Do you want the weathered brick, concrete patios and walkways to look spanking new? Just subject them to pressure washing, and your premises will appear pristine. What makes pressure washing so special? Hardscapes can be great materials for the outdoors and can last a very long time indeed. However, they require proper maintenance. If you don’t do regular cleaning or clean these in an improper or aggressive manner, you are liable to damage them. Read on to learn how to clean concrete surface efficiently with a concrete pressure washer.
What’ more, driveway power washing comes with a slew of distinct advantages. Let’s face it- a spic and span drive way (i) is more hygienic and (ii) has greater resale value. So why not opt for it?
Concrete Power Washing Of Driveway – how to clean concrete?
So what’s it all about?
- Preparing the area- You don’t straight away start pressure washing. You have to prepare for it first. Remove any loose material like dirt and stones from the driveway. If the driveway is adjoining a wall or doors, consider covering these with a tarp or painter’s tape. Also, determine if there is a slope on the driveway, down which water could flow. These are not tips that you can afford to ignore as it might damage your property once you start cleaning.
So this is what you need to do in order to prepare-get any children’s toys or outdoor furniture out of the way. Also watch out for any damaged part of the driveway that may need repairs. Dampen and make an attempt to cover any plants or a garden with a non -porous cover like a tarp or plastic table cloth. Make sure to seal places with no outlet covers with plastic tape. Besides, you will need to wear closed toe water resistant footwear and eye protection.
- Degreasing- It is difficult to tackle stubborn stains even with pressure washing. Using a degreaser will make more sense here. Once you have applied degreaser, you may use the pressure washer. See the difference? Some power washers even come fitted with a degreaser attachment. A stiff bristled brush or push broom could help you scrub the degreaser against the stained surface also.
- Get the driveway pressure washer ready-
What PSI pressure washer to clean concrete with? Well, a 3 gpi and 300 PSI driveway pressure washer is just right for brick and concrete cleaning jobs.
Cold Water vs. Hot Water Pressure Washer
The advantage of using cold-water pressure washers is that these are less expensive, and easier to use. The hot water ones require a heavy-duty heating coil and burner to heat the water. However the latter are quite useful when it is required to remove oil and grease.
Read the user manual from start to end for safe operation. Now, let me explain the basic procedure. Join the spray wand with the washer via a pressure hose. You may connect the washer with water supply via a garden hose.
You need to test the spray over a small area first to be used to its force.
You can tweak the spray power by
(a) making adjustments to the nozzle setting or
(b) altering the distance at which you keep the wand from the surface.
You need to use different nozzles for cleaning different surfaces – Use low-pressure nozzle for spraying detergent and high-pressure nozzle for rinsing. Never, ever use high-pressure nozzle on brick surfaces.
- Concrete Washer- Now it is the time for action – let us put the pressure washer to use. It makes sense to start cleaning steadily one section at a time. You have to ensure that you leave no streaks of unwashed parts. Clean according to the slope of the surface for effective draining. While cleaning, maintain a safe distance of 8 to 18 inches from the surface.
The spray needs to be kept at an angle from the surface you are cleaning to prevent any degradation of the brickwork or the concrete. Most importantly, you have to point the spray wand towards the surface of the drive. Pull the trigger and move the nozzle back and forth in a manner that each stroke overlaps by a few inches.
For tougher stains (like paint), the nozzle needs to be taken as close as three to four inches from the surface. Moreover, the strokes need to be very slow and deliberate to ensure better cleaning. Using a rotary nozzle instead of a standard fan nozzle can help increase speed of cleaning. The former deflects water at an angle to create a fan pattern which can reduce the speed, while the latter spins un-deflected water at higher speed.
You can clean a larger area with a rotating sweeping attachment. Its consistently rotating head prevents one’s arms from fatiguing. Make sure to spray the detergent on the entire area, leave it for about fifteen minutes or so. You may need to rewet the areas from time to time to ensure that it doesn’t dry out. You may also use a concrete surface cleaner to clean the surface. Sun Joe SPX3000 is one of the best concrete cleaner.
- Rinsing the concrete- Use the high-pressure nozzle and set in the rinse mode for rinsing the surface. Use sweeping pattern again to rinse away the detergent and spray away the grime or stains. Heavier stains would require tighter sweeps.
- Sealing the concrete- Let the concrete dry completely and then proceed to the next step – treat it with a sealant to prevent future stains. Use a roller with an extension poll to seal the concrete. You will need about a day’s time to let the sealant dry before you can start using the driveway again.
How to pressure wash driveway (Brick)?
First, the brick driveway needs to be soaked with water using the most delicate spray nozzle. So let’s get down to business. You have to ensure that the soaking is complete, as you don’t want the detergent to be absorbed.
Now apply detergent with an appropriate nozzle. Let it rest for five minutes even while you ensure that the surface remains wet for the entire duration.
Next with the 25-degree rinsing nozzle, remove every bit of the grime, dirt, mildew and detergent.
With brick driveway, more detergent and less pressure does the trick as you don’t want the mortar to be severely damaged.
So, here comes the most intriguing question – how much to charge to pressure wash a driveway? Pressure wash driveway cost ranges from as low as $80 to $200. Price varies based on the driveway surface and expertise of the professional.
Can a pressure washer damage concrete?
This depends upon a number of factors:
- Quality – The better the quality of concrete, the less likely it is to be damaged by pressure washing. This is because it ends up absorbing more water as it contains many tiny holes. This can really damage the concrete. It may be a good idea to consult an expert about the quality of the concrete before commencing pressure washing.
- Age – It is a bad idea to use a pressure cleaner on concrete that is less than a year old. Why? Concrete would not have had time to bond completely. Besides, it would not really need any pressure washing if you have laid the concrete within 1 year or so.
- How well you use the pressure washer– It’s a no-brainer – If you don’t operate the unit in the right manner, you may end up causing damage. Applying too much pressure while cleaning can damage the surface. You need to use the nozzle that sprays the water uniformly, rather than focusing at one spot.
- How frequently you use the washer- You think more washing is always good. Wrong? If you decide to wash concrete every now and then, you will end up damaging it. When you get a new pressure washer, you would be well advised to take your time removing years of accumulated dirt and grime. However, once you are done with pressure cleaning, you don’t need to indulge in such heavy duty washing for a year or so. You can’t be pressure cleaning for a lark every other week. You will wreck the concrete.
Your decision to pressure clean concrete has to be a considered one. If you think that it will cause damage to the concrete, you should of course not do it. But if on the other hand you think that you need to carry out some heavy duty cleaning in light of the years of neglect go right ahead. The tips above will ensure that you will do it the right way and not cause any unintended damage. Of course the results obtained by pressure cleaning are always well worth the trouble. It is for you to weigh the pros and cons of using a concrete pressure washer and to take the decision.