A patio is the heart of your garden. It is where you congregate with loved ones, relax with a good book, or eat delicious meals. So for many of us, keeping our patio looking good is a big priority. Pressure washing is an efficient way of cleaning many types of surfaces but can it be used on a patio?
The answer is yes but it should only be done very carefully. Incorrect use of a pressure washer can easily damage your pavers. Let's take a look at the potential pitfalls in pressure washing a patio and how to avoid them so that it looks great.
Pressure washers and power washers are clever pieces of equipment. They use a high-pressure water jet to remove dirt, grime, grease, mould, and more by force. This technique is a very efficient way of cleaning that can remove even stubborn dirt. It is also eco-friendly as it uses less water than a standard garden hose.
However, the force used by high-pressure washers can sometimes do more harm than good. This is why many people will say that you should never use a pressure or power washer to clean patio slabs.
But it isn't the pressure washer itself that is the problem. More often than not it is inexperienced and incorrect use of the equipment that causes the damage.
A mistake that many people make is to go straight in on the highest jet wash setting so that they can remove more dirt. But this can cause damage to the paving stones, including:
These issues can occur when using a pressure washer on a wide variety of materials. But one specific problem when patio cleaning is the effect it can have on the sand or cement in the lines between the patio stones. If the spray is focused on these, it can crack or even completely displace the sand or cement which can cause your patio stones to become loose. Our post "Does Pressure Washing Damage Patio" maybe interest you. You can check it out.
We've looked at what can go wrong when using a pressure washer for patio cleaning but it is possible to do the job without causing any problems at all. The key to this is to keep the pressure relatively low, no greater than 2300 psi.
You should also keep the angle of the spray at around 45 degrees and ensure that you hold the hose no closer than 12 inches to the patio. But let's go through how to clean your patio with a pressure washer in more detail.
The first thing you need to do before going ahead with your pressure wash or power wash is to completely clear your patio. You will need to remove all of your garden furniture (especially wood), ornaments, plants, and any other items you have sitting out.
This is an important but often overlooked step. It can be easy to think that you can use your pressure washer to blast away all of the loose debris sitting on the patio but it is worth taking the time to do this manually for a couple of reasons.
When you use a power washer or pressure washer for this, you can't control where the dirt goes. It could land on another part of the patio surface leaving you with even more work to do. Or, worse than that, flying debris could easily hit you. It can be surprising (and painful) just how much force the pressure washer generates.
Instead, you should use a brush to sweep away it away. You could even use a vacuum cleaner to ensure that you have gotten rid of every little bit.
Even if you have taken the time to remove the loose dirt and debris, you should still make sure that you are wearing the right gear to protect yourself. It is probably most important that you wear safety goggles. You do not want a little stone hitting your eye with jet wash force.
Hard boots, safety gloves, and waterproof clothing are also a must when you power wash a patio.
This step is a bit of a crossroads. You can skip it entirely and just use a pressure washer for your patio cleaning. On the other hand, you may not need to do any pressure washing once you've given the patios a surface wash.
Use warm water and a patio cleaner (you can use detergent or even dish soap if you don't have specific patio products) to wash down your patio. Then give it a scrub with a brush. Finally, rinse it thoroughly with clean water.
If you've given the patio a quick clean and it is still looking grimy, you can get out the pressure washer. You don't necessarily need to fill its tank with detergent, especially if you have completed step 4, but it can be a good idea to do so. Use the detergent spraying nozzle to wet the entire patio surface with the cleaner and then give it a minute to settle.
Now start going over with the standard yellow nozzle. If you have a rotating brush attachment, this can help to pressure wash your patio without causing damage to the surfaces. Follow the manufactures instructions for how to use this.
Otherwise, remember to keep the pressure low (no more than 2300 psi), to keep the wand at a 45-degree angle, and to hold it no closer than 12 inches away.
Use wide sweeping motions and don't concentrate the pressure washer stream on the lines between the paving slabs.
This is an optional step but can be useful. Once you have finished cleaning, applying a patio sealant can help to protect your patio from weather damage, stains, algae, and other issues. And it will mean that you won't need to clean it as often.
It is so tempting to get right in there and blast away those weeds when you are pressure washing a patio. But removing weeds in this way is not a good idea.
Weeds tend to grow in the gaps between the patio slabs and this is exactly where you should not be concentrating your water stream.
Weeds also indicate that the cement is already compromised in some way, so loosening it further with pressure washing is only going to degrade the patio more quickly.
Instead, you should use a standard weed killer to remove any weeds on your patio.
Professional cleaning doesn't just take away the stress of having to do the cleaning yourself, but it also ensures that your patio is properly clean. At the Tripleclean Gang, we know patios. And we know how to clean them thoroughly using the perfect products and the best equipment.
So can pressure washers be used to clean your patio? Yes, they can. But the job needs to be done very carefully to avoid damaging the patio itself. And it can be a quick and efficient method when done right.