I am fortunate to live in an older home that presents lots of challenges and “repair opportunities” (Euphemism of the day). I am now attending to some badly neglected exterior painting. I have learned that there is no way to get new paint to stick if you try to paint over oxidized or peeling paint. After scraping for a while realized that I would be scraping off old paint on this house for the next year so I sought out a better way.
One option is power washing. I have never done much with power washers so I rented on from Timp rentals in American Fork. The rental costs $15 per hour or $60 per day. After three hours I was done so I spent about $50 with tax and gas and saved myself untold hours of work and pain. I had to play around with holding the wand the right distance from the surface, but it really is not rocket science. About 6 inches seemed to work right for me.
As you can see this method is not perfect. There are still a few spots where some cracked paint was not removed, but it is adhered well so once I prime and paint again I am thinking that it will look alright. In some areas almost all of the old paint came off, but in other areas that were not as bad most of the paint remained after power washing.
It also worked really well on concrete. If you have some old concrete it can look almost new again with a little power washing.
Overall, renting a power washer was money well spent! Give it a shot.