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Can You Pressure Wash Cedar Siding?

Cedar siding is one of the most beautiful sidings you can have, but it needs to be cared for properly. When cleaning cedar siding, you do not want to damage the cedar.

Can you pressure wash cedar siding? Yes, you can pressure wash cedar siding by using a low PSI pressure washer or adjusting a pressure washer to its lowest PSI setting. This protects the cedar from being damaged from too high of pressure because it is softwood.

Before you pressure wash your siding, though, some things need to be considered.

Is it Okay to Pressure Wash Cedar Siding?

Many people would recommend manually hand prepping or cleaning all kinds of cedar siding, while others think it is fine to do all the cleaning with a pressure washer. The main reason some people are against deep cleaning because of the softness of cedarwood. By using the proper method listed here, there should be no problem.

Things to Consider When Pressure Washing Cedar Siding

There are many things to consider before pressure washing for it to be ultimately successful. These include:

  • What kind of cedar siding you have
  • How to clean your cedar siding
  • Type of pressure washer
  • Source of water
  • Flow of water
  • Preparation of the house

What Kind of Cedar Siding Is It?

There are multiple types of cedar siding, and each one needs a different treatment.

  • Smooth – This kind is the easiest to clean and just a little prep work. 
  • Rough – The rougher the cedar siding, the more prep it needs to get ready to pressure wash, considering dirt can get into the small grooves and spaces. 
  • Shake – easiest to damage and takes more prep because algae, mold, and mildew tend to be worse on this kind of siding. This is especially a problem the further south you live. 

`Finding out which type of wood you have is very important when it comes to the way you clean it. You don’t want to damage it when all you’re trying to do is clean it.

How to Pressure Wash Cedar Siding

Washing your siding is imperative to clean the exterior. If you don’t clean it adequately, and the way your specific wood requires, you could damage it. So, follow these steps for a deep – and safe – clean. 

  1. Select a Pressure Washer. For cleaning or stripping your cedar siding a 1300 PSI pressure washer for the more softwood siding. 3000 PSI pressure washers are used on brick and hardwoods and would damage cedar siding. You’ll also want to make sure you pick out one that has a rather large-sized detergent tank, so you won’t have to fill it up as much. More on the perfect pressure washer for you later on!
  2. Make Sure Your House is Ready. Check the following things before starting to pressure wash your house: Make sure windows and doors are closed and crack-free. Check electrical sources are safe. Things, such as lights, may need to be removed. Cover any areas that do not need water getting to that you may not be able to control.
  3. More than water. If you’re going to be cleaning a wall, you’re most likely cleaning the mold, mildew, and algae from it. You’re going to need more than just water to clean it. The reason you’ll want a large detergent tank is that you will need detergent…a lot of it to clean off the grime.
  4. Cleaning time. Use a black tip to spray the mixture of detergent and water, you want to make sure you hit your wall with even strokes and avoid missing spots. Leave it on your wall to soak once you’ve filled the area your desire to clean. Soak times depend on what type of wood you have. You’ll want to let it soak longer on rougher surfaces and shorter for softer surfaces.
  5. Wash away. once you’ve allowed the mixture to soak onto the wood, it’s time to pressure wash it off. Standing about two feet away, you want to slowly move the pressure washer up and down the cedar siding, making sure to get all the mixture out. 

You’ll want to use a yellow or a white tip for a more powerful spray. A green tip will provide a moderate spray for those who have a weaker siding. Keep your washer angled down to avoid any mixture or grime getting up under any panels.

What Is the Right Pressure Washer to Buy for Cedar Siding? 

You need a pressure washer with around 1300 PSI to 1900 PSI (light-duty category) as that would properly clean softwood siding, such as cedar. Many people report damage and breakage from any pressure washer over the 1900-2000 PSI mark. 3000 PSI is okay for regular hardwood or brick houses, but they are not recommended for softwood houses, such as cedar siding. 3000 PSI is what is used for cleaning concrete and is usually used in industrial settings.

Do I Want a Gas or Electric Pressure Washer for Cedar Siding?

There are advantages and disadvantages to both gas and electric pressure washers

Gas Pressure Washer

The advantages of a gas pressure washer include:

  • Higher mobility, 
  • More power
  • Cord-free
  • Better for larger jobs
  • More durable. 

The disadvantages, however, are:

  • More maintenance required
  • Oil and gas are needed 
  • Heavier, 
  • More expensive
  • Cumbersome for small jobs

Electric Pressure Washer

There are many advantages to having an electric pressure washer. Those include 

  • Eco-friendly
  • Quieter
  • Lighter
  • Less expensive
  • Easily maintained. 

There are disadvantages, however. They are:

  • Not good for large jobs
  • Less mobile, 
  • Not as durable as gas pressure washers. 

Are You Going to Use a Cleaner with Your Pressure Washer?

If you are going to use a cleaner with your washer, then you will need one with a tank to mix in the detergent. Here are a few great cleaners you can find on Amazon.

  • Simple Green Oxy. Boasting a four-star rating and at only $20 for one gallon of the cleaner. This cleaner comes with enough for over twenty-one gallons of the cleaning mixture.
  • Wash Safe Industries. This giant tub contains ten gallons of cedar wood siding cleaner. This is more ideal for those who may have a cleaning service or those who plan to clean A LOT of siding.
  • Kleeners Choice. This multi-purpose cleaner boasts a five-star rating, and it an all-natural choice to some other harsher chemicals. This cleaner is suitable for an array of chores, including cleaning your cedar siding!

Can I Use a High Powered Pressure Washer on Cedar Siding?

Some people already have a high powered pressure washer and do not want to buy or rent a lower-powered one. That is understandable! You can get by using a high powered pressure washer, although it is not ideal. 

You must stand back further than the recommended two feet and use a higher angle to reduce the water’s power on the siding. Doing both things are essential, in this situation, to keep from damaging your cedar siding. Some pressure washers have a regulator valve, and others you can adjust the pressure on the wand. If you cannot change the pressure on the machine, most washers allow you to move forward (increase the pressure) or backward (decrease the pressure).

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking to clean your cedar siding or any siding for that matter, you must take the proper steps and do the right things, or you could end up damaging your siding. 

ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on April 24, 2020.

Electric pressure washers would be the ideal washer for those who are looking to clean the side of their house or maybe a smaller project. Remember, you don’t want something too strong or too weak, or it won’t do its job correctly.