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Power Washing Vs. Pressure Washing: A Guide

Power washing vs. pressure washing – which should you choose for your exterior cleaning needs? Read on to learn the differences, advantages, and disadvantages between these cleaning methods. 

Power washing and pressure washing have ‌the‌ ‌same‌ primary ‌function:‌ ‌removing ‌dirt‌ ‌and‌ ‌other‌ ‌materials‌ ‌from‌ ‌hard‌ ‌surfaces‌ ‌using‌ ‌highly‌ ‌pressurized‌ ‌water.‌ ‌

However,‌ while the process is similar,‌ there are several key ‌differences you should know. Ultimately, these differences will determine which option is best based on your exterior cleaning needs.

Power Washing Vs. Pressure Washing:
Pros And Cons

Understanding each method’s pros and cons ensures you make an informed decision. It also helps to understand the basics and purpose of each option, so you know what to expect.

Here‌’s what ‌you‌ ‌need‌ ‌to‌ ‌know when it comes to power washing vs. pressure washing:‌

Power Washing

Power washing is also‌ ‌known‌ ‌as‌ ‌‌hot‌ ‌water‌ ‌pressure‌ ‌washing. This method utilizes a‌ ‌high-pressure‌ ‌hot‌ ‌water‌ stream‌ ‌to‌ blast away dirt‌ ‌and‌ ‌materials from outdoor surfaces.‌ ‌

The ‌combination‌ ‌of‌ ‌high‌ ‌pressure‌ ‌and‌ ‌temperature‌s ‌is ‌ideal‌ ‌for‌ eliminating hard-to-clean surface buildup, grease stains or residue on concrete.

Pros

  • Perfect‌ ‌for‌ ‌big‌ ‌jobs:‌ ‌‌The‌ ‌power‌ ‌wash‌ ‌method‌ ‌is‌ ideal ‌for‌ ‌big‌ ‌commercial‌ ‌jobs.‌ ‌It‌ ‌gets‌ ‌the‌ ‌job‌ ‌done‌ ‌quickly,‌ ‌allowing‌ ‌you‌ ‌to‌ ‌get‌ ‌more‌ ‌done‌ in less time.‌ ‌It‌ ‌also‌ ‌takes‌ ‌the‌ ‌stress‌ ‌out‌ ‌of‌ ‌heavy-duty‌ ‌tasks.‌ 
  • High-pressure‌ ‌wash:‌ Power washers have an average PSI between 2000‌ ‌and‌ ‌40000‌. On the other hand, pressure washers ‌have‌ a PSI ‌between‌ ‌500 and 4000‌.‌ ‌This makes power washers far more effective.
  • Heat‌ ‌cleaning:‌ ‌‌Heat‌ ‌clean‌s ‌tough‌ ‌dirt‌ ‌and‌ ‌heavily‌ ‌soiled‌ ‌surfaces‌ ‌by‌ ‌breaking‌ ‌the‌ ‌particles‌ ‌apart‌ ‌and‌ ‌washing‌ ‌them‌ ‌without‌ ‌detergent.‌ ‌These high temperatures ‌make ‌power‌ ‌washing‌ ‌ideal‌ ‌for‌ blasting away ‌grease,‌ mould,‌ ‌and‌ ‌grime.‌ ‌ ‌
  • Weed‌ ‌and‌ ‌moss‌ ‌control:‌ Power washers emit a ‌powerful‌ ‌blast‌ ‌of‌ ‌hot‌ ‌water‌ that immediately kills and stops weed and moss growth.‌ This method helps you control unwanted growth in a fraction of the time you would spend doing so manually. ‌

Cons

  • Cost: ‌‌Power‌ ‌washing‌ ‌is‌ ‌expensive‌ ‌because‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌heating‌ ‌element.‌ Some appliances cost ‌thousands‌ ‌of‌ ‌dollars‌,‌ ‌so‌ ‌professional‌ ‌cleaning‌ ‌companies‌ ‌charge‌ more‌ ‌for‌ ‌power‌ ‌washing‌ ‌services.‌ ‌ ‌
  • Surface damage: ‌‌The‌ ‌heat‌ ‌from‌ a ‌power‌ ‌washer‌ ‌can‌ ‌damage‌ ‌some‌ house ‌surfaces.‌ That‌ ‌is‌ ‌why‌ ‌power‌ ‌washing‌ ‌is‌ ‌best‌ ‌for‌ ‌cleaning‌ ‌cement‌ ‌or‌ ‌concrete‌ ‌surfaces.‌ Before washing the intended surface, perform ‌a‌ ‌patch‌ ‌test‌ ‌by‌ washing ‌an‌ inconspicuous ‌area‌.
  • Limited versatility:‌ The heat and high pressure mean ‌that‌ you cannot use power washers‌ ‌on‌ ‌just‌ ‌any‌ ‌surface.‌ ‌You‌ ‌can‌ ‌only‌ ‌use‌ ‌power‌ ‌washers‌ ‌to‌ ‌perform‌ ‌a‌ ‌handful‌ ‌of‌ ‌tasks.‌ ‌
Power washing vs. pressure washing on a gate and stone walkway.
Power washing is ideal for heavy-duty exterior cleaning jobs.

