Back Porch Exterior Cleanup

Pressure Wash

One Thing Leads To Another

I'm going to try and keep this short.  The facts are simple:
  • The siding on the back porch has been dirty for a long time
  • It needed cleaning
  • I cleaned it
  • Cleaning it lead to another couple of very small tasks.
Let's get into it!

Light Ray's Speed Decreases When Traveling Through A Refractive Medium - Snell

Unfortunately, this is one of those projects that, even with before pictures, it's hard to really show what I'm talking about.  It's kind of like the difference between having a black car versus having a white car.  Speaking of which, just a little aside here...I now have a new SUV!  For the last nine years I've been driving my beloved 2014 Jeep Patriot...white, which did a great job hiding the dirt!

But it was starting to have some significant repair issues, so a couple days ago I pick up a brand new Subaru Forster black.  We'll see how the dirt affects my psyche!

I suppose what I'm trying to say is, because 173's primary house color is white, it hides the dirt pretty well, especially in pictures.  In this shot from about 2016, the back porch siding is starting to show the dirt, but it's hard to see here...:

But the dirt really shows in the winter, although - still not really great in pictures...

Nevertheless, it was getting downright grimy!

Finally Making The Move

The dirt has been bugging me for a few years now, and a few years ago I started cleaning it with a brush and bucket of water.  An area of about 3 feet by 3 feet took me about half an hour, and didn't look much cleaner afterwards.  I knew that method was never going to work!  Then a couple years ago I picked up a small pressure washer, and finally made the move to clean the siding.  No idea why I waited so long!

Tools Required

  • Pressure Washer
  • Water
  • Ladder
  • Ladder stabilizer
  • Supervising pooch, Linus

The Job

The whole job didn't take much longer than maybe an hour and a half or so.  The ladder stabilizer has been a game changer - make the ups and down so much easier these days (I'm not quite as young as I once was).  

If you look closely to the left of the ladder, you can see just how dirty the area to the right was.

A little closer view!

The Greenworks Pressure Washer surprised me:  With the old pipes in my house I've never been able to use a pressure washer because my hose couldn't keep up with the flow needed. I saw this one in the store and it only needed 1.2 gallons/minute and the price was good enough to get me to try it. I'm so glad I did. This little unit is easy to set up, move around, and store when done. It is surprisingly powerful and made quick work of cleaning projects around my house that have irritated me for years. It comes with 2 nozzles, I purchased a box of additional spray pattern nozzles and found the 15 degree one to be a great match for cleaning my sidewalks. Would recommend to anyone.  - Kris, May 16, 2023. Lowes Website


And just like that, the back porch looked all sparkly clean - with one exception.  Yes, the pressure washer removed the dirt and grime, but with it came this kind of white chalk.  When everything dried, it left behind a chalky white film on the porch windows and the door (probably other places but less noticeable).  

I looked up this chalk and the answer as to what it is was quite simple.  That chalk is "a natural process that happens when the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) material is exposed to oxygen and other natural elements as well as dirt and grime build-up." - Pressure Washing Charlotte

You probably can't really see it on the picture above, but trust me - there's a chalky film all over the window.  Obviously, that would need to be addressed!


Quite frankly, there was only one real solution to the chalk on the windows - clean them!  So an hour or so with a bucket of  Windex infused water, and a few rags took care of all that chalk.  It kind of worked out because the back porch windows were due for a cleaning anyway.  

Some early posts about the exterior at 173:
∙ New Windows and Door for the Front Porch - December, 2011
A Little Pop to the Front Stoop - June, 2013
∙ New House Numbers! - August, 2013
∙ Of Wisteria and Wobblies - September, 2013
Oh! And here's the Evolution of the Front Stoop Megapost

Leading To One Last Thing

SOme time in the last year or so, I noticed that the trim around the windows on the back porch was starting to be a bit soiled, worn through, and as you can see in this next picture, it was also gatoring a bit...

So, while I had the water out already, I washed the trim down, pulled out some leftover white paint...

And, as much as I don't enjoy painting, I was able to repaint the trim in about 15 minutes in total!

And in a wink of the eye - the back porch looked fresh again!  

And that's the story of (finally) cleaning the siding on the back porch - and more!  Hope you enjoyed and, see ya' next time!
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