Best Practices for Pressure Washing Strata and Rental Buildings

January 24th, 2023 in Power and Pressure Washing
Best Practices for Pressure Washing Strata and Rental Buildings

Commercial pressure washing or power washing your strata and rental buildings gives them a facelift, making them look shiny and new. It also protects them. Removing dirts, algae growth and other materials that cause or speed decay, extends the life of your structures. 

But this activity must be undertaken with a great deal of caution. Because of the high pressures involved, rules must be followed to avoid serious injury to people or damage to property. Therefore, there are a number of best practices to follow when using this method of cleaning. For instance, these guidelines inform on things like safe use of the pressure washer or power washer, worker safety, and the how-tos when cleaning different types of materials, including the amount of pressure to use.

Best practices for pressure washing strata and rental buildings

  • Adhere safe operating practices for the pressure washer/power washer

  • Utilise appropriate safety equipment (PPE), and safety codes

  • Use lowest pressure possible

  • Follow proper procedures for cleaning different surfaces

Safe operation of pressure washers

Pressure washers work by directing water through specialised nozzles to create a highly pressurised stream. This stream can cause serious damage requiring emergency medical care. Always Clean Maintenance technicians follow all safety protocols for the washers they use, including never pointing the nozzle at anyone, ensuring proper grounding for electric units, and keeping them well-maintained.

People protection

The last thing a property owner wants to deal with is insurance issues or lawsuits due to injuries acquired on their properties. Worker and resident safety is a top priority. Property maintenance professionals should observe appropriate safety protocols when cleaning your property. This includes the correct use of PPE (goggles, gloves, boots, ear protection, and skin protection), ladder safety and fall protection. Always Clean Maintenance is fully insured and trained in fall safety practices governed by WorkSafe BC. Our technicians are easily identifiable, and always professional when on site. 

Property protection through appropriate pressure

Different materials require different pressures so they are not damaged. To facilitate this, commercial pressure washing units come with several standardised nozzles allowing for a range of pressures.

Higher pressures work well on harder surfaces like driveways and sidewalks. For these particular surfaces, we recommend power washing because it incorporates heat. Hot water is ideal for cleaning the oils and grease that commonly collects on top. Driveways and sidewalks that are cleaned regularly prevent slippery walking surfaces. And they look great! The difference after power washing is noticeable and makes a positive impression!

Medium pressures work well for patios, paving stones, and rock work for landscape walls. These surfaces may not look obviously dirty, but many become darker with age due to accumulated dirt. You will be amazed at how much brighter and like-new they look after a thorough pressure washing. Restoring the original, beautiful colour of patios, pavers and rock work is one of the most satisfying parts of the job.

Surfaces that require lower pressures include soft woods, stucco, some masonry, or any surface already showing damage or deterioration. Here’s a short list of relative pressures recommended for various materials.

Recommended pressures

  • Concrete patios, driveways, walkways: at least 3000 psi (pounds per square inch)

  • Vinyl: 2500-3000 psi

  • Pavers: 1000-1500 psi

  • Soft wood, stucco, aluminum: 1200-1500 psi

  • Composite: pressure washing not recommended

Best practice when it comes to the pressure aspect of pressure washers is to use the lower possible pressure to clean surfaces without damaging them. The same holds true for temperature. The advantage to hiring experienced property maintenance professionals is that they can also apply their knowledge and expertise to determine the most appropriate settings to get the cleanest, fastest results for your property.

Pressure washing exteriors

Cleaning the exteriors of strata and rental buildings gives your complex a welcoming and professional appearance that residents take pride in. But walls, roofs, gutters and downspouts all require different cleaning strategies. What works best for one, might be a disaster for another.

Take roofs, for example. Regular cleaning is important to remove moss, leaves, pine needles, organic material and debris. Leaving them on a roof for extended periods causes deterioration. Developing a hole in a roof is a nightmare scenario and tremendously expensive to fix. Instead of taking chances, hire a team to regularly wash away the dirt and moss using a technique called soft-washing. This is a light spray designed to remove unwanted material without damaging the roof itself.

Cleaning gutters needs a different method. The outsides of gutters and downspouts can be damaged by pressure washers so care must be taken not to dent or ruin them. Best practices include spraying with a hose first, to loosen dirt, then using a cleaning solution. In addition, avoid spraying too closely, and use an extension wand for safety.

Similarly to gutters, pre-scrubbing residential walls with a brush and hose makes the whole cleaning process easier and faster. Other best practices include covering shrubs and flower beds, avoiding outlets, AC units and windows. (Washing residential windows is another specialised task we perform!). Walls are washed from the bottom up with a cleaning solution, and rinsed afterwards with water.

As you can see, a lot of knowledge and expertise goes into commercial pressure washing and power washing strata and residential units. Building owners may be tempted to try it themselves, but it’s a huge job, requiring time, know-how, safety awareness, specialised equipment and ideally experience. It’s a big undertaking! And a big risk. Maybe not as big as not doing anything at all, mind you.

Every strata needs a maintenance plan.  It’s worth it to trust this job to the professionals. 

Always Clean Maintenance will make your strata and residential buildings shine! We’re based in Surrey and serve the Lower Mainland including Chilliwack and Squamish. Give us a call! 604-789-1256