Tips For Successful Concrete Pressure Washing

Posted on: 28 August 2015

Whether you're trying to clean a concrete patio, garage floor or sidewalk, sometimes a pressure washer is the best tool for the job. In order for that pressure washer to be truly effective without damaging the concrete, though, you need to make sure that you're doing it properly. It all starts with having the right supplies and equipment. Here are some things that you should know before you rent a pressure washer to clean your concrete surfaces.

Choosing the Right Washer

Pressure washers come in two varieties. Some pressure washers rely on a cold water supply, providing just a high-pressure water stream. This can be more than enough for environments where you're just trying to rinse things down or use the high-pressure water to get dried debris off the surface.

Hot water pressure washers, on the other hand, use heated water. This can be beneficial when you're trying to cut through grease and other debris, because heat can break these things down better than cold water in many cases. And when you're using a detergent of any kind, hot water may help the detergent dissolve better.

Picking the Right Nozzle

The nozzle that you use on your pressure washer will change the angle of the water stream, which can change how the pressure is directed. There are several different tip sizes to choose from, so take some time to evaluate them when you look for your pressure washer rental.

When you're washing concrete, you'll probably want a nozzle that's rated at about 15 degrees, because that gives you a water stream that's not straight but has enough pressure behind it to clean the surface. A straight stream, or zero degree, nozzle is going to be too much pressure for many surfaces, because the amount of pressure behind the water in a straight stream can be intense. The nozzles that are 15 degrees or similar add a slight angle to the water when it comes out, easing the pressure of the stream slightly.

Using the Right Detergent

There are many different commercial detergents available for washing concrete, including some that come in small, dissolvable packets. These are usually easy enough to use on garage floors, patios and the like. If you want a quick and easy cleaning, this may be the best alternative for you.

If, however, you prefer to create your own pressure washer detergent, you can do that easily with some all-purpose cleaner, bleach and a powdered laundry detergent. You can create a mixture of two parts powdered laundry detergent and one part powdered all-purpose cleaner to create about a cup of powdered mix. Add that mix to a gallon of water with about two cups of bleach. Make sure everything is dissolved before you use it.

Conducting the Right Tests

Before you can wash the whole surface, you should test the concrete to make sure that you aren't going to damage it. It may be more brittle than it looks, so it's in your best interest to be sure that it will hold up. Clean a small spot (about eight or ten inches in diameter) and wait about a half-hour for it to dry. As long as the surface isn't damaged, you should be all set.

Spray carefully when you're working around cracks. If you hit the edge of a crack just right, you're likely to cause it to chip. The last thing you want to do is turn a small fracture into a deep crack or split the whole concrete pad.

If the surface of the concrete is heavily damaged, dry or cracked, you may not want to use a pressure washer to clean it. Consider cleaning it by hand or hiring a professional pressure washing company to do the work for you. They may be able to clean it without causing further damage.

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