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Pressure Washing Cedar Siding: How to Power Wash Safely to Restore a Like-New Look

Updated: Mar 21

Cedar siding is an excellent exterior feature for any house, though maintaining cedar siding does involve some level of ongoing cleaning and upkeep.

In many cases, people will clean the exterior of their homes with a power washer when they have vinyl siding, though the unique features of cedar mean power washing this type of siding can be tricky.

So can I pressure wash cedar siding, and is pressure washing old cedar siding different from siding in a newer condition? Continue reading through this guide as we provide you with steps on how to pressure wash cedar siding safely to uncover fresher-looking siding.

Quality Cedar Products can meet all your cedar board needs. This blog is informational only and not a replacement for expert advice. Please consult a professional before starting any building project as your needs and specifications may vary and it may not reflect the most current building codes, regulations, or industry standards.

Can I Pressure Wash Cedar Siding?

Let’s begin by answering the burning question–can I pressure wash cedar siding or not? The answer is not as straightforward as you may like, but yes, you can–when done correctly.

Given the nature of pressure washing as a heavy-duty cleaning solution that uses highly pressurized water to remove dirt, buildup, and other debris, it can cause damage to cedar boards when utilized improperly.

However, when applied correctly at a low-pressure setting, pressure washing cedar siding can uncover a fresh and clean version of the boards after removing any chipping paint, dirt, and grime.

Should I Pressure Wash Cedar Siding?

So yes–you can pressure wash cedar siding, but should you actually do it? Given the potential risk of ruining the siding, is this a feasible cleaning solution to consider?

There are a few different ways to wash your cedar siding, though pressure washing old cedar siding is a great way to be efficient with your cleaning efforts, while also doing a thorough job to cut down on any mold, grime, and dirt buildup that is keeping your siding from looking pristine. Continue reading to hear about some of the additional benefits that can come from pressure washing old cedar siding.

Benefits of Pressure Washing Cedar Siding

One of the appeals of having cedar siding in the first place is the gorgeous and natural hues that it gives off. However, after a few years, the siding may look a little lackluster and miss some of the original appeal that it once had. So, using a pressure washer gives you a simple and effective way to restore the look of your cedar siding without all the elbow grease of individually scrubbing each piece of siding by hand.

And if you were wondering how long cedar siding lasts when cared for properly and frequently washed, the truth is that it can last quite some time, even up to 30 years in the right circumstances. Thus, a good regimen of power washing your cedar siding can enhance your curb appeal, lengthen the life of the cedar, give you a quick way to clean your home’s exterior, and get rid of harmful substances like mold and mildew that can break down your cedar siding.

How to Pressure Wash Cedar Siding: Step-by-Step Guide

Now let’s walk you through how to pressure wash cedar siding in a safe and effective way. As we’ve discussed, if done incorrectly you could face some serious damage to your siding given the soft nature of cedar wood. So, carefully follow these steps and you can ensure yourself a safe clean.

Find the Right Pressure Washer

When pressure washing cedar siding, you’ll want to look for a machine that is low-pressure or at least has a low-pressure setting. This will make sure you’re not using a machine that is too high-powered and will cause expensive damage to the siding. In general, a 3000 psi machine is more for heavy-duty surfaces like brick or metal, while a 1300 psi machine is a good match for cedar siding.

Make sure the power washer you select has a sizable detergent tank attached so you can apply this with ease to cut through any grime and buildup on the siding as you’re washing.

Prepare Your Home

Before you begin washing your siding, ensure all windows and doors are closed. The last thing you want after carefully power washing your cedar siding is to accidentally end up with a flooded home if a window was left cracked open.

Ensure any electrical elements like outlets or other switches are fully covered and will be protected from power washing. Any other aspects that should be left dry should be covered at this point as well.

Select a Good Detergent

Cedar siding durability and natural beauty are some of the main draws of this type of siding, though it is very prone to mold and mildew buildups, in addition to any other grime and dirt that accumulates on the siding.

Because of this, you want to use more than just water when power washing your cedar siding. There are many types of power washing detergents out there, so be sure to select one that will be easy on cedar wood.

In general, you will need a lot of detergent to cut through all the buildup on the siding, so make sure to have plenty of it on hand as you begin power washing it.

Spray on Detergent

With all the preparation steps taken care of, you’re ready to apply the cleaning agent and let it do its magic. Standing about two feet away from your house, spray the detergent on in even strokes, overlapping with each pass to make sure you’re not leaving any bare spots untreated.

Given that cedar is a soft wood, you’ll want to leave it soaking for a shorter amount of time than on other surfaces, around ten minutes. Continue on until you’ve covered the whole area.

If you need to work in sections in order to get the right amount of soaking time, feel free to do so. Then, continue on to the final step.

Rinse the Siding

Finally, you will use the power washer on a rinse setting to wash away the applied detergent, grime, mildew, and other substances that were built up. Start at the top and work your way down to ensure all the unwanted substances will be rinsed off the siding. This step will finally reveal the restored look of the cedar siding that you loved in the beginning.

After the siding has dried a bit after this step, you can redo the final two steps as desired to reach the look you’re after.

How to Repair Damage to Cedar Siding Caused by Pressure Washing

Even with the proper steps laid out, it’s possible to mess up and cause some damage to your cedar siding after pressure washing. If you stood too close to the siding or used a setting that was too high-pressured, you may notice some of the wood grains are lifted, and the siding has a “fuzzy” look to it. If this is the case, the main way to remedy this is by sanding down the wood until you’ve revealed a more smooth surface.

However, if the damage is too deep or widespread and you’d rather replace the siding, you can get all your exterior cedar siding at Quality Cedar Products - the #1 western red cedar lumber supplier in all of Canada.

Final Thoughts on Pressure Washing Cedar Siding

So now you know why pressure washing cedar siding can be so great, and how to do it safely and effectively. Learning how to care for cedar siding properly is an important aspect of having great-looking cedar used in your home, though starting with quality lumber in the first place cannot be overlooked.

At Quality Cedar Products, we offer a wide range of cedar posts and boards to fit any project you’re working on. We have cedar decking planks and cedar fence boards to enhance the look of your yard for anyone to see, and we even have cedar wood for saunas, the premier choice of wood for these projects.

Shop Quality Cedar Products today for any of your cedar lumber needs.

Quality Cedar Products does not assume any liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the information provided in this blog post. The reader is solely responsible for any actions taken based on the information presented. Any reliance on the information is at the reader's own risk. Quality Cedar Products is not responsible for any loss, injury, or damage that may occur as a result of following the suggestions, tips, or recommendations provided in this blog post. Building projects involve inherent risks, and it is essential to exercise caution, obtain proper permits, and engage qualified professionals to ensure safety and compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. The inclusion of external links, references, or recommendations in this blog post does not constitute endorsement or guarantee the quality, reliability, or suitability of the linked sources. The reader should independently verify the information and assess its relevance to their specific circumstances. The author reserves the right to modify, update, or remove the content of this blog post at any time without prior notice. It is recommended to check for the most recent updates or consult with professionals to ensure the information is current and applicable. By reading this blog post, the reader acknowledges and accepts the above disclaimer and agrees to use the information provided responsibly and at their own discretion.

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