A patio is a beautiful and functional addition to any home. It provides an outdoor living space where people can relax, dine, and entertain guests. However, patios can become dirty and suffer general surface degradation over time due to exposure to the elements, foot traffic, and other factors.
That is why it is crucial to maintain a clean patio. One effective way of cleaning a patio is through pressure washing, but problems often arise with this high-pressure way to clean your patio.
The Tripleclean Gang is here to ensure you maintain the condition of your patio when cleaning it.
Maintaining a clean patio enhances its appearance and prevents deterioration due to the build-up of dirt and debris. Messy build-up can cause decks made from concrete or brick pavers to crack prematurely, causing costly repairs down the line.
Additionally, mould and mildew growth caused by moisture accumulation due to lack of regular cleaning may cause structural damage, not only destroying the aesthetics but also causing harm to you and your family’s health.
Pressure washing can clean a patio far more effectively than manual cleaning methods. It can remove grime, and stains from patio slabs and garden furniture that other forms would have difficulty removing.
However, using a pressure washer can harm your patio if you don't use the proper techniques and equipment. For more information, you can check out our post "Should I Pressure Wash My Patio".
While pressure washers offer a quick and effective way to wash decking, there are some challenges. Knowing the most common forms of damage when using a pressure washer on a patio helps you avoid these issues.
One of the most significant risks associated with pressure washing a patio is the potential for damage to the concrete or stone surface. If the surface already has small cracks, high-pressure water can cause them to become more prominent and more noticeable.
Additionally, if there are any weak spots in the patio slabs, washers can cause those areas to crumble or break apart entirely.
To avoid causing pressure washer damage, it is essential first to study the surface carefully. If there are any visible cracks or other areas of concern, avoid pressure washing altogether and opt for a gentler cleaning solution.
If you must use a pressure washer, do not apply too much force directly onto any weak patio areas or paving stones. Instead, focus on using a lower-pressure setting and angling the spray to hit these spots at an oblique angle rather than head-on.
In addition to directly damaging concrete or stone surfaces, high-pressure water can dislodge pavers and bricks that make up your patio's design. This is particularly true if there are already loose tiles or if they need to be laid correctly in the first place. When using a pressure washer on your patio with pavers or bricks, ensure all tiles are secure.
If you find loose tiles during this inspection, re-lay them before starting with your pressure washer. When operating your machine on paver patios, use a fan spray nozzle rather than a concentrated jet stream, with a sweeping motion. This helps spread water evenly over larger surfaces without applying too much force.
Another potential danger of using a pressure washer on a patio is that it can cause paint or sealant to fade or strip away from the surface. This is particularly true if the surface is painted or sealed, as the high-pressure water used by a pressure washer can erode these materials over time.
Make sure you know whether your patio has been painted or sealed before starting with your pressure washer. If it has been painted or sealed, consider using a lower-pressure setting on your machine to avoid eroding these materials too quickly.
If you notice any fading or stripping of paint or sealant while pressure-washing your patio, stop immediately and re-evaluate your approach. It may be necessary to stop using high-pressure water altogether and opt for a gentler way to clean your patio.
Power washing can damage pavers if the pressure setting or technique is too aggressive. Pavers are generally made of concrete, clay, or natural stone, which can be durable and robust, but they are still susceptible to cracking or chipping if exposed to too much pressure.
Using a pressure washer with too high of a pressure setting or using the wrong type of nozzle can cause damage to the pavers. It is essential to use a pressure setting appropriate for the type of pavers you have and to start with a lower pressure setting and gradually increase it if necessary.
It is also essential to use a fan spray nozzle instead of a pinpoint nozzle, as the wrong nozzle carries higher pressure and causes more harm and visible damage to paving stones.
In addition to pressure, the technique when using high-pressure washers can also affect the potential for damage. Holding the pressure washer nozzle too close to the pavers or at the wrong angle can also cause damage.
It is crucial to have the washer at a safe distance and at a proper angle to ensure that the force of the water spreads evenly across the surface of block paving, without causing damage.
Once you've finished cleaning a stone patio, it is generally a good idea to seal it to help protect it from future damage and staining. Sealing the patio will help to prevent moisture from penetrating the stone, which can cause cracking and other types of damage over time. It will also help to repel water, oils, and other substances that can stain or discolour the stone.
The type of sealer you use will depend on the type of stone your patio is made of. Some sealers are designed specifically for certain types of stone, such as sandstone, limestone, or granite. You can consult with a professional or the manufacturer of the stone to determine the best sealer to use.
Before applying the sealer:
Yes, it is generally safe to pressure wash a stone patio. Stone is a durable and hard-wearing material that can handle a pressure washer's force without damage. In fact, pressure washing is an effective way to remove dirt, grime, and stains from stone surfaces, leaving your patio looking clean and refreshed.
In some cases, a garden hose will clean patio slabs without the concerns associated with a power washer or jet wash. However, there are times when you require more power to clean your patio, and when you do, be sure to use a pressure washer with care when cleaning paving slabs and patio stones.
If you're interested in learning more, we suggest checking out our post "Can You Pressure Wash Composite Decking".