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Concrete Cleaning & Power Washing

May 9th, 2019 | 3 min. read

By Dale Pease

Learn how you can clean your concrete to improve its curb appeal, enhance its longevity, and prepare the surface for sealer.

Power washing or pressure washing your concrete is an important part of keeping your concrete looking new. And, when combined with sealing, it helps your concrete last for years to come.

Pressure washers are typically the go-to, at-home tool used to clean concrete, but they lack certain features that would make them ideal for heavy-duty cleaning.  

Power washers, on the other hand, are equipped with more to get the job done well, like heating elements and higher pressure.

This article will explore the benefits of cleaning your concrete, a step-by-step guide in case you'd like to do it yourself, and explain A-1's method for cleaning concrete.


Benefits of Power Washing Your Concrete

Cleaning concrete can improve its curb appeal, enhance its longevity, and prepare the surface for sealer.

The power washer penetrates deep into the porous concrete to remove dirt, oil stains, and other debris that you do not want to remain on the concrete when the sealer is applied.

Preventing Premature Deterioration

Concrete that isn't properly cared for will deteriorate significantly faster. By removing mold or moss that’s growing on your concrete, you remove a danger to the integrity of the concrete itself.

When any kind of plant matter grows on your concrete, it sends down tiny tendrils, or roots into the pores of the concrete slab. Over time this can break down the surface resulting in flaking off or spalling of the concrete.

Also, oils and salts can penetrate the surface of the concrete and speed up its breakdown as well.

Step-by-step Guide for Concrete Power Washing

1. Use Appropriate Equipment

It is recommended that you use a gas or electric power washer rated at least 3,000 PSI. Using one with lower power will require much more work to clean your concrete's surface.

Also, it's important to use the correct spray tip. You want one that sprays in a wide enough pattern that you can clean a 3" or 4" area at once. For faster coverage, a 14" surface cleaner disc can be attached to the end of your pressure washer wand. This also helps assure more even cleaning of the surface.

2. Prepare the Area 

Move all furniture, planters, and decorations off the concrete before cleaning. If using cleaning agents, you may want to cover any plants with a plastic tarp to protect them from any chemicals.

Cover all electrical outlets that don't have a waterproof cover. You may need to seal them with plastic and waterproof tape.

3. Pretreat Stains

If the concrete is badly stained, a pressure washer probably won't clean it completely. In this case, it's a good idea to treat stained areas beforehand with some kind of cleaning agent.

Options might be a degreaser, bleach, or detergent depending on the stain itself. Apply the cleaning agent with a scrub brush and let sit. 

To remove heavy areas of oil or grease, use tri-sodium phosphate (TSP). Carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions and all safety warnings. Multiple passes of any of these cleaning agents may be required before pressure washing.

4. Test the Spray

It takes a little practice to understand how far to hold the spray nozzle from the concrete, and just how much time and effort to devote to one area. Work in a small area until you're sure you're cleaning the concrete completely then move on from there.

5. Work Methodically

For the best results, it's important to work on each section of concrete until it's clean. Sometimes working in a crosshatch pattern assures that all the dirt and grime is removed. Once one section of concrete is cleaned, move on to the next.

6. Seal the Concrete

When finished with power washing your concrete it's a good idea to immediately seal it. Otherwise, you might have to repeat the whole process again in a few short months.

The A-1 Concrete Cleaning Process

Here at A-1 Concrete Leveling Louisville, we use 4,000+ PSI power washers with rotating attachments to clean concrete. The rotating attachments evenly distribute water across the surface, making it easier to remove buildup and helping reduce the likelihood of streaking. 

To clean your concrete, we connect our power washing equipment directly to your water spigot and typically start at the highest point of the area, causing dirt and grime to run downhill. 

We switch back and forth between a wand and surface cleaner, both with rotation capabilities, to get the cleanest result.

Because we want to ensure a job is done to the A-1 standard, if we are doing the concrete sealing, we also do the power washing. If the concrete isn’t clean enough, the sealer will not penetrate and it will just sit on the surface, minimizing its preservation properties.

Your Next Steps

Now that you know why concrete cleaning and power washing your concrete are so important, you're ready to decide if it's a project you'd like to do yourself, or if you'd rather have a professional like A-1 make sure it gets squeaky clean.

A-1 Concrete Leveling has been in the business of repairing and preserving concrete for more than thirty years, and in this time we've cleaned and sealed thousands of homeowners' concrete surfaces.

If you're interested in seeing what A-1 Concrete Leveling can do for your concrete, click the link below to schedule an onsite consultation and cost estimate with one of our experts!

You may be interested in these additional topics from our library of resources, called Concrete Academy: