Spring has sprung! The days are getting longer and warmer, and I’m attending to the exterior of my property a bit more. I had my season’s first breakfast on the patio today.
A couple of years back I bought an inexpensive, electric power washer. It cost under $100. I used it over the weekend to clean a paved patio behind my house and to spray down siding, the sunroom windows, the underside of rain gutters (which sometimes get dirty and moldy), and some outdoor furniture. While my power washer came with a small chemical bottle attachment, I’ve never used it and have been satisfied with results using only water. Runoff from chemical washing solutions can leave streaks in finished surfaces and could be harmful to backyard plants and critters, particularly when applied by weekend-warrior DIY-ers. The clean surface looks great!
Power washers are not fool-proof. Even the low-powered, inexpensive, consumer-grade machines like mine are powerful enough to do harm to people and pets! Don’t point it at yourself or others (or Fido or Mittens). Adjust the spray nozzle to get a knife-like pattern and then test for the best distance from your work surface to get the job done. Too far and the spray will not be forceful enough to remove the dirt. Too close and you’ll remove finish or roughen the surfaces you’re trying to clean. Be careful of overlaps of siding and trim sections. Be sure not to spray toward the overlap, because then water will get under the siding and might actually dislodge a section. Wear ear and eye protection. Your ears and your nerves don’t need the noise, and the spray can dislodge debris that could ricochet.
I tend to keep things for a long time. That goes for my wrought iron patio furniture. The table seems to take a particular beating from the elements, so every couple of years I roll it out to the middle of the lawn, rough it up with a wire brush, and then spray it with a good, name-brand enamel. I leave it for a day or two in the sun to cure before using it. Particularly in cooler, early Spring weather, the paint takes that long to dry to a durable finish. Be sure to spray at a distance from surfaces and objects that you don’t want spattered! Overspray gets around on a breezy day, and it looks terrible.
I’ve got a list of tasks to do as time permits. Most are quick and easy, so they can be accomplished after work or between things.
I’ll check all the exterior lights for working bulbs and assure that all fixtures are secure. As home inspectors, we never encourage clients to undertake any electrical work more complicated than changing a light bulb. I need to scrape and repaint a door frame. I’ll scan all the siding and trim for loose pieces and reaffix those that I can without undue danger. Hire a professional if it’s too high! Ditto for windows: repair what is in reach and hire pros for what is out of reach. When my window contractor nearly suffered a face-plant, I realized it’s time to reset some stone pavers behind the house that winter frost had heaved. (This one’s not quick, or easy: lift them with a prybar, smooth the bed with a flat-bladed shovel, spread some rock dust, and mind your fingers when you reset the stone!)
The sun is shining. I feel like I’d better sign off the computer and get to it! Stay safe.