For home owners, learning how to pressure wash a driveway is one of the many things you will have to do to maintain the look of the driveway, as well as the structural quality. Over time, your car, gravel, and other debris are going to tear away at the driveway. By properly washing it with the right tools, you are not only going to find it will look better and remain clean, but it will also last longer, so you do not have to repave it as often as you would otherwise have to.
The right equipment
The first thing you have to do is find a high quality pressure washer. It is recommended to look for one that can pump out at least 3000 psi of pressure, for an optimal clean, and to really get deep set in stones (gravel), and pieces off the path. If possible, you should also look for a hot water unit to connect to the pressure washer, in order to maintain hot temperature, as opposed to using cold or even lukewarm water to clean it. Not only does hot water get deeper in to the pavement, it is also going to wash the driveway 100 times better than cold water would.
As a side note, it is important to know you should never hook a cold water unit up to the hot water which is coming from your house, as it will damage the pump.
Prep the driveway
The next thing to do is prep your driveway; you will simply want to sweep away debris, small gravel and rocks, and other debris which has built up over the driveway. Doing this will not only make for a smoother surface for the pressure washer to clean the driveway, but will also prevent damage to the driveway. With too much pressure, the small gravel or rocks can scratch or cause cracks to the driveway; by removing this before you begin, you eliminate this possibility.
You will then want to fill up the pump sprayer with a diluted concrete degreaser. This will help eliminate oil spills and slicks, and will help remove any stuck on stains, or tough to remove stains, which the hot water is not going to get rid of on its own. There are industrial grade cleaners you can purchase, when you shop at the right retailer to purchase the supplies to clean the driveway with.
Know how to use the equipment
Just as important as buying a high quality degreaser and pressure washer, you must also know how to use the equipment before you get started. So, make sure you read the instruction manual, to find out how to power it on and off, how to increase and decrease pressure, and how to adjust temperature settings, if this is an option with the power washer that you own. You also want to make sure it is fully loaded with fuel, and it should be placed on a level area of the ground, so as to avoid potential movement when you are working on the driveway. It is also in your best interest to wear protective eye wear, with the heavy duty, high pressure washers.
Washing the concrete
When pressure washing the concrete, you want to make sure you are not too close, or too far from the ground. You want to see a steady flow when washing the driveway, and you should easily see the dirt being lifted up off the ground. Stay at least a couple feet above the ground, but not much higher, to ensure you get the highest pressure levels, and get more dirt out. Also, when working over an oil spill or stain, you want to go over these areas at least a couple of times with the hot water cleaner. Doing so will guarantee removal of the excess oil, and will also guarantee that you get out all of the degreaser that you have applied to the driveway you are cleaning.
Rinsing off the driveway
Once you have eliminated the degreaser and all dirt, you will want to use the low pressure (black tip), simply to give the driveway a solid base to ensure you have gotten rid of all the dirt and settled in stains. Also, this will allow you to remove the dark stains which appear on the ground, on areas where you have applied the degreaser (which will eventually dry to the same color as the rest of your driveway).
There really is no guesswork when it comes to cleaning your driveway with a pressure washer. But, there are a few important things you must be certain of before you begin the task. First and of most importance, is buying a high quality pressure washer, which uses a hot water tank to clean the driveway. Not only will this provide the highest levels of pressure, it will also allow you to complete the task in less time. Similarly, you have to purchase a high quality degreaser, otherwise it will not get out the tough hard on stains, and oil slicks, which tend to leak on to the driveway over time.
You also have to learn how to use the black tip (low pressure) and yellow tip (high pressure) on the pressure washer, prior to beginning any clean up. This will eliminate the possibility of using too much pressure or damaging the driveway. Reading the manual before you begin is of utmost importance, to ensure you complete the task in less time, and see the best results when you are cleaning your driveway.
Home owners who choose to do this clean up on their own, can visit Northside Tool Rental in Atlanta, GA. Not only will you find the highest quality equipment rentals, you will find affordable rates for the pressure washer, and degreaser you will use to clean the driveway. And, the knowledgeable staff will provide you pointers on using the pressure washer properly, and getting out the tough to reach stains when washing your driveway.