How To Pressure Wash A Driveway: Concrete, Asphalt, & Brick

How To Pressure Wash A Driveway

Pressure washing your driveway is one of the best ways to improve your home’s curb appeal. A clean, inviting driveway can increase your home’s value and make a great first impression on visitors. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to pressure wash your concrete, asphalt, or brick driveway.

An Overview of Pressure Washing a Driveway

Pressure washing uses a high-powered stream of water to remove dirt, grime, oil stains, and other debris from surfaces like driveways. Pressure washers connect to your garden hose but boost the water pressure significantly – often over 1000 PSI. This concentrated spray of water can clean deeply ingrained stains and restore the look of your driveway.

Pressure washing is safe for driveways when done properly. It’s important to use the right pressure, hold the nozzle at the proper distance, and apply a driveway cleaning detergent before rinsing. We’ll cover all these techniques so you can successfully wash your driveway without damage.

A thorough pressure wash can make your driveway look brand new again! It removes years of built-up dirt, tire marks, oil drips, and fading to restore the original color. Your driveway will look cleaner and more inviting after a good wash.

Equipment Needed To Pressure Wash A Driveway

Pressure washing requires some specialized equipment. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Pressure washer – Either buy or rent a heavy-duty pressure washer of at least 1900 PSI. Electric pressure washers are sufficient for home use. Gas-powered is better for frequent jobs.
  • Pressure washer hose – Use the pressure washer’s 25-50 foot hose for mobility. Don’t try to substitute a garden hose.
  • Variable nozzle wand – Choose a wand with adjustable spray nozzles to control the water pressure. A 15-40 degree nozzle is best for driveways.
  • Concrete cleaner or degreaser – Apply an alkaline-based concrete cleaner before rinsing to lift stains. Look for citrus or biodegradable options.
  • Stiff bristle broom – Sweep debris from your driveway before washing. A broom helps remove dirt a pressure washer could miss.
  • Safety gear – Wear closed-toe shoes, gloves, and eye protection when pressure washing. The high-powered spray can damage skin and eyes.

How To Pressure Wash A Concrete Driveway

Follow these steps to properly pressure wash your concrete driveway:

1. Sweep The Driveway

Use a stiff broom to sweep off any loose debris from your driveway. Pick up any stones, leaves, or sticks to avoid shooting them with the pressure washer.

2. Apply Degreaser

Spray a concrete degreaser all over the driveway according to the label instructions. These cleaners help lift oil, grease, and other stubborn stains from the concrete. Allow it to soak for 5-10 minutes.

3. Adjust Nozzle & Test

Attach a 15-40 degree nozzle tip to your pressure washer wand. Test the spray in a low visibility spot before moving on to wash the rest of the driveway. Start at least 8 inches back from the concrete.

4. Pressure Wash The Driveway

With your pressure washer filled with water, start working on one side of the driveway using back-and-forth motions. Slowly work your way across the width, then down the length. Overlap each pass a few inches to avoid streaks.

5. Use A Surface Cleaner For Large Driveways

For very large driveways, use a pressure washer surface cleaner attachment. This tool allows you to clean more square footage in less time. Guide it steadily side-to-side as you walk down the driveway.

6. Rinse Off Degreaser

Make a final pass over the driveway with just water to rinse away all the dissolved grime and degreaser. Check for any remaining stains and spot clean as needed.

7. Allow Driveway To Dry

After pressure washing, let the driveway dry completely before parking vehicles on it again. This allows moisture to evaporate from the now-porous concrete surface.

8. Apply Concrete Sealer (Optional)

For added protection, apply a concrete driveway sealer once the surface is totally dry. The sealer prevents water, salt, and UV damage from penetrating the concrete. Re-apply every 1-2 years.

And that’s it – follow those steps and you’ll have a sparkling clean driveway! The high-powered spray blasts away even ground-in dirt for a dramatic difference.