Pressure Washing

Unlike‌ ‌power‌ ‌washing,‌ ‌pressure‌ ‌washing‌ ‌solely‌ ‌relies‌ ‌on‌ high-pressure ‌water‌ ‌to‌ ‌clean‌ ‌surfaces.‌ That‌ ‌means‌ ‌this ‌process‌ ‌does‌ ‌not‌ ‌require‌ ‌heat‌ to remove dirt ‌but‌ ‌uses‌ ‌regular‌-temperature‌ ‌water‌. ‌ ‌

Although pressure washing utilizes lower temperatures, the pressure can still damage some surfaces. For this reason, you should only pressure wash ‌hard ‌exterior‌ ‌surfaces‌.

Pros

  • Versatile:‌ ‌‌Pressure‌ ‌washers‌ ‌come‌ ‌in‌ ‌a‌ range ‌of‌ ‌GPM‌ ‌and‌ ‌PSI‌ ‌numbers, offering more flexibility for exterior cleaning.‌ ‌In addition, you can adjust your ‌washer ‌settings based on the ‌surface you wish to clean. This versatility makes pressure washers a one-stop ‌tool‌ ‌for‌ many exterior ‌cleaning‌ ‌needs.‌ ‌
  • Affordable‌:‌‌ ‌If‌ ‌you‌ ‌are‌ ‌on‌ ‌a‌ ‌budget,‌ ‌pressure‌ ‌washers‌ ‌are‌ a great option. They‌ come‌ ‌in‌ ‌a‌ ‌range‌ ‌of‌ ‌prices,‌ ‌so‌ ‌there‌ ‌is‌ ‌something‌ ‌for‌ ‌anyone.‌ ‌
  • Easy‌ ‌to use:‌‌ ‌Pressure‌ ‌washers‌ ‌user-friendly‌ ‌and‌ ‌relatively safe to use without extensive experience.‌ ‌
  • Selection:‌‌ ‌Pressure‌ ‌washers‌ ‌come‌ ‌in‌ ‌two‌ ‌categories: gas‌ ‌and‌ ‌electric.‌ ‌Gas‌ ‌pressure‌ ‌washers‌ ‌are‌ ‌more robust‌ ‌and‌ ‌used‌ ‌for‌ commercial ‌cleaning‌. Electric‌ ‌pressure‌ ‌washers‌ ‌are‌ helpful ‌for‌ residential jobs.‌ ‌Some‌ ‌electric‌ ‌washers‌ ‌are‌ ‌even cordless, making them ‌much easier to move as you work.

Cons

  • Accidents:‌ ‌‌While pressure washing is safe, accidents can still occur, especially for washers with 0-degree nozzles and high PSIs. Learn how to use your pressure washer properly to avoid accidents. ‌
  • Surface‌ ‌damage:‌ ‌Gas ‌pressure washers’ pressure levels ‌can reach ‌as‌ ‌high‌ ‌as‌ ‌4000 PSI.‌ ‌This‌ pressure level ‌can‌ ‌damage‌ ‌non-concrete surfaces‌ around your home if you’re not careful. ‌For example, you should avoid intense pressure when using a pressure washer to clean your car, deck, or siding.

Power Washing Vs. Pressure Washing:
Which Should You Use?

Your‌ ‌choice‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌best‌ ‌tool‌ ‌to‌ ‌use‌ ‌depends‌ ‌on‌ ‌your‌ ‌exterior cleaning‌ ‌needs.‌ ‌

For example, pressure‌ ‌washing‌ ‌is‌ ‌ideal‌ ‌for‌ residential ‌cleaning‌ because you can adjust the ‌pressure‌ based on ‌the‌ ‌desired surface‌.‌ This offers more versatility for cleaning surfaces such as cars, bikes, garages, patios, and more. Plus, pressure washers are relatively ‌affordable‌, ‌so‌ ‌you‌ ‌can‌ find a range of options that fit ‌your‌ ‌budget.‌

On‌ ‌the‌ ‌other‌ ‌hand,‌ ‌power‌ ‌washing‌ ‌is‌ better suited ‌for‌ ‌industrial‌ ‌and‌ ‌commercial‌ ‌cleaning.‌ ‌The‌ ‌heat‌ ‌means‌ ‌that‌ ‌it‌ ‌can‌ ‌clean‌ ‌the‌ most challenging ‌stains‌ ‌thoroughly‌ ‌and‌ ‌quickly.‌ ‌This method ‌is‌ ‌recommended‌ ‌for‌ ‌concrete‌ ‌and‌ ‌cement‌ ‌surfaces‌ ‌as‌ the heat is ‌less‌ ‌likely‌ to cause ‌damage.

Bottom Line

People often use power washing and pressure washing interchangeably. ‌However, there are several differences. Namely, ‌power‌ ‌washing‌ ‌uses‌ ‌pressurized‌ ‌hot‌ ‌water‌ to clean ‌heavy‌ ‌stains‌, while pressure‌ ‌washing ‌utilizes ‌lower temperature‌s.‌ ‌

For this reason, pressure washing is better for household cleaning and those on a tight budget. Alternatively, power washing helps remove heavy-duty stains like grease, gum, moulds, and moss.

Kasteel Exterior Cleaning can help you with your exterior cleaning needs. Our expert exterior cleaning services can save you time, money and increase your home’s longevity. Contact us to get a free estimate or call 604-441-4427.

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  • Crawford, Matt. “Pressure Washing vs. Power Washing: What’s the Difference?” Next Insurance, 28 Dec. 2020, www.nextinsurance.com/blog/pressure-washing-vs-power-washing/.
  • Wpamplify. “Pressure Washing vs Power Washing.” Elite Power Washing LLC, Elite Power Washing LLC, 30 June 2019, pensacolapressurewashing.com/2019/06/30/what-is-the-difference-between-pressure-washing-and-power-washing/.

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