How to Use a Pressure Washer to Remove Paint

peeling paintBefore you decide to paint your deck, fence, garage, or house as part of a renovation venture, it’s best to start with a blank canvas and get rid of any existing paint that’s flaking or peeling off. Otherwise, the new coat of paint won’t adhere and the result could look terrible. While you can go about this task by setting about the old coat with a wire brush or a paint scraper, you can instead save yourself lots of time and hassle by using a pressure washer. A pressure washer probably won’t remove all the paint from a wood surface, but it can certainly do most of the hard work.

Choosing the Right Tool For The Job

If you’re wondering how a pressure washer works, it boosts the pressure of water from the water supply to thousands of pounds per square inch, enough to blast peeling paint, grime, and dirt off almost any surface.

Electric washers are the least expensive models, and yet they’re still capable of developing pressures up to 1,300 psi, while the petrol and diesel powered washers fall at the higher end of the spectrum, with some creating pressures surpassing 4,000 psi. However, you rarely need such an expensive, high-power industrial machine for home usage since you’ll seldom need pressures exceeding 2,500 psi. Any higher and the pressure can even damage the surface itself.

Setting Up

Pressure washers are often accompanied by various tips, running the gamut from 0 to 65 degrees. For general cleaning, wider-angled tips should suffice, while the narrower tips are used for eradicating the toughest stains. It’s prudent to choose a medium sized tip for most jobs, with an angle of 30 to 45 degrees. Before connecting the motor, connect the machine to a water source and turn on the water supple. Test the spray pattern to check that the tip you’ve fitted is a good choice.

Removing Paint

It’s pretty easy to work with a pressure washer, but you should wear rain gear to prevent yourself getting soaked to your bones, especially if you don’t have a steady hand with the washer just yet. Keep the tip near the surface to blast off the paint, but not too close otherwise it can wear ridges into concrete and wood. Refrain from moving the tip constantly along the surface while you’re spraying, as it can wear off the surface. If an obstinate speck of paint refuses to come off, use a scraper rather than risking damaging the surface itself.

Pressure Washer Safety

If you inadvertently, or even playfully, point the nozzle at an animal or a person, the power washer can cause serious injuries. It’s prudent to keep children and pets away when spraying. Additionally, never kink the hose while the machine is running, as it can force water through the walls of the hose with significant pressure. It is also very advisable to wear eye protection while spraying. If a surface is painted with a coat of lead based paint, it’s better not to use a power washer, and instead hire a professional to deal with it.

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