How to Get the Best Results from Patio Pressure Washing
Avoid Permanent Stains and Discoloration to Patios with Correct Pressure Washing Techniques
Patios are a great place to enjoy outdoor living, dining and entertainment in the warm weather months. However, they are magnets for dust, dirt, pollen and grass clippings. And over time patios begin to accumulate growth like algae, lichens, moss and mildew that make them look dirty and dingy.
And when those organisms aren’t eradicated on a regular basis, it can cause long term stains to brick, pavers and concrete material of the patio which can never be removed. This is why we recommend getting patios cleaned annually.
Unfortunately, there is a ton of information online about pressure washing patios, much of which is not the safest way to clean your patio. Improper pressure, detergent, and technique can all cause irreparable damage to hardscape patios. Here’s the best approach to patio pressure washing.
Prepare the Patio Surface
When our crews arrive on site, we remove all furniture mats, planters and décor from the patios and place them at a safe distance from the work area. That helps ensure that any back spray from the pressure washing will not cause damage to these items. Then we remove any loose dirty material with a blower.
We rinse any nearby plants and flowers in the event that overspray or detergent from the cleaning process could damage the plants. Rinsing prevents any chemicals from sticking to the leaves, flowers or stems of the plants.
Pre-Rinse the Patio Surface
A crucial step in cleaning paver, concrete or brick material is pre-rinsing the surface. That ensures that the detergent is not coming in contact with dry material which can cause permanent stains if it soaks into porous surfaces. Rinsing with water also provides for a pre-soak of the surface, making the detergent more application more even and effective. We are always cautious to use low pressure for the pre-rinse step.
We create a fresh detergent mix on site based on the type of material and based on the level of growth/debris we will be cleaning. We apply the detergent to the entire surface via different methods depending on the size of the area. The solution is also added to any handrails, steps or planter walls adjacent to the patio. The detergent is allowed to set and soak for 10 minutes while it kills organisms like algae and bacteria.
Clean the Patio
Now that the pre-work is done, it’s time for the deep clean. We utilize walk-behind surface washers for large areas. A surface cleaner is ideal for cleaning larger areas of concrete, brick or pavers, but is not necessarily practical for all scenarios. A surface washer is a walk-behind tool that produces a constant cleaning pressure at a constant distance from the surface. It works best with warm water, which is more powerful than cold water because it dissolves adherents more effectively. Grease, oil, mud and algae are dissolved quickly for a deep clean. Surface washers are not appropriate to use on surfaces that have loose or non-existent mortar.
In smaller areas we can use pressure washer along with a hard-bristle brush to clean the surfaces. We washing 2-3 rows of pavers or bricks at a time, working methodically in an even, consistent wave action for an even clean. A consistent swing motion will ensure there aren’t stop/start cleaning lines left on the surface.
We are careful to keep the pressure washing nozzles at least 4 inches from the patio surface and monitor the pressure to ensure that the surface isn’t stripped by the strength of the water pressure. While it seems helpful to use maximum water pressure on surfaces like concrete, brick and paver, it can cause permanent damage by etching away thin layers of the top surface. It’s also easy to blast out gravel or sand from between the pavers with sloppy technique.
Post-Rinse the Patio
Now that the patio has been deep cleaned, it’s time for a rinse. We generally use a cool water gentle rinse to make sure all detergent and loosed debris are completely washed away from the surface. We also give the plants and flowers a final rinse in the event any chemical overspray occurred. Adjacent handrails, steps and plantar walls will also be rinsed.
We replace all furniture, décor, and planters we found on the patio prior to cleaning. In the event any overspray occurred on these items, we will provide a light rinse to ensure they are clean.
Considering a Pressure Washing Company to Clean Your Patio?
Pressure washing a patio is a certainly within the ability of most homeowners. However, if you aren’t comfortable with the idea of doing it yourself, or don’t have the correct cleaning equipment, we recommend calling a professional exterior cleaning company.
Unfortunately, many people spend the entire weekend trying to rent pressure washing equipment and complete a cleaning project in just 24 hours. They aren’t able to get the job done just the way they want and struggle with finding the correct detergents, nozzle angle, and water pressure strength for the surface they want to clean. Unfortunately it often results in more harm than good as they strip the surface.
Another situation we encounter is a homeowner starting a small project of cleaning a patio, only to discover they really should also have their siding, windows and roof cleaned too. With all that work, they turn to a larger company to take care of the whole house.
We recommended calling a patio pressure washing company with plenty of reviews, years of experience, licensing and insurance. Avoid the jack-of-all-trades handyman companies that don’t specialize in any particular service. They will not be able to provide the expertise, efficiency or customer service to make sure the job is done perfectly the first time.
Learn more about Pristine’s impeccable surface washing services!
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