance they’ll know a reputable company to recommend.