How to Pressure Wash A Brick Driveway

Brick driveways also benefit from an occasional deep clean with a pressure washer. Here are some tips for washing brick:

  • Use a gentler pressure (600-1200 PSI) to avoid damaging old brick. Newer brick can handle more pressure. Test a small area first.
  • Remove any weeds growing in the cracks beforehand. The pressure washer can blast them deeper into the crevices.
  • Apply a cleaning solution suited for brick, like a dilute acid wash. Let it soak 5 minutes before rinsing. This helps restore the brick color.
  • Use a wide-spray nozzle or surface cleaner attachment to clean more area at once. Avoid blasting one spot for too long.
  • Rinse with plain water after washing the cleaner away. Check for remaining dirty spots and touch up as needed.
  • Let the brick air dry for 1-2 days before sealing or driving on it. The high-pressure spray saturates the brickwork.
  • Applying a brick sealer every few years will help prevent fading and make cleaning easier. Use a breathable silicone-based sealer.

Pressure washing can remove dirt, moss, efflorescence (white mineral deposits), and other grime from brick driveways. Make sure to use the proper pressure and technique to avoid damaging old bricks. Move the nozzle constantly and do not blast mortar joints.

Tips for Pressure Washing a Driveway Yourself

If you want to DIY pressure wash your driveway, keep these tips in mind for the best results:

  • Inspect your driveway – Note any oil stains, cracks, pitting, or other damage. Avoid directing the pressure spray in these vulnerable areas.
  • Use an angled tip– The 25-40° nozzle spreads the spray out to avoid damage but still cleans effectively. Do not use a zero-degree jet tip.
  • Keep the nozzle moving – Don’t concentrate on one spot for too long during cleaning. Keep it 6-12 inches from the driveway surface and move continuously.
  • Apply stain remover beforehand – Spraying an alkaline-based cleaner or degreaser before pressure washing allows it more time to penetrate and lift stains.
  • Pressure wash across the width – Work in sections across the width of the driveway first, rather than just down the length. That ensures you cover the whole surface.
  • Overlap each pass– Each cleaning pass with the pressure nozzle should overlap the previous one by a few inches to prevent streaks.
  • Rinse everything twice – Make a second rinse-only pass over the driveway at the end to clean away all soap residue and loosened dirt.
  • Pressure wash along the edges – Don’t forget to also clean along the sides and the joint between the driveway and garage floor.

By following standard pressure washing procedures and safety precautions, you can successfully clean your driveway yourself.

When To Consider Professional Pressure Washing Service

While DIY pressure washing can save money, there are some situations when it’s better to hire professionals:

  • For very large driveways, it may be worth the cost to have a company do it quicker. They can bring more powerful gas-powered pressure washers.
  • If you need to remove tough stains like oil or rust marks that resisted home pressure washing, a pro company may have stronger cleaning solutions to try.
  • Severely dirty or neglected driveways are sometimes better left to professionals. Years of built-up grime require expertise to remove completely and safely.
  • They have specialized surface cleaning tools like spinning heads for large flat areas. This makes fast work of a long driveway.
  • It saves your time and energy! Professionals have the equipment and experience to clean your entire driveway efficiently.
  • Commercial cleaning solutions like liquid degreasers or pH-adjusted chemicals available to pros can fight stubborn stains.
  • Powerful gas pressure washers provide a stronger cleaning punch for severely dirty driveways than typical electric home models.
  • Hiring a company means no clean-up afterwards – they haul away all the dirt, debris, and wastewater.

Consider calling in the pros if your driveway is very large or excessively dirty. They can quickly restore the look with professional equipment and products.

What To Expect From Professional Driveway Pressure Washing Services

When hiring driveway pressure washing services, expect the process to go as follows:

  • An initial inspection and quote based on the driveway size, condition, and cleaning needs.
  • Pre-soak the driveway with an alkaline cleaning solution to penetrate oil and grease stains prior to pressure washing.
  • Use a commercial-grade gas pressure washer 3500+ PSI to blast away dirt buildup. Hot water units heat the water for even better cleaning power.
  • Specialized surface cleaners make quick work of large areas. Rotating spray nozzles attach to the wand to clean more efficiently.
  • Rinse and repeat as needed for severely soiled areas until the driveway looks pristine. The pros have all the time and tools needed to remove deposits completely.
  • Spot treatment for remaining stained areas using targeted stain-fighting chemicals. Professionals have heavy-duty cleaners to break down oil, rust, and mineral deposits.
  • Soft wash rinse to finish, leaving behind no chemical residue that could damage plants or cars parked on the driveway later.
  • Sealer application is often offered to protect and beautify the driveway surface after cleaning. Added sealant prevents fading and makes future washing easier.

