Stubborn stains like oil, grease, and grime can be very difficult to remove and clean when using traditional methods.
A pressure washer can be used to tackle even the hardest dirt. They can clean a wide variety of surfaces, materials, and equipment. One of the more common materials is concrete and brick.
What pressure washer size do you need to clean a concrete area?
A concrete area can take very high pressures of between 2300-3000 pounds per square inch (PSI). The pressure used is dependent on the stain that you are trying to remove, but most stains can be removed within this range.
There are some important considerations, however, such as pressure washing already damaged concrete. In this post, we take an in-depth look at how to properly pressure wash concrete so you get it done right the first time.
And what a lot of homeowners aren’t aware of when looking to get a pressure washer for their concrete jobs, is that even some of the more budget-friendly pressure washers can still get the job done.
Can you damage concrete by using a pressure washer?
Concrete is a hard-wearing material that is often used to lay driveways or construct walls with, because of this people typically think that they can use a power washer on their concrete but you need to be careful about how you use your pressure washer if you have areas that are damaged.
If you have cracks in your concrete you should think about getting them repaired by a professional.
Cracks can be a way of allowing moisture into the concrete under layer and eventually can cause serious structural problems.
When using a pressure washer in an area where cracks have appeared we would advise you to totally avoid the area or immediately dry the area after spraying it.
It’s always a good idea to ensure you are using the correct PSI with your pressure washer for whatever the job at hand is.
The area could be washed with more traditional methods, a stiff brush and detergent would be a good idea.
Make sure to pressure wash damaged areas of concrete during the summer months, this will help to dry out the damaged areas quickly and help to prevent moisture from getting under the surface of the concrete.
If water and moisture get under the surface it will lay there dormant and when the winter months come the water will expand causing pressure within the very structure of the concrete.
This can cause cracks to get bigger or areas of concrete to become very brittle and create holes within the concrete. This is also a concern when pressure washing a deck.
Should I seal my concrete before pressure washing?
People often seal their concrete by using a sealer that can be purchased from any hardware store or online marketplace.
Sealer is painted onto the surface using a paint roller and/or paintbrush, it is then left for a couple of hours to dry.
When painting on a seal, try to do it on a warm day and before dawn allowing the sealant to dry before the sun is at its height. One coat of sealant should be enough.
By sealing your concrete you are adding a hard layer between the concrete surface and the elements or, in this case, your pressure washer.
This will help to protect your concrete and stop your pressure washer from creating any more damage to already damaged areas.
What should I do if I can’t remove a stain on my concrete?
Sometimes stains are stubborn, and instead of wasting water, there are some other options to help tackle tough jobs.
If you have pressure washed your concrete and you still cannot remove some stains it may be worth trying to rub some neat bleach into the stain using a hard bristled brush, in circular movements.
The bleach should be immediately washed off using your pressure washer, so as not to damage the concrete or discolour it.
If this method still doesn’t remove the stain you may want to think about hiring a specialist pressure washer or professional with commercial equipment.
These pressure washers can operate at a higher pressure than a consumer pressure washer, sometimes in excess of 6000 PSI.
You should use extra special care when using one of these pressure washers as they can easily create damage if not used accordingly.
Another option would be to contact a professional jet wash company, by doing this you can be confident in knowing that the company knows what it is doing and has relevant insurance against accidental damage.
And lastly, it may be worth checking that your pressure washer is producing the right amount of pressure, as too low of pressure will impact your ability to effectively remove stains.
Precautions to take when pressure washing concrete
Pressure washing concrete can be a very rewarding activity, pressure washers cut through dirt and grime quite easily and can leave a concrete area looking like new.
But there are a few things you must take into account before, during, and after pressure washing your concrete surface.
When taking on the task of pressure washing a concrete area you should first make sure that you have the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) this consists of but is not limited to eye protection, ear protection, gloves, long-sleeved clothing and trousers, correct footwear and a dust mask.
Cleaning concrete can be a very dirty process, dust particles, grime, and dirt will be airborne whilst cleaning your concrete, creating hazards for your eyes, lungs, and exposed areas of skin.
You should also make anybody in the vicinity aware that you are about to undertake this task, you can do things by using signage, coning the area off, and of course, by word of mouth.
Pressure washers can be very loud, this stops you from being able to hear if someone encroaches onto the area you are cleaning.
When using bleach, solvents or detergents make sure to keep the containers out of reach of children and make sure that the caps are secured firmly, always read the label on the product you are using, and seek medical advice if you accidentally spill onto your self.
Whilst using your pressure washer always make sure you have situational awareness, making sure to mentally gauge where hoses and electric cables are.
By doing this you limit any trips or snags, which can each have very serious consequences when using a pressure washer around your home.
After you have completed washing the area make sure to put out signage or cordon off the area until the surface has dried. Smooth concrete can be very slippy in the right conditions.
When cleaning your concrete you should use pressure upwards of 2300 PSI, this should easily get rid of common problems, like dirt, grime, and mud.
If you have something more stubborn you should think about hiring a specialist machine or contacting a professional.