Pressure washing is a multi-million-dollar industry. It is the most effective way to clean many exterior surfaces, from driveways and sidewalks to siding, windows, and personal items. It is suitable for removing dirt, grime, mold, and stains from almost any material, including cement, wood, vinyl, and plastic.

Almost everyone has heard of pressure washing, but they may not know what the process entails. Understanding pressure washing before and after procedures will give you a better sense of how it can be used and why it is so effective. 

This article lays out the steps involved in external pressure washing. It explains what you can expect before, during, and after a project. Keep reading to learn more. 

What Is Pressure Washing?

Pressure washing is the practice of using special equipment, solutions, and techniques to clean exterior surfaces. Special pressure washer machines can emit between 3,000 and 30,000 pounds per square inch (psi). T

You may hear the term “pressure washing” used interchangeably with “power washing.” However, they are technically two distinct techniques. Namely, power washing uses hot water, whereas pressure washing uses cool or temperate water.

Advantages of Pressure Washing

There are several reasons you should consider pressure washing external surfaces. The main one is effectiveness. Pressure washing can clean deeper and more thoroughly than hand washing or almost any other technique (like a standard garden hose), no matter how much “elbow grease” you put into it.

It also does so without the need for harsh chemicals. This makes pressure washing more environmentally friendly than many other techniques. 

A second advantage of pressure washing is to prevent damage. Things like mold and mildew can spread, harming the surface and causing more serious structural damage to your home. These organisms also can be major irritants and even cause or exacerbate respiratory illnesses in humans.

It is easy to see how pressure washing can save you money. It is an extremely cost-effective way of keeping your home or business safe and clean.

A final benefit to pressure washing is that it can increase your property’s value. Besides protecting it from dilapidation, it can help increase curb appeal, which is a huge plus whether you are selling your home or just want it to look great. 

Pressure Washing Before and After

There are several steps involved in the pressure washing process. A professional service will be able to explain each phase more thoroughly, but here are the main ones to consider.


Before beginning to pressure wash, technicians will remove all excess dirt and debris. This might entail simply sweeping or blowing a driveway or sidewalk. 

If there are cobwebs or plants growing close to siding, these may need to be removed as well. Besides clearing the surface, pressure washing staff will need ample room to maneuver and access the surface. 

There also are a few steps you should take to prepare particular surfaces. For instance, if you are pressure washing brick, you will want to make sure that there are no areas where mortar is missing. 

These should be repaired before pressure washing. Otherwise, the powerful spray can cause further damage and force water into cracks (leading to other issues). Surfaces like vinyl siding or concrete driveways require less preparation. 

Finally, if there are adjacent surfaces that you do not want to be washed, these should be covered. You might use plastic sheeting or painter’s tape to do so. 

Preliminary Treatment

Pressure washing often begins with soaking the surface with a cleaning solution. This can help start to break down, particularly soiled or stained surfaces. For instance, a technician might apply a degreasing agent to driveways that have been stained by motor oil. 

Note that this is not always necessary. In fact, using pressurized water alone is sufficient to complete most projects. 

Pressure Washing

Next, the pressure washing staff will set up the equipment and begin washing. While some smaller pressure washers need an electrical supply source, most industrial ones are powered by a gas motor. This allows technicians to freely move around the job site without being tethered to an electrical outlet. 

Also, many professional pressure washing can add detergent. This allows it to mix with the water supply and come out with the stream. 

Sometimes technicians will allow the soapy mixture to sit on a surface for a few minutes (or more). Then, they will rinse it with a clean water source. 

The specific techniques used by professional pressure washers will vary depending on the surface. For painted wood decks or fencing, for instance, they may start with lower pressure and then gradually increase it, testing to ensure it does not remove the paint. 

The same goes for heartier surfaces, like concrete or brick. Trained technicians will know how to get the deepest clean without damaging the surface. 

After Cleaning

After pressure washing is complete, you should allow the surface to dry. Then, there are a few additional steps you or the pressure washing team may take.

This will depend on the surface. Things like windows will likely require no further attention. 

However, for driveways, sidewalks, or siding, you might consider adding a waterproof sealer. Note that you usually need to wait about 24 hours after applying these to surfaces you walk or drive on, before resuming normal use. 

These will help keep moisture at bay and, in turn, mold and mildew that need water to thrive. This can go a long way to extending the time between pressure washing jobs. 

Find Professional Pressure Washing Near You

Now that you know what to expect from pressure washing before and after service, you can plan accordingly for your project. Pressure washing is a great way to clean almost any exterior surface. It will ensure it looks great and is free of mold and mildew that can cause further damage. 

Brian’s Pressure Washing and More provides high-quality commercial and residential exterior pressure washing services to the Clarksville, TN, area. We are licensed and insured, and pride ourselves on exemplary customer service. Contact us today for a free quote