Adventures in pressure washing and other outdoor projects

July 19, 2014 at 3:04 pm

After the trauma of having our house tented for termites

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and having a dozen of our pool cage screen panels cut, then repaired…

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things were feeling somewhat back to normal around here. And by normal, I mean covered in dirt and mildew after a year of Florida heat and humidity. We had not pressure-washed the pool deck since last summer and you could tell.

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The pebble stone decking was looking pretty grungy, even after I swept it all after the pool cage repairs.

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You may remember that Chad got a pressure washer for Father’s Day.

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Apparently the gift included labor…mine. I knew we would have lots of friends and family to entertain this summer so I could not wait to put the pressure washer to use. That thing is an amazing tool and gives great instant gratification.

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When I first started my pressure washing adventure the boys and a neighbor friend were in the pool.

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They wanted to get in on the act…for about five minutes before they realized that it was actually work.

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I realized that I needed to buy an extension for my hose in order to be able to reach the other side of the pool, but I spent hours the first day doing all of the areas that I could reach.

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Much better, right?

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It was still wet in these photos, and looked like new after it dried, I swear.

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One of the worst areas for mildew and algae was the area where our lounge chairs sit. Before and after:

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It feels so good.

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The area where our old picnic table sits is a low spot and also had tons of mildew and algae. Before and after:

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That was about as much as I could do in one day. Good thing we have an outdoor shower.

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I probably put in about 4 hours, but my hands were in a permanent claw position by that time and my whole body was vibrating from holding the sprayer for so long. I worked in my bathing suit so that when I was done I could shower off and jump in the pool. Awesome. Our pool deck covers quite a bit of real estate, and it took me three days to completely pressure wash the pool deck.

I saved the worst section for last.

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This was the part of the deck that really had no planter that I could “push” the dirt into.

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I removed the brick border in the little planter at the end of the deck in this photo:

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but there was just too much mud to push it all into there. It was amazing how much pure mud was collected after pressure washing this area of the deck.

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It’s not like the deck was muddy before. This is just the concentrated mildew, algae, and dirt that previously had been evenly spread across the whole deck. I had to resort to scooping it out and carrying it out into the yard.

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This was so fun. Doesn’t this look like a good time?

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I meant to come back out at a later date and take true “after” photos, but we got so busy enjoying the space over the summer that I forgot. So I snapped a few just now of what it is looking like today, about three weeks after I cleaned it all.

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Ignore the green pool. We’re working on it. But if you scroll up and compare it to our usual beautiful turquoise water, you can see that we are having issues. It’s been raining non-stop for days, and we had a broken filter in our pump. It is has been repaired but will take a few days to clear up. Just focus on the clean pebble decking.

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The green pool is not stopping the boys and friends from swimming. Don’t worry…it’s safe!

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It was pouring down rain when I took that photo. Kids don’t care.

At some point during all of my outdoor cleaning frenzy I took a break and helped Mack reorganize his room.

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We cleaned his whole room, but he was most psyched about his new Nerf gun wall.

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After finishing the back I could not overcome my pressure washing addiction and moved around to the front porch, but I got sidetracked by this huge vine growing on one of the posts for the gate to the side-yard. I started by just cutting it back a bit and didn’t take a “before” photo because I didn’t realize this was going to be a project…but imagine the post to the left of the gate below completely hidden, and a vine blocking half of the gate.

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This vine always drove me crazy because it grew so fast. I would cut it back A LOT and by the next day the walkway would practically be blocked again. It was basically Little Shop of Horrors over there and I don’t care for the overgrown look. In our tropical paradise, it’s hard to stay on top of the overgrowth.

This entire pile is comprised of just the vine that was covering that post (and a few palm fronds I picked up from the planting bed as well):

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The vine was well-attached to the post and was hanging on for dear life.

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I hacked away at it for an hour or so until I was down to this:

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That was one crazy vine. I had to pry it away from the brick.

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It felt great to obliterate that vine. I paid the boys an allowance to haul all that yard waste back to our dumpster trash can in the alley.

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It took them about 10 trips with the wheelbarrow.

Finally I was ready to return to my precious pressure-washing. The front porch was my next victim.

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I had swept the front porch a few times, but we had not cleaned it since we moved in over a year ago. It was pretty gross.

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Mildew and algae everywhere.

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We had the shrubbery that was against the front porch removed in April as half of it was dead. New flowering bushes were installed and were starting to fill in until we had the house tented for termites. The tents crushed the plants and also burned them…afterwards they were noticeably thinner and feeble and the cracked and mildewed wall of the front porch was very visible where before it had been hidden behind shrubs.

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The front porch was very sad.

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But the pressure washer is a miracle-worker.

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Who knew that the grout was not supposed to be black?

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This was the ultimate in satisfaction. Tell me that this tile and grout do not look brand new:

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All of the stains on the front of the porch wall did not come off with pressure washing, but it looked much, much better.

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I also pressure-washed all of the porch furniture and the front steps.

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I considered painting the front wall of the porch, possibly a similar color to the tile or some color that would make it blend in rather than stand out. But then I decided that I didn’t feel like tackling that particular painting job in the heat. Maybe this fall. The new bushes are starting to recover and should fill back in eventually so that the white porch wall will not be so visible. In the meantime I’m just ignoring the cracks and stains.

I also have plans to paint all of the porch furniture so that it doesn’t disappear into the house color like it does now. That will also wait for cooler, dryer weather. Paint won’t dry outside right now, I don’t think. It’s like a sauna out there.

That was four intense days of outdoor work and we have been enjoying it ever since.

Cya.

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