Maintenance guy w/noob question

I’m the maintenance guy for our facility and I’ve been enlisted to wash our building! It’s a combination of metal siding, brick and concrete. I’m new to using pressure washers the “right way”. I’ve been trying to do my homework and have read up on the web about using an x-jet nozzle. The company owns a Stihl RB 600. I know it’s not the best but it’s what the boss got back in the spring, so it’s all I have to work with. We recently purchased a X-jet M5 after I showed them some videos on the web.

I guess my question is… Is there any special considerations I need to take into account with the metal siding. Yes, it is metal not aluminum. I’ve read on some metal building manufacturer websites about just using like 1/3 cup of laundry detergent per 5 gal of water and use that for the “wash”.

I greatly appreciate any tips or info. I just don’t want to be the one to mess the building up and end up having a really expensive paint job!

I’ve tried to upload a pic of the building, hopefully it shows up.


No offense but trying to learn on a commercial building is a bad idea. You could end up doing 10x the damage of what it would cost to have a professional do it. We put out good advice on this forum but you have to do some serious reading on here before you should even consider washing a building.

2nd thing is we have no idea what you are trying to wash off. We need pictures… a lot of pictures. Pictures you uploaded didn’t post.

I understand your boss wants you to do it. But you recommended the x jet and must have implied that you could do it. Tread lightly and carry a big stick!


Main thing with painted metal is make sure the paint isn’t oxidized
If not then it’s kinda hard to damage that with soap n water and a little pressure. Lol
If there’s algae on building then use some chlorine bleach in your mix.

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I didn’t imply that I could do it, the “perform any other tasks necessary” on my scope of work implied that I can do it. Like I said, I’m the maintenance guy. I do anything from mowing the grass to working on 480V high voltage equipment, unclogging toliets and anything in between… My job is to perform research and find solutions for things I don’t know how to do. We are in a rural area and there isn’t a company that does pressure washing within about a 60 mile radius. The only company that does anything similar is for washing heavy duty mining equipment. I gave them a call and they weren’t interested.

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Is that alucobond

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I’m not 100% sure… It is definitely a panel system… The panels are like a"thick "garage door material. Textured like a garage door also, not smooth.

I’m trying to find the spec book for the facility but the only thing I’ve found so far is a brochure for “Proclad Metl-span” insulated metal panels. The building is approximately 20 years old and I’ve been here 8 years… I didn’t see anything in the blueprints but a lot of stuff has been put in storage. I’ll dig around later today.

Im not sure of the flow but that looks very straight forward. Some SH and a surfactant applied by xjet should get it done

I thought sh on MCM was a nono

Yea don’t take this advice. Not until you know the material. If its a painted aluminum or painted metal of sorts and its pigment it failing then SH will make it run like crazy…

He knows the brick isnt steel or aluminum.Sh and soap on that. The panels could be soaped only and should still get clean.

I can’t upload from my phone but they are metal panels, do appear to be painted… Several have small rust spots where they’ve been hit in the past. I’ll upload more pics later… Still looking for the spec book.

unless he tapes and tarps off the upper metal section i don’t see him not getting sh on the brick while spraying it…

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I must be missing the reason you’re concerned with getting sh on the brick

You know what he meant.

We all give bad advice once in a while, learn from it and move on. No point in trying to change or go back on what you meant. I give bad advice daily…we all do not on purpose


Im not supposed to assume me meant exactly what he said but its cool to assume more than I said? Gotcha. Im not sure what bad advice you feel was given. Was I wrong for saying it seemed to be a straight forward job with a surfactant, SH, and an x jet? Do people not wash coated aluminum siding and painted steel daily with SH and surfactant? I know I have plenty of times. If he is concerned with oxidation he can back off the pressure applied, back off the SH, or not hit the panels at all. He appears to have been doing his research. Seems he could tell easily with if its chalky oxidation with a test like everyone always suggests and Im sure he’s seen. Either way, I have given no advice other than saying I see it as a very straight forward job and I do. I mean he is the maintenance guy at this facility.

Seems he can play with the mix since he is not a pro and time isnt so much against him. Try the soap solutions 1st, then actual chemical versions last.

Yes, I am the all in one do all maintenance guy… I don’t do this for a living (pressure washing). I do have a Masters Electricians, Master Plumbers license, HVAC and licensed to apply herbicides/pesticides so I am teachable! I don’t really have any desire to get into this as I make a decent living, however, I do like to know what I’m doing to an extent before just jumping head first and possibly really messing something up, regardless of what it is…

From what I found it they are just “metal panels” with a Valspar Fluropon coating. According to a link I found online from Valspar they recommend using Tide detergent - link → Coil & Extrusion Coatings | Sherwin-Williams

All in all it’s no big deal. I’ve expressed my concerns to my boss about what I had read about aluminum siding and issues people have it with, from my watching YouTube vids. I just didn’t know if metal had the same issues as aluminum.

I stated in the original post we have a Stihl RB 600… it’s a 3200psi @ 3gpm machine. Not the best in the world but it’s what I’ve got to work with. Also, as I did state and took flack over, I had done some initial research and was lead to believe that something something like an X-jet was the way to go to reduce the pressure be the “safer” route.

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The purpose of the xjet is allow an injection point that you are able to control a ratio on with inserts of varying orifice sizes. The orifice size of the tips is how you control or reduce the pressure applied. In a way the xjet can accomplish this too though. Its main function would be to allow you to control a mix ration though. You can shoot 40’ in a straight beam or 4’ in a fan pattern all with the same mix ratio