Power Washers: What's Best For Cleaning My Porch?

Posted on: 17 April 2017


Garden hoses don't always get porches clean. Often you're left with cobweb residue, dirt, and grit, especially in hard-to-reach corners. It's often tough to climb a ladder to scrub those areas on your porch. Also, many people have ailments that make climbing ladders and reaching up to clean dangerous. A pressure washer, also known as a power-washer, is safer, can clean your porch so it is free of dirt, grit, and grimy residue, and is less time-consuming.

Which Power Washer Should You Choose?

Power washers are sold by pressure in pounds per square inch (psi). The higher the psi, the more force is used to clean a surface. It is also helpful to look at how much water you will be using. The psi tells you how much pressure will be forcing water (in gallons per minute, or gpm) out of your power washer. Your garden hose emits less than 50 psi.  If your porch has areas that are difficult to reach, you will want to consider the higher gpm, residential psi models. These reach higher spaces with more force.

Here's a general breakdown of duty types, their psi (gpm rates can vary) and what they are best at cleaning:

  • Light-duty: below 2000 psi. Efficiently cleans patios and patio furniture, porches, house siding, gutters, vehicles and boats, sidewalks, driveways, fences, and various kinds of decks. Best to use on composite decks. These power washers are best for residential use.
  • Medium-duty: 2000 to 2800 psi. Does best for siding, fences, porches, decks, and patios as well as all lighter duty jobs. Best for residential, but will suffice for light-commercial use.
  • Heavy-duty: 2900 to 3300 psi. When you need more water pressure to wash small areas like sidewalks, large areas like driveways, and jobs such as second-story cleaning. They can also help you prepare surfaces for paint. Best for commercial use.
  • Professional-duty: 3300-plus psi. These models handle many of the jobs of commercial machines if you stand far away from what you're power washing, but it adds more power for paint stripping. Best for industrial use.
  • Multi-duty: psi varies. You can change the setting for lighter duty or heavier duty.

IMPORTANT: Pressure washers should never be directed at a human or an animal. The pressure can maim or kill them, especially from a close proximity.

Some Final Porch Washing Tips

If your porch is an all-wood porch, use the lightest duty power. You will need to allow the wood to dry completely for about 4 to 5 hours after use if you are going to treat or paint it. Light-duty or medium-duty pressure washers are generally best for porches as the pressure is less likely to chip away paint or damage porch materials. You can choose from gas or electric models. Either one works fine for porches. However, do not use a power washer in enclosed spaces like sun-rooms converted from old porches. Carbon monoxide given off from gas-powered pressure washers can kill you. Use common sense: be outdoors, use the lightest duty power washer to do the job, and stay safe while using it.