A driveway becomes dirty and worn over time. Many homeowners turn to pressure washing to prolong the lifespan of their driveways. It’s an affordable solution that can help restore your driveway and increase your home’s curb appeal. If this cleaning method is something you’re considering for the first time, here’s a beginner’s guide on how to pressure wash a driveway.
What Do You Need to Pressure Wash a Driveway?
Before we discuss how to pressure wash a concrete driveway or how to pressure wash a brick driveway, you need to gather all the supplies needed for this cleaning method. Having the right equipment and products is crucial if you want to properly pressure wash a driveway. Here’s what you need:
1. Pressure Washer
You need a high-quality pressure washer that can deliver about 3,000 pounds per square inch (PSI). The higher the PSI, the faster and more effectively you can clean your driveway.
2. Cleaning Agents
While pressurized water can be enough to clean your driveway, cleaning agents such as soap or detergent help loosen up all the dirt, grime, and grease. They’re also great for targeting stubborn stains. Choose a cleaning agent that is specifically made for your driveway pressure washer.
3. Pressure Washer Hose
If a pressure washer hose is out of the budget, you can instead use a garden hose. Preferably, the hose should be 50 feet long to provide you with a wide range of motion.
4. Broom or Stiff Brush
You also need a broom or a long-handled brush to scrub away the dirt and grime from your driveway. Make sure to use one that has stiff bristles to prevent splash-backs and effectively clean your surface.
5. Safety Gear
Pressure washing driveways can be dangerous. The high-pressure water can injure your eyes, hands, and feet. Make sure to wear a long-sleeve shirt, long pants, and rubber-soled shoes, as well as safety goggles, gloves, and hearing protection.
6. Plastic Sheets or Garbage Bags
Plastic sheets or garbage bags are used to protect other areas of your home while pressure washing the driveway.
7. Painter’s Tape
A painter’s tape will secure your plastic sheets so that water doesn’t seep into other areas of your home.
7 Easy Steps to Pressure Wash a Driveway
If you want to learn how to pressure wash a driveway, follow these 7 easy steps:
1. Clear the Surface
The first step is to prepare your driveway and surrounding areas for pressure washing. Clear away debris and items, and make sure to sweep away all excess dirt from the surface.
2. Protect Doors and Windows
Doors, windows, and other sensitive areas can become damaged as you pressure wash a driveway. Due to the pressure of the water, small rocks, debris, and other contaminants can be flung into the air and sent to different areas of your property.
Avoid this by covering windows, doors, and other sensitive areas with plastic sheets or garbage bags. Many beginners forget about this important precaution, but this is the best way to minimize any risk or damage as you pressure wash your driveway. Use painter’s tape to secure the sheets and prevent water from seeping into your home.
3. Assemble Pressure Washer
There isn’t a single standard for pressure washers, so make sure to read your machine’s manual. It’s important to understand the power settings and other features of your pressure washer. If assembled or used incorrectly, the pressure washer could harm the surface of your driveway.
4. Wear Safety Gear
Before starting the cleaning process, make sure that you are properly dressed and have the appropriate safety gear for pressure washing a driveway.
5. Apply Cleaning Agent
Apply your chosen cleaning agent to the driveway. This will help loosen up dirt, grime, and stains on the surface. If your pressure washer doesn’t have a brush attachment, use a broom to scrub the surface.
6. Pressure Wash Your Driveway
Now that everything has been prepared, it’s time to pressure wash your driveway. Hold down the spray handle, and move side to side across the surface of your driveway. Try to overlap each movement by about half a foot. Remember that proper techniques will vary depending on your pressure washer. When dealing with tough stains, you may have to hold your pressure washer closer to the surface.
7. Rinse the Surface
Rinse your driveway to wash away leftover soap or detergent as well as remaining dirt and grime. Then, allow the surface to dry. You can apply a sealant to protect your driveway from future stains.
Pressure Washing Driveway Tips to Remember
It may seem easy to pressure wash driveways by yourself but to do it correctly, you need skill and experience. As a beginner, you’re likely not familiar with all the intricacies involved with pressure washing a driveway. Not only can you damage your driveway, but you can also cause serious harm or injury. Here are some pressure washing driveway tips to keep in mind.
1. Start with a low PSI.
You may be surprised at the power of pressure washers when it comes to spraying water. If you start out with a high PSI, you can easily lose control of the pressure washer. The spray is strong enough to cause wounds or damage property. Though a low PSI will be less effective in cleaning your driveway, this will give you enough time to adjust to the pressure washer.
2. Never point the pressure washer at yourself or at other people.
Always point the pressure washer wand downward. If you are not operating the pressure washer, make sure the wand is secure. A small accident or slip can turn on the machine and cause serious damage.
3. Do not use a gasoline-powered pressure washer in enclosed spaces.
Gasoline-powered pressure washers emit carbon monoxide, so it should only be used in well-ventilated areas. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal in a matter of minutes.
4. Keep the power cord and/or extension cord far away from water.
If you have to use a power cord or an extension cord, make sure it’s as far away from the driveway as possible. Avoid placing it in areas where water runoff can reach. If possible, use a heavy-duty extension cord that is properly grounded.
5. If you are unsure, don’t hesitate to contact a professional pressure washing service.
While going the DIY route might seem like a more economical choice, there are a lot of risks involved in pressure washing a driveway. If you don’t think you will be able to do this correctly, it might be better to use a professional pressure washing service.
Reasons to Consider Professional Pressure Washing
Here are some great reasons for professional driveway pressure washing:
1. Experience and Expertise
A professional pressure washing company will know how to effectively clean your driveway as well as other parts of your house.
2. Professional-Grade Equipment
They have high-quality pressure washers, environment-friendly cleaning products, and other tools needed to clean your driveway. To even come close to what the professionals are using, you will have to spend a lot of money.
3. No Damage or Injury
Professional pressure washers won’t cause any damage to your property or injure anyone while cleaning your driveway. Even if they make mistakes, they are fully insured and can compensate you for damages.
4. Saves Time and Energy
Pressure washing a driveway is very time-consuming. If you’re a beginner, it’s possible that you may not achieve the results you want on the first try. Thus, you’ll have to repeat the whole process. Have a professional crew take care of your driveway so you can enjoy your hard-earned weekend.
5. Cost-Effective in the Long Run
Given all the risks of DIY pressure washing, professional pressure washing might be more cost-effective in the long run. If you end up damaging your driveway, doors, or windows, you’ll end up having to spend more on repairs.
Pressure Wash a Driveway Without Any Stress
It’s normal for your driveway to have some wear and tear. However, if you want to extend its life, regular maintenance is crucial. Pressure washing allows you to blast away all the dirt, grime, and stains on the surface. If you’re a beginner looking to pressure wash a driveway, there’s no need to fret. As long as you follow this beginner’s guide, you’ll be able to clean your driveway without any stress. If you’re hesitant, though, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We can restore your driveway and have it look almost new.