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Power Washing

Part 1 – Part 2

Part 2

After finishing the edge on the garage, I turned the power washer on the front walk and steps.  The walk and steps, previously concrete, were redone in brick around 2005, and my mother power washes them every year.  So this was the regular annual cleaning, and as such, there was only a year’s worth of crud on there.  That’s not to say, however, that there was not a noticeable difference after I was finished.


The "before" photos of the walk and steps.  Looks pretty good already, especially when compared to the other things that I washed, but it still could be better.  The "before" photos of the walk and steps.  Looks pretty good already, especially when compared to the other things that I washed, but it still could be better.

The “before” photos of the walk and steps.  Looks pretty good already, especially when compared to the other things that I washed, but it still could be better.

The "before" photos of the walk and steps.  Looks pretty good already, especially when compared to the other things that I washed, but it still could be better.  The "before" photos of the walk and steps.  Looks pretty good already, especially when compared to the other things that I washed, but it still could be better.


The first swath of cleaned brick and mortar on the walk.

The first swath of cleaned brick and mortar on the walk.


Comparison of washed vs. unwashed.  Quite a striking difference for just a year!

Comparison of washed vs. unwashed.  Quite a striking difference for just a year!


The end of the walk next to the stairs, after power washing.

The end of the walk next to the stairs, after power washing.


The other end of the walk, after cleaning and after drying, while work on the stairs was underway.

The other end of the walk, after cleaning and after drying, while work on the stairs was underway.


Getting rid of the gunk under the mat.  Notice the difference between the cleaned area and the area that's still dirty.

Getting rid of the gunk under the mat.  Notice the difference between the cleaned area and the area that’s still dirty.


The stairs, after washing was complete.  The stairs, after washing was complete.

The stairs, after washing was complete.


Yeah, this power washing is a dirty job, especially when you're washing next to mulch.  I ended up taking another shower after this to get cleaned up again.

Yeah, this power washing is a dirty job, especially when you’re washing next to mulch.  I ended up taking another shower after this to get cleaned up again.


That was it for the power washing session on June 8.  After this, I got my stuff together and headed back up to Maryland, on a very difficult drive home due to heavy rains.  It washed the runoff from the power washing away, but was a beast to drive through.

When I was down again in early September, I identified something else that needed cleaning: the picnic table.  My parents have had that picnic table for probably around 20 years, as we got it not long after moving to Virginia.  And over the intervening two decades, it got quite dirty – dirtier than anything that I had power washed in June.  The picnic table had also turned a greenish-brown color like the other wood items that I had power washed, but more so than the others.  There were also discolored spots left over from when my mother had kept potted plants on the table.  In short, this was especially ripe for a power washing.


The picnic table in its usual location, prior to washing.  Note the very dark color of the upper surfaces, and notice the markings from where the potted plants used to be.  Would you ever want to eat at this table?  The picnic table in its usual location, prior to washing.  Note the very dark color of the upper surfaces, and notice the markings from where the potted plants used to be.  Would you ever want to eat at this table?

The picnic table in its usual location, prior to washing.  Note the very dark color of the upper surfaces, and notice the markings from where the potted plants used to be.  Would you ever want to eat at this table?

The picnic table in its usual location, prior to washing.  Note the very dark color of the upper surfaces, and notice the markings from where the potted plants used to be.  Would you ever want to eat at this table?  The picnic table in its usual location, prior to washing.  Note the very dark color of the upper surfaces, and notice the markings from where the potted plants used to be.  Would you ever want to eat at this table?


Taking a look at the underside of the table after moving it onto the grass to avoid mulch and shrubbery in the table's usual location.  The underside was pretty dirty as well, though not nearly as much as the upper surfaces.  Taking a look at the underside of the table after moving it onto the grass to avoid mulch and shrubbery in the table's usual location.  The underside was pretty dirty as well, though not nearly as much as the upper surfaces.

Taking a look at the underside of the table after moving it onto the grass to avoid mulch and shrubbery in the table’s usual location.  The underside was pretty dirty as well, though not nearly as much as the upper surfaces.


Let the power washing begin!

Let the power washing begin!


Looking at how the first test area came out, I could tell that this was going to be especially satisfying when it was finished.

