Power washing brick, concrete and flagstone
When power washing brick, concrete, flagstone and other porous material its important to have the right equipment and chemicals. When it comes to porous surfaces like the above mentioned, medium to high pressure wash needs to be use in order to remove and lift out embedded dirt and debris. Chemical alone is not enough.
Power washing brick
Whether its solid brick pavers, sanded or unsanded grout, brick will need to be cleaned with some pressure to remove the black and green build up. Many companies will use a pressure washing lance or wand to do the cleaning and while this will certainly remove the buildup on the brick surface its not the best choice when it comes to the grout lines. Depending on the condition of the grout, there is a much better alternative to using a wand.
While its pretty much unavoidable to wear down brick grout lines when cleaning, pressure washing with a wand might deteriorate or chip away at loose or crumbling grout lines. Using a surface cleaner is much safer and spreads the pressure out so no one point has the full force of the pressure applied. This will save brick grout lines and is especially important when cleaning unsanded brick grout. Anybody who’s ever used a lance to clean unsanded brick grout has found out immediately that sand will go flying in every direction. A professional power washing machine should be used in conjunction with a surface cleaner.
Power washing concrete
Concrete is common place in most residential homes – whether it is walkways, front stoops or driveways. These surfaces get darker over time as dirt, grime and mold settle in. Every year or 2 this concrete can be cleaned to refresh and brighten up the homes appearance.
A pressure washing lance can be used when cleaning concrete but if the right tip is not used it take much longer than expected. If the operator is unskilled, the concrete may be left with unsightly wand lines or the top cream layer may be inadvertently stripped away. For the best results in power washing concrete, especially long pours like driveways, a surface cleaner should be used. This will greatly improve the time it takes and the overall look. If the pressure is too high or the wrong piece of equipment is used, concrete can be etched and damaged by removing the top “cream” layer.
A pre or post treatment of sodium hypochlorite can be applied to further enhance the brightness and look of the freshly cleaned concrete. Please consult a professional before handling sodium hypochlorite as this chemical can be danger is not used properly.
Power washing flagstone
Flagstone often cleans up very nicely after a being power washed. Often times one cannot tell how dirty the surface really was until after its been cleaned. As noted with brick power washing, one of the main considerations with flagstone is the condition of the grout lines. A crumbling grout line can be cleaned more safely with a surface cleaner then with a wand but home owners should plan to have grout re finished at some point after cleaning to preserve the look of the surface.
Pressure washing other surface
Limestone, sandstone and other surface should be cleaned with care. Certain chemicals will apply to each situation and make life much easier when cleaning. I recommend consulting a professional with your cleaning needs before attempting to clean and possibly damaging stone and mortar on a homes exterior.