How to Clean Brick and Concrete With a Pressure Washer

Power washing patios and walkways can make weathered brick and concrete look brand new. Before you get started read these tips to make sure you get the job done right. 

Hardscapes are great outdoor materials due to their longevity. With proper maintenance they can last a long time. However, improper or aggressive cleaning can actually damage them and decrease their lifespan. With some simple steps, you can keep your outdoor spaces clean and ready for the new year. 

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Pressure and Tips

Start by choosing the proper pressure and nozzle tip. To help you setup your pressure washer correctly, check out these tips and tricks. A pressure washer with about 3 gpm and 3000 psi is ideal for most concrete and brick cleaning jobs. Choose the tip with the widest angle that still gets the job done to prevent degrading the surface of the hardscape.

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Materials

Brick and concrete in areas with daily shadowing will often acquire mold or algae through the fall and winter season. Older surfaces also tend to be more porous from age and wear. This only encourages grime to build up more quickly.

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Luckily, this will clean up fairly quickly with just water and the correct technique. Unfortunately, these older and more porous surfaces can also be damaged by the wrong tip or technique more quickly. If you are cleaning an area stained by oil, consider using a soap attachment to assist in pulling those stains out. 

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Technique

With proper technique, you can clean most brick and concrete surfaces fairly quickly.

Before

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Before

Starting at one end of the hardscape, hold the tip about 12" from the surface and use an even and consistent sweeping motion.

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This will help prevent damage to the surface as well as minimize streaking. Keep the spray at a slight angle to direct the cleaning across the surface of the brick or concrete and prevent the force from degrading the surface.  As you move across the area, try to direct the run off  to a pervious area. Finish by using a push broom or wide spray tip to remove the loosened debris from the surface.

After

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After

If you have a large area to clean, consider renting a rotating sweeping attachment. This attachment has a rotating head that can consistently clean large areas quickly without causing arm fatigue. 

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