Looking at how the first test area came out, I could tell that this was going to be especially satisfying when it was finished.


Part of the first board of one of the benches is done, showing the difference between dirty and clean.  The wood looks almost new after cleaning.

Part of the first board of one of the benches is done, showing the difference between dirty and clean.  The wood looks almost new after cleaning.


The first board of one of the benches is done.  Compare the color of this one vs. its mate.

The first board of one of the benches is done.  Compare the color of this one vs. its mate.


The first bench is now completely done.  It looks new again!

The first bench is now completely done.  It looks new again!


I admit that I had a bit of fun with this one.  I knew my way around the power washer, and so I wrote "HELLO" in the gunk on the other bench.

I admit that I had a bit of fun with this one.  I knew my way around the power washer, and so I wrote “HELLO” in the gunk on the other bench.


Now washing the other bench, both boards at once this time.

Now washing the other bench, both boards at once this time.


Action shot.

Action shot.


Detail on the bench showing the difference between the part that's been cleaned and the part that hasn't.  It looked like a layer over the wood.

Detail on the bench showing the difference between the part that’s been cleaned and the part that hasn’t.  It looked like a layer over the wood.


Both benches now clean.  Time to work on the top.

Both benches now clean.  Time to work on the top.


And in doing the top, I switched to the round attachment and did something silly.  Since the plan was also to post it to Reddit, I used the round attachment to draw the Reddit alien with "POWER WASH" beneath in the gunk on the top of the table.

And in doing the top, I switched to the round attachment and did something silly.  Since the plan was also to post it to Reddit, I used the round attachment to draw the Reddit alien with “POWER WASH” beneath in the gunk on the top of the table.

And in doing the top, I switched to the round attachment and did something silly.  Since the plan was also to post it to Reddit, I used the round attachment to draw the Reddit alien with "POWER WASH" beneath in the gunk on the top of the table.


Blasting away the gunk on the edges.

Blasting away the gunk on the edges.


One edge complete.

One edge complete.


The entire top of the table is done except the Reddit alien.

The entire top of the table is done except the Reddit alien.


Half of the Reddit alien is now gone.

Half of the Reddit alien is now gone.


The Reddit alien has been completely power washed away, meaning that the top is clean.

The Reddit alien has been completely power washed away, meaning that the top is clean.


Now it's time to work on the underside.

Now it’s time to work on the underside.


More lines between dirty and clean.  The accumulation of crud was quite uneven below the tops of the table, as the legs had far more on them than the support beams.  More lines between dirty and clean.  The accumulation of crud was quite uneven below the tops of the table, as the legs had far more on them than the support beams.

More lines between dirty and clean.  The accumulation of crud was quite uneven below the tops of the table, as the legs had far more on them than the support beams.


The difference between dirty and clean on a support beam for the tabletop.

The difference between dirty and clean on a support beam for the tabletop.


All finished!

All finished!


And the table is back in its usual place after everything was done.

And the table is back in its usual place after everything was done.


These photos were taken the morning after I washed it, i.e. about 15 hours later.  It's partly dry after sitting overnight, and it looks practically new.

These photos were taken the morning after I washed it, i.e. about 15 hours later.  It’s partly dry after sitting overnight, and it looks practically new.

These photos were taken the morning after I washed it, i.e. about 15 hours later.  It's partly dry after sitting overnight, and it looks practically new.


These were taken a day later, after the table was completely dry.  I'm particularly proud of this job, as the table looks brand new again, despite its being 20 years old.  These were taken a day later, after the table was completely dry.  I'm particularly proud of this job, as the table looks brand new again, despite its being 20 years old.

These were taken a day later, after the table was completely dry.  I’m particularly proud of this job, as the table looks brand new again, despite its being 20 years old.

These were taken a day later, after the table was completely dry.  I'm particularly proud of this job, as the table looks brand new again, despite its being 20 years old.  These were taken a day later, after the table was completely dry.  I'm particularly proud of this job, as the table looks brand new again, despite its being 20 years old.


And that is what happens when you give me a power washer and some dirty items to clean.  As you can see, I do good work.  There are a few other things that I want to power wash at my parents’ house, but this is still a great improvement over the way things looked before.

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Part 1 – Part 2

Part 2