Homeowner tip of the day:
We've been repairing our fence and deck at home. One down side to that is that the new boards don't match the old boards at all. The old boards are grey and weathered.
At least, I always thought they were grey because they were weathered. But it turns out that no, they were just dirty. (Funny how that happens to fence posts and deck rails that sit outside for twenty years.)
The answer is a wonderful device called a pressure washer. You hook it to a hose, plug it in, and it shoots out a high-pressure spray of water that cleans anything. The results are phenomenal. Turns out that under that grey exterior, there's wood that actually looks like wood!
It does expose some flaws, too. It strips off all the sealant we've put on over the years, and it also strips off any part of the wood that's damaged or weakened. So some of the wood comes out looking a little, well, furry. But a little sanding would take care of that. Using a lower speed setting and a wider spray pattern helps.
It's even more amazing to watch the pressure washer in action, and see the color change as it happens. Here's an up-close look.
We looked into renting a pressure washer, but apparently the ones available for rent are huge gas-powered monstrosities more likely to rip the fence apart rather than just clean the dirt off. And the rental fee is about what it costs to buy a brand new electric pressure washer. Ours is nothing special, just the one that was on sale at the local Harbor Freight.
The only bad thing about the pressure washer is that it makes you
want to spend all your time sitting outside watching the wood dry
to see how the colors will come out. On second thought, on a nice
summer Saturday afternoon, maybe that's not such a bad thing!
Update: several years later, I still think pressure washers are pretty
neat tools. But I'm regretting posting this, because it turns out there are
so many spammers who try to spam every page containing the phrase
"pressure washer" with their buy-online links. This article may be the
biggest spam magnet on my entire site.
I'm leaving the page up, but I want to stress that we bought the one from the brick and mortar store Harbor Freight -- they put it on sale quite regularly, and coupons are easy to find -- and that if you buy online from a place with "pressurewasher" in the URL, there's a good chance that you're rewarding spammers. My apologies to any pressure washer companies out there who don't spam.
[ 22:50 Jun 20, 2013 More misc | permalink to this entry | comments ]