If you have cedar shake siding on your home, you may be wondering if it is safe to pressure wash it. Cedar shake siding is a popular choice for its natural beauty and durability, but it does require regular maintenance to keep it looking its best. Pressure washing can be a quick and effective way to clean your cedar shake siding, but it is important to proceed with caution.

Pressure washing can cause damage to cedar shake siding if not done correctly. The high pressure can strip away the natural oils in the wood, causing it to dry out and become more vulnerable to rot and decay. It can also cause the shakes to split or crack, ruining their appearance and compromising their ability to protect your home from the elements.

However, if done properly, pressure washing can be a safe and effective way to clean cedar shake siding. It is important to use a low pressure setting and a wide nozzle when pressure washing cedar shake siding. This will minimize the risk of damage and allow you to remove dirt, grime, and mildew without harming the wood.

Before pressure washing your cedar shake siding, it is a good idea to test a small, inconspicuous area first to make sure the pressure and nozzle settings are appropriate. Start at the bottom of the siding and work your way up, being careful to keep the nozzle at least 12 inches away from the wood.

After pressure washing, it is important to rinse the siding thoroughly to remove any remaining dirt or cleaning solution. This can be done with a garden hose or by using the low-pressure setting on your pressure washer. Once the siding is clean and dry, you may want to apply a protective finish to help maintain its appearance and protect it from the elements.

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Pros and Cons of Pressure Washing Cedar Shake Siding

Pressure washing can be an effective way to clean cedar shake siding, but there are both pros and cons to consider before deciding if it’s the right method for your home.

Pros:

  • Efficient Cleaning: Pressure washing can quickly remove dirt, debris, and mildew from cedar shake siding, leaving it looking refreshed and vibrant.
  • Deep Cleaning: The high-pressure water can penetrate deep into the wood, removing stains and discoloration that may not be easily achieved with other cleaning methods.
  • Time-Saving: Pressure washing can save time compared to manual scrubbing, especially when cleaning larger areas of cedar shake siding.
  • Prepares for Staining or Painting: If you’re planning to stain or paint your cedar shake siding, pressure washing can help to prepare the surface by removing old coatings and ensuring a clean base.
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Cons:

  • Potential Damage: Improper use of pressure washing equipment can damage the cedar shake siding, causing it to splinter, crack, or become dislodged.
  • Water Intrusion: Pressure washing, especially at high pressure, can force water into gaps or cracks in the cedar shakes, potentially leading to moisture problems and rot.
  • Loss of Natural Aging: While pressure washing can restore the appearance of cedar shake siding, it also removes some of the weathered and aged patina that many homeowners find desirable.
  • Requires Skill and Care: Pressure washing cedar shake siding requires proper technique and knowledge to avoid causing damage. It’s important to follow manufacturer recommendations and hire a professional if you’re unsure.

Overall, pressure washing can be an effective method for cleaning cedar shake siding, but it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons and take necessary precautions to ensure the best results and avoid any potential damage to your home’s exterior.

Benefits of Pressure Washing Cedar Shake Siding

Pressure washing is an effective method for cleaning and maintaining cedar shake siding on your home. Here are some of the benefits of using this technique:

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1. Removes Dirt and Debris

Over time, cedar shake siding can accumulate dirt, dust, and debris, which can make it look dull and dirty. Pressure washing can easily remove these particles, restoring the natural beauty of the wood.

2. Eliminates Mildew and Mold

Cedar shake siding is susceptible to mildew and mold growth, especially in damp and shady areas. Pressure washing can effectively remove and kill these harmful microorganisms, preventing further damage to the siding and improving the overall health of your home.

3. Enhances Longevity

Regular pressure washing can help extend the lifespan of cedar shake siding. By removing built-up dirt, debris, and mold, you can prevent premature deterioration and rot, allowing your siding to last longer.

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4. Improves Curb Appeal

Pressure washing can significantly improve the curb appeal of your home. By removing stains, discoloration, and grime from your cedar shake siding, it will instantly look fresher and more attractive, enhancing the overall appearance of your property.

5. Prepares for Staining or Painting

If you plan on staining or painting your cedar shake siding, pressure washing is an essential step in the preparation process. It removes any existing coatings, dirt, and contaminants, ensuring a clean surface for the new finish to adhere properly.

In conclusion, pressure washing cedar shake siding offers several benefits, including the removal of dirt and debris, elimination of mildew and mold, enhancement of longevity, improvement of curb appeal, and preparation for staining or painting. Consider hiring a professional pressure washing service to achieve the best results while protecting the integrity of your siding.

Potential Risks of Pressure Washing Cedar Shake Siding

Cedar shake siding is a beautiful and durable option for homeowners, but it requires regular maintenance to keep it looking its best. One popular method of cleaning cedar shake siding is pressure washing, but there are some potential risks associated with this technique that homeowners should be aware of.

Potential Damage to Cedar Shake

While pressure washing can remove dirt, grime, and moss from cedar shake siding, it can also cause damage if not done properly. The high-pressure water can strip away the natural oils and protective coatings that help the cedar resist rot and decay. This can lead to the siding becoming more susceptible to moisture, which in turn can result in warping, splitting, or cracking of the shakes.

Infiltration of Water

Another risk of pressure washing cedar shake siding is the potential for water infiltration. If the streams of water are directed at the wrong angles or if the pressure is too high, it can force water behind the shakes. This can create a breeding ground for mold and mildew, as well as cause damage to the underlying structure of the house. Additionally, water infiltration can compromise the effectiveness of any insulation in the wall cavities.

It is important to note that these risks can be mitigated if proper precautions are taken. Consulting with a professional who has experience pressure washing cedar shake siding is recommended, as they can ensure the correct equipment, techniques, and water pressures are used to minimize the risk of damage. Additionally, using low-pressure washing or hand washing methods are alternative options for cleaning cedar shake siding that may be less risky.

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Questions and answers

Can I use a pressure washer to clean cedar shake siding?

Yes, you can use a pressure washer to clean cedar shake siding, but you need to be careful not to use too much pressure, as it can damage the wood. It is recommended to use a low-pressure setting and keep the nozzle at least 6-12 inches away from the siding.

What is the best way to clean cedar shake siding?

The best way to clean cedar shake siding is to use a soft brush or a low-pressure washer and a mild detergent solution. Gently scrub the siding with the brush or apply the detergent solution with the low-pressure washer, then rinse it off with clean water. Avoid using harsh chemicals or high-pressure washers, as they can cause damage to the wood.

Can I use bleach to clean cedar shake siding?

While bleach can be effective at removing mold and mildew stains on cedar shake siding, it is not recommended to use it as a regular cleaning solution. Bleach can damage the wood and strip it of its natural oils. It is best to use a mild detergent solution or a specialized wood cleaner for regular cleaning.

How often should I clean my cedar shake siding?

The frequency of cleaning cedar shake siding depends on various factors such as the location, climate, and exposure to elements. Generally, it is recommended to clean cedar shake siding once or twice a year. However, if you notice any mold, mildew, or dirt buildup, it is best to clean it as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

Can I power wash cedar shake siding?

While it is possible to power wash cedar shake siding, it is not recommended unless absolutely necessary. Power washing can be too harsh on the wood and may cause damage. If you decide to use a power washer, make sure to use the lowest pressure setting and keep the nozzle at a safe distance from the siding.