Hiring professional pressure washers ensures your entire driveway will be deep cleaned and restored to a like-new condition again. No driveway staining match their cleaning power.

Homeowner’s Guide For Pressure Washing A Concrete Driveway

As a homeowner, you may only need to deep clean your concrete driveway every year or two. Here is a helpful guide to pressure washing it yourself:

What You’ll Need

  • Pressure washer – electric or gas, 1900+ PSI
  • Variable spray wand with 25-40° tip
  • Concrete cleaner or degreaser
  • Long, high-pressure washer hose
  • Eye protection & closed-toe shoes

Pressure Settings

  • 1900-3200 PSI pressure washers are ideal for residential concrete cleaning
  • Gas models provide more pressure; electric is more affordable for home use
  • Adjustable nozzle tips allow you to modify the water pressure as needed

Cleaning Solutions

  • Always apply a concrete degreaser before pressure washing
  • Let it soak for 5-10 minutes to penetrate oil, grease stains
  • Rinse with just water after cleaning solutions are removed
  • Avoid detergents – they can leave slippery residue

Technique

  • Keep nozzle spray 6-12 inches from the surface
  • Use side-to-side motions, starting at top of driveway and working down
  • Overlap each pass for full coverage washing
  • Take care around damaged concrete or cracked areas

After Washing

  • Let the driveway fully dry before parking vehicles on it again
  • Apply concrete sealer for added protection and easier future cleaning
  • Plan to pressure wash annually or biannually to prevent major buildup

With the proper pressure washer and technique, you can keep your concrete driveway looking fresh and clean yourself. Always use caution when handling these powerful machines.

Protecting Your Concrete Driveway When Pressure Washing

Pressure washers can damage concrete if used carelessly. Here are some tips to keep your driveway safe:

  • Limit pressure to less than 3000 PSI. High-end units can exceed 5000 PSI – which is overkill for home use.
  • Choose nozzles that spread the spray in a wider fan pattern. Never use intense zero-degree jet nozzles.
  • Keep the pressure washer wand 6-12 inches from the concrete surface. Too close can etch lines into the concrete.
  • Clean with a broad sweeping motion, avoiding lingering in one spot. This prevents erosion.
  • Check for vulnerable spots like cracks or patches before starting. Avoid spraying directly at them.
  • Apply a degreaser before washing, and let it soak 5-10 minutes. This allows stains to lift before blasting.
  • Rinse with plain water after washing away cleaners. Residue left behind can harm concrete over time.
  • Consider sealing your driveway after pressure washing to add an extra moisture barrier.

With care and common sense, you can safely pressure wash your driveway without harm. Always test on an inconspicuous spot first to dial in the proper pressure and technique before tackling the rest.

FAQ About Pressure Washing A Driveway

Still have some questions about effectively pressure washing your driveway? Here are answers to common queries:

What PSI do I need to pressure wash a driveway?

1900 PSI is sufficient for general residential driveway cleaning. 2000-3200 PSI units are ideal for more heavy-duty oil stains or grime removal.

How do you pressure wash an old driveway?

Use lower pressure around 600-1200 PSI for aging driveways to avoid digging into the surface. Test PSI first on an out-of-sight spot. Apply a cleaning solution and let it soak before rinsing.

Can you use a power washer to clean concrete?

Yes, you can safely use a gas or electric power washer to deep clean concrete driveways. Gas models offer more pressure for big jobs. Move the nozzle constantly to avoid damage.

What is the proper PSI for cleaning concrete?

1900-3200 PSI is optimal for cleaning typical residential concrete. Adjust your pressure washer nozzle to spread the water spray in a 25-40° fan pattern. Always test PSI first.

How often should you pressure wash concrete?

Most homeowners only need to pressure wash their driveway every 1-2 years. If you notice a major buildup of oil drips, tire marks and traffic stains before then, do a pressure wash sooner to keep the concrete clean.

Conclusion

Pressure washing is a safe, effective method to blast away dirt and stains from your concrete, asphalt, or brick driveway. Follow these tips and guidelines to properly clean different driveway types. Restoring your driveway’s original bright appearance and curb appeal has never been easier!

Don’t Stop Here

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4. Test Spot
5. Even Application
6. Rinse Thoroughly
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