Pressure Washing Your Sidewalk and Driveway

pressure-washerChicago neighbors, if you’re anything like me, you are always looking for opportunities to use a pressure washer.  It’s thrilling to handle that much horsepower.  It’s also a very effective cleaning agent.  In short, it’s not a bad way to spend an afternoon.  So, what do you have that needs cleaning? May we recommend your porous sidewalks, driveway, and garage floor?  By this time, your sidewalk and driveway has probably seen a lot of traffic; bicycles, dogs, strollers, marathon trainers, etc. All of that action leaves behind dirt and grime, and it has had plenty of time to accumulate.  A good pressure wash will eliminate all of that in minutes, and improve the look and longevity of your walk and driveways.

garage-floorDespite the fact that pressure washing can practically be considered recreational, very few people actually own a pressure washer.  No worries, they can be rented very affordably from any home improvement store.  Do read the instructions thoroughly and proceed with caution.  Getting carried away can cause bodily harm and property damage, big time.  And while we’re on the subject, it’s unwise to let children operate the pressure washer. Don’t even think about any playful spraying – it will be tempting – but, it is quite dangerous to people and animals.

Be extra cautious and let your neighbors know you’re about to fire up your pressure washer so they can steer clear, and try to clean at at time when there is relatively low traffic.  We recommend early in the day; traffic is minimal, and cleaned surfaces will have the better part of the day to dry.

You may not have thought of this, but it’s a good idea to dress for the occasion: sturdy shoes, protective eyewear, long pants, and gloves – either rubber or gardening – are always au currant while pressure washing.  Cut-offs and Birkenstocks, with a Bud in one hand, will lead to trouble.  The water pressure will break skin if it makes contact, and any loose debris on the sidewalk instantly turns to shrapnel.  Cover up.

Begin to prepare your pressure washer.  Attach your garden hose to the washer; begin screwing the hose on by hand, and finish by tightening it with a wrench.  Select your spray tip, and turn the pressure washer to its lowest setting.  Turn on your water supply, then the washer motor.

spraying-brickIf you are starting with your sidewalk, aim the nozzle close to the ground for the best power.  With a sweeping motion away from your body, rinse away any dirt, grime or stains.  You can finish with your garden hose to wash away the blasted-off junk.  You can add a cleaner to the washer to help break up stubborn stains, or try a professional-strength concrete cleaner for ground-in grime and oil stains.

Don’t hit every surface with the pressure washer.  You will want to stay away from certain areas: if your sidewalk is cracked, and starting to deteriorate with loose pieces, pressure washing will damage it further, and you’ll have even more pieces.  Stay away from stone walkways, as the pressure will uproot stones.  Also, asphalt sidewalks should be avoided as well; they can be damaged by the pressure, causing cracks or unevenness, and allowing moss and weeds to take over.  Concrete and brick sidewalks are your best bet, and really benefit from a good wash.  If you are planning to seal any concrete surface -sidewalk or garage floor – plan to pressure wash before having the concrete sealed.

spraying-vinyl-sidingAnd because we know you are going to enjoy the thrill of using the pressure washer so much, we know you’ll want to use it on other surfaces.  Proceed with caution!  Don’t use the washer on your house without double-checking the instructions.  Vinyl siding can usually take the pressure, but it’s not a bad idea to check with a home-improvement expert.  We don’t recommend using the pressure washer on your car.  The pressure can take the paint right off and break your windows.

cleanUse proper safety practices, and you will love the results.  A clean sidewalk means less dirt will be tracked through your house.  And, taking care of any debris, or oily spots can prevent injuries to clumsy neighbors, and passers-by.  You’re welcome!  Give the pressure washer a try.  We are willing to be it becomes your new favorite toy.

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