Slightly North of Zero: The Unexpected Joy of Pressure Washing



This summer I have become obsessed with pressure washing. For people who know me, this is pretty surprising. I am more of an inside worker. I look after the day to day cooking, cleaning, shopping and of course, the laundry. I enjoy being outside, but aside from mowing the lawn, my skills are limited. Gardening is definitely not my forte. Up until I started the fabulous “Spuds in Tubs” program at school three years ago, I killed everything. Painting is another dud. I’m great with base coats and white, but anything requiring finesse is beyond my capability. I tell my mother it is her fault because she would never let me help out with the painting when I was a kid (Sorry mom).

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It all started in the spring with my enthusiastic neighbour, Janet. She is one of those women who do it all. She is always working on some project around the house. This July she was hosting a garden party for her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. In the months of May and June, the hum of the pressure washer was constant. It became so commonplace that we didn’t even hear it anymore.

One afternoon at the beginning of the summer, my husband said to me, “Say, doesn’t your mother have a pressure washer?” Over the winter, he had been working industriously to design sails and install posts for the Australian sunshade sails that we were installing over the back patio. We wanted to make the area more usable. The sunshade sails and some comfortable furniture would allow us to use the space in the spring and fall, as well as the summer. Since I usually take responsibility for a project while I am not working, we decided that I should borrow my mother’s pressure washer and clean the concrete patio tiles before the sunshade sails arrived.

I was feeling pretty indifferent about pressure washing. Yes, it would give me something to do. Yes, the weather was sunny and warm. But really, was it going to make that much difference? I didn’t think the tiles were very dirty. They just looked worn.

Wow, was I wrong! As the dirt and moss were slowly removed from the tiles and the crevasses between the tiles, the patio was rejuvenated, and I was hooked. What else could I pressure wash? I moved onto the wooden deck at the back of the house. Being on the north side, the boards had darkened and there was a thin layer of green, slimy moss on them. This was no problem for the pressure washer. My next project was the wooden Adirondack chairs on the front porch. They were in a sorry state, but the pressure washed cleaned them up nicely.

I temporarily digressed from the pressure washing to deal with the Adirondack chairs. My husband had been pestering me for years to paint them. I finally gave in. We went up to Dulux and bought some grey base coat and some snazzy blue paint. I spent a week working on them, and then my husband swooped in with the paint gun and sprayed on the final coat!

I looked at the front deck. It had 10 years of dirt and slime built up on it. There was no way I was putting my new Adirondack chairs up there. This was serious business, and I wasn’t sure my mother’s electric pressure washer was up to it. Luckily, my neighbour, Ted, came along and offered me his 2900-psi gas powered pressure washer. I was a little intimidated, but after a quick tutorial, I realized it was just like our Honda lawnmower, and I enthusiastically dove in.

The front deck with our "new" Adirondack chairs.

There is something very satisfying and mentally liberating about pressure washing. It has made me look at my house and its surroundings differently. It has gotten to the point where I was over at my neighbour’s house the other day and I noticed that his driveway needed pressure washing. Personally, I am already making a list of my next projects. I plan to tackle the gutters and the driveway when we return from camping. I even told my husband that we needed to buy our own gas pressure washer. Naturally, he is tickled pink!

The "new" me.

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