The Hidden Dangers of Pressure Washing

Stucco Cleaning 6

Pressure Washing Can Help, But It Can Also Hurt

Pressure washing is a popular and effective method for cleaning various surfaces. However, while it can be highly efficient in removing dirt and grime, it can also pose significant risks to the integrity and longevity of certain materials. Especially pressure washing in Wilmington, NC, and the surrounding areas, we get a good deal of humidity that requires a good amount of regular exterior cleaning. If done incorrectly, this frequent cleaning can cause damage to the surfaces you’re trying to protect. In this blog post, we will explore the potential damages that pressure washing can inflict on vinyl siding, concrete, roof shingles, and wood. Understanding these risks is essential to ensure that you choose the appropriate cleaning method and protect your valuable investments.  We’ll also explain how hiring a professional for regular, exterior cleaning maintenance, the safest and most effective way to maintain the beauty and durability of your property.

How Pressure Washing Can Damage Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is a popular choice for homeowners due to its durability and low maintenance requirements. However, pressure washing can cause severe damage if not done properly. High-pressure water can penetrate through the gaps between the siding, leading to water infiltration behind the siding. This can result in moisture-related issues, such as mold growth, rotting, and warping of the underlying structure.

Additionally, excessive pressure can strip away the protective layer of the siding, causing fading, chipping, and even permanent discoloration. Have you ever seen a house with lines all over the siding?  This is due to someone washing the siding with too much pressure.  

damaged vinyl siding on house from pressure washer
Vinyl Siding on a house that has been damaged by pressure washing

Additionally, vinyl siding is not designed to withstand the forceful impact of pressure washing, leading to cracks, dents, and loosening of the panels. Therefore, it is crucial to use low-pressure techniques, such as soft washing, to preserve the integrity of your vinyl siding.

At Tidewater Pro Wash, we don’t use high pressure when washing a house. We use a soft wash system that is an extremely safe and effective way to clean your home. It’s a detergent based cleaning that will do a deep clean on the vinyl, without the use of damaging high pressure. This will keep your vinyl cleaner, longer; all without the risks mentioned above! You can learn more here:

How Pressure Washing Can Damage Concrete

Pressure washing is often used to remove tough stains, dirt, and moss from concrete surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, and patios. However, it can inadvertently cause significant damage. High-pressure water can erode the top layer of concrete, known as the cream, exposing the aggregate underneath. This can result in a rough and uneven surface, diminishing the aesthetic appeal of your concrete.  This is especially a concern in newer concrete.

Another way concrete can be damaged is if the pressure washer nozzle is held too close to the concrete, it can create etching or strip away the surface entirely. This can lead to permanent damage, including pitting, scaling, and even structural integrity issues. Additionally, water forced into cracks or joints can cause them to expand, worsening existing damage and leading to potential repair costs.

concrete damage from high pressure
Concrete that has been damaged from pressure washing

To avoid these risks, it is advisable to use lower pressure settings and wider fan spray nozzles. Pre-treating tough stains with appropriate cleaning agents and using a surface cleaner attachment can also help minimize the chances of damage. You can learn more about how our company can safely pressure wash concrete in Wilmington, NC, and beyond!

How Pressure Washing Can Damage Shingles on a Roof

Pressure washing is not recommended for roof shingles, despite the temptation to remove unsightly moss, algae, or stains. Actually, I’ll take it a step further: not only is it not recommended; I’m telling you that you should absolutely avoid using a pressure washer to clean your shingles.  The forceful water spray will damage and dislodge the granules on the surface of the shingles, significantly reducing their lifespan. This can lead to premature deterioration, increased vulnerability to UV rays, and accelerated aging of the roof.

damaged roof from pressure washer
These shingles were damaged by someone using a pressure washer to clean their roof

Another risk is that using high-pressure water can penetrate under the shingles, causing water infiltration and potential leaks. The force can also loosen or break the shingles, leading to the need for costly repairs, the creation of mold, or even a complete roof replacement.

Instead of pressure washing, it is better to employ gentler methods, such as soft washing. The roof cleaning method used at Tidewater Pro Wash is the only method approved by ARMA (the folks that make the shingles) and is the only cleaning process that will not void any warranties you may still have on your shingles.  Also, our roof cleaning comes with a 5 year warranty.  

Instead of pressure washing, it is better to employ gentler methods, such as soft washing. The roof cleaning method used at Tidewater Pro Wash is the only method approved by ARMA (the folks that make the shingles) and is the only cleaning process that will not void any warranties you may still have on your shingles.  Also, our roof cleaning comes with a 5 year warranty.

How Pressure Washing Can Damage Wood Surfaces

Wooden surfaces, including decks, fences, and siding, require special care when it comes to cleaning. While pressure washing might seem like a quick solution, it can wreak havoc on wood if not executed properly. High-pressure water can gouge, splinter, fur or dent the wood, leaving it susceptible to rot, mold, and insect infestations.

Moreover, pressure washing can raise the grain of the wood, making it rough and potentially causing splinters. The excessive force can also strip away the natural oils and finishes, leaving the wood vulnerable to moisture and sun damage.

pressure washing damage
pressure washing damage on a wood deck

To maintain the beauty and longevity of wood surfaces, it is recommended to use a low-pressure setting, wide fan nozzle, and keep the nozzle at a safe distance. Also, as with everything else, using the right detergents in the correct ratios is key.  Pre-soaking the wood with an appropriate cleaning solution and using a soft brush or sponge for scrubbing can help remove dirt and grime effectively without causing harm.

Conclusion: How to Avoid Pressure Washing Damage

While pressure washing can be a convenient and efficient cleaning method, it poses significant risks to certain materials such as vinyl siding, concrete, roof shingles, and wood. Understanding these potential damages is crucial to protect your investments and avoid unnecessary repair costs.  Also, the best way to avoid damaging your home and other property with a pressure washer is to consider hiring a professional pressure washing company to complete any exterior cleaning projects you may have. For example, at Tidewater Pro Wash, we’ve been in business for over 10 years and have washed millions of dollars of every kind of surface, in every kind of condition. Pressure washing and soft washing isn’t hard; but it’s like everything else, you have to have the right training, equipment and experience to do a job effectively, efficiently, affordably and safely. Also, we carry insurance and have other things in place to protect you as a homeowner or business owner.

If we can serve you any way, please reach out for a free, no obligation quote today!

Tidewater Pro Wash

Share this post

We Want You To Know...

We're Comitted To Your Happiness

Super Awesome benefits for you to enjoy...

exterior cleaning services



& Insured


exterior cleaning services 1

Warrantied Service

Ready To Restore Your Home?



Use Code [ 25-OFF ] When Requesting a Quote on TWO or More Services