Can you damage concrete with a power washer?


Can you damage concrete with a power washer?

Power washers are a great addition to any household, especially if you want to keep areas such as your driveway or home exterior clean.

But have you ever wondered if the pressure from the power wash could damage your concrete? In short – a power washer would only damage the concrete if you happen to be using the wrong nozzle or have the pressure on your power washer set too high.

Let’s look at how to properly use a power washer on concrete.

What is a power washer?

To best understand how power washing works on concrete, you’ll want to first know what a power washer does. Using pressurized water streams, power washers can help lift grime, dirt, and other tough stains off your concrete surfaces. Power washers also use heated water to help make cleaning less of a chore, providing satisfying results after every clean.

How can a power washer damage your concrete?

Unfortunately, while power washers seem like a great help with cleaning, using it wrongly could cause unwanted and irreparable damage to your concrete surfaces. Here are some examples of how a power washer could damage your concrete.

Holding the nozzle too close to the concrete surface

When cleaning with a power washer, it’s always best to hold the appliance further away from the concrete surface. This helps you avoid loosening the mortar that binds the concrete together. It’s a good idea to also try keeping the nozzle approximately 12 inches away to also avoid etching lines to the concrete surface.

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Using the wrong power washer tip
Smaller power washer tips usually mean more forceful pressure from your appliance. This could also damage the concrete surface as it may not be able to withstand the pressure. In general, using a 25-degree nozzle is best to help rinse away any grime and oil from concrete surfaces.

Setting your power washer pressure too high
It may be tempting to set the pressure on your power washer up high, but did you know that could also damage the concrete surface? Thus, it’s best to keep the pressure on your power washer between 2,000 to 3,000 PSI, so you can avoid damaging any concrete surfaces while still cleaning out the grime.

Power washing a single surface for too long
Prolonged pressure exposure from your power washer could damage a concrete surface. When cleaning with the power washer, it’s recommended that you keep to a single, swiveling motion so there is an equal distribution of pressure to the concrete surface.

You’ve recently power washed the same surface
Damage to concrete surfaces can also be caused by the overuse of power washers. In most cases, you’ll only need to perform a power wash once or twice a year to remove any stubborn oil, dirt, or stains. To keep your concrete area clean on regular days, some light sweeping and washing with a hose should do the trick.

While it may seem like the power washer is detrimental to concrete surfaces, it’s good to remember that this appliance can deliver great results when used correctly. Sometimes, it may take a while for you to get used to the power washer, but with prolonged use and practice, you should be able to clean any concrete without damaging the surface.

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Frequently asked questions about using a power washer on concrete

Should I use the power washer to clean concrete if I’m worried about damaging the surface? 

Power washers are a great way to help clean concrete surfaces if you want to wash away stubborn stains and oils. To avoid damaging the concrete surfaces, be sure to hold your nozzle far enough away, use the right nozzle tips, and control the amount of pressure from your power washer.

What should I do to protect the concrete after power washing?

Power washing a concrete surface should only be done once or twice a year to avoid concrete damage. To further protect the concrete from any post-cleaning damage, you may consider applying a concrete sealant after using a power washer. Concrete sealants also help reduce stains on the concrete, so you won’t have to clean the surface as often.

To learn more about protecting your concrete surfaces, read here for tips for getting rid of rust and oil stains on your concrete.

How can I fix marks left behind on concrete from power washing?

Don’t panic if you see any marks left behind on your concrete from power washing. In most cases, it may just be from stubborn grime that you’ve missed out the first time you ran the power washer through it. To fix this, you may try switching to a smaller nozzle to clean away the marks or even apply some detergent to help remove the stains.

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