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Thread: Pressure Washer to Remove Flaking Trim Paint?

  1. #1
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    Pressure Washer to Remove Flaking Trim Paint?

    The trim on our house is about due for repainting (ugh). Most of the existing paint is in pretty good shape and a sound base for new paint, but some of it, particularly the facias, has started to crack and peel a bit. I need to work it down to a decent base before painting over it.

    With my bad back, overhead work can be a literal pain (and land me in bed for days), so I'd like to keep the wire brushing and sanding to a minimum. Would a pressure washer work to knock off the loose stuff? I'm a bit concerned about getting water up into places I wouldn't want it, but I also figure it'll have at least a week to dry before I paint over anything, so it'd have plenty of time to dry in our climate.

    Any suggestions?
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    The trim on our house is about due for repainting (ugh). Most of the existing paint is in pretty good shape and a sound base for new paint, but some of it, particularly the facias, has started to crack and peel a bit. I need to work it down to a decent base before painting over it.

    With my bad back, overhead work can be a literal pain (and land me in bed for days), so I'd like to keep the wire brushing and sanding to a minimum. Would a pressure washer work to knock off the loose stuff? I'm a bit concerned about getting water up into places I wouldn't want it, but I also figure it'll have at least a week to dry before I paint over anything, so it'd have plenty of time to dry in our climate.

    Any suggestions?
    Vaughn, you might have to check with a store that specializes in these units, but I have seen a demo of a special Head that you put on instead of the normal tip, and it makes the water pulsate and it really does a good job of removing any loose paint.

  3. #3
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    Based on the reviews, it looks like this one could remove paint. I wonder if there are any issues with hitting the wood in the bare spots.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  4. #4
    I have watched a few neighbors have the power washing thing done professionally on their homes over the past 14 years. I really haven't been impressed with the results. Between the damage done to the wood by the water pressure (gouges and splintering), and the need to repaint 4-5 years later, I am glad I went with the traditional methods.
    My last paint job is around 10 years old - joint areas have failed, but not the surfaces. My neighbors have almost universally had to reprep/strip all of their trim.
    Now, I say this without knowledge of why their finishes failed. Part could be not allowing proper drying time, part due to cheap top coats, or due to no additional prep after power washing. I just don't know.

    A big FWIW

    Wes

  5. #5
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    vaughn, unless you`ve got about a gizillion feet of fascia i find it easier to remove the gutters and pull the fascia down and then strip or replace it...
    just another perspective .....tod
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  6. #6
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    Hey Vaughn , I used a power washer on our old house several times. It works, to a point. It still left some areas with loose paint and it also seemed to help loosen paint that wasn't really that bad.

    If you use a fan pattern spray and keep the tip 12-24 inches from the wood it should be OK. Of course that doesn't take into consideration the pressure at the nozzle. Washers range in pressure from around 1500 psi to over 3000 psi. Obviously, a 3000 psi washer would have to be kept back a wee bit more than something less powerful.

    After all that I still used a wire brush and had to do some sanding before I used the primer. Use only a good quality OIL based primer. That seemed to hold up better for me. Then I used latex paint on top.

    All that being said, I like Tod's idea the best. Doing them off the house will allow you to protect all the wood with paint.

    That's my $1.398 worth of advice for the week.

    Karl

  7. #7
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    Well, I've decided to use a pressure washer (on a relatively low setting) to clean the grime off the trim prior to painting, but will probably not rely on the washer to remove the flaking stuff. There's one stretch of facia I may consider removing and replacing, but removing all of it is beyond what I can tackle by myself. I'm not really in shape to be wrestling 12' 2x6 boards into place overhead. Removing the gutter alone is going to be a major undertaking...we've got lots of it, but it really does need to be re-done. If not replaced, at least re-hung.

    I went this afternoon and picked up the 1800 psi Husky electric model from the Orange Borg. (Dunno why the link above didn't work.) I've got enough other odd jobs around the house where it'll come in handy, so I went ahead and pulled the trigger.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    I've got enough other odd jobs around the house where it'll come in handy, so I went ahead and pulled the trigger.
    You'll be surprised at how many things you'll find for which you can use that new toyl. I use mine for pressure washing the rims on the cars, the floor mats as well as cleaning up the BBQ a few times a year.

    Next time you're at the Orange Borg pick up some Purple Degreaser. Works great on a bunch of different stuff. I use it on my car rims and BBQ.

    Karl

  9. #9
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    Vaughn

    After your power washing & wire brushing & scraping & sanding. If the paint & primer on you house is oil based you can brush on a coat of linseed oil to help re-stick any loose primer/paint that you didn't get rid of. We did this on my cousins old farm house on the advise of his father in law who was a painter all his work life before he retired. It works. We didn't have any problem with flaking or any loose paint. About 7 or 8 years later they decided to remodel & there was still no sign of loose or peeling paint. This was the old smooth siding where 1 strip of siding was a 3 lap piece. House was built sometime in the 30's I was told.
    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
    "If it ain't round you may be a knuckle dragger""Turners drag their nuckles too, they just do it at a higher RPM"Bart

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the tip, Bart. I'm not sure if the existing paint is latex or oil-based. Do you know of a god way to determine what it it?

    I've gotten the impression that the previous owners did a quickie paint job before selling the house three years ago. I think they slapped a quick coat of paint on without doing any real prep work, so now I'm getting to pay the price for their laziness.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

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