Summary: Here are some helpful tips and tricks for cleaning your driveway and deck, according to their building materials.The most common tool for cleaning decks and driveways is a pressure washer, but depending on the material your driveway or deck is made of, you will have to employ different techniques and settings. Let’s go over the most common materials and how to clean them.
In order to clean those tougher messes caused by things like paint or tire marks, you need a pressure washer capable of at least 3000 PSI. You also need at least 4 gallons a minute of pressure to work with. If you encounter a really tough mess, most professionals recommend tackling it with hot water as opposed to cold – but not all retail pressure washers are designed to use hot water, so you’ll have to look into that beforehand. If you can’t use hot water, consider presoaking the area with a detergent first. You should consider sealing your concrete to prevent nasty stains from setting in, or mold and mildew growing in it. If you have an oil spill, a good first response tip is to pour some kitty litter on it to absorb the bulk of the spill quickly.
Asphalt is more delicate and porous than concrete, which makes pressure washing difficult and removing oil stains harder. Your first action for cleaning your asphalt driveway should be to scrub it with a mixture of detergent and water and use a stiff-bristled push broom. Once thoroughly scrubbed, you can let the mixture sit temporarily before rinsing it off with an average garden hose. If there are still oil stains remaining, you can pressure wash in a spot-clean manner, but you have to do it at a much lower pressure than you would concrete, or you’ll risk gouging and pitting the surface.
You can pressure wash your deck with a fan tip and a setting around 500 PSI, but you should always do a test spot first, and ONLY if your deck is in good shape. You must pressure wash with the grain or you will damage the wood, particularly if it’s a softer wood. Washing against the grain will cause burrs on the surface by lifting the grain. This can result in a rough surface that scratches skin, snags clothing or gives off splinters. You can make a good deck wash by mixing 1 gallon of water with 1 cup of non-bleach laundry detergent (other recipes here). Wet the deck first and then apply the solution liberally and scrub with a softer bristled deck brush (push broom). If you are dealing with mold or mildew on your wood, mix ¾ cup of oxygenated bleach into the solution too. Rinse thoroughly with a regular garden hose.When using an at-home pressure washer (not a commercial one) make sure to review the tools limitations and recommendations. Never use it in a way that is not recommended by the product manufacturer as it can result injury, destruction of the tool, or damage to what you are cleaning.
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