Is It Time to Pressure Wash Your Pavers?
Pavers are a unique material because they do not need much maintenance. For the most part, you sweep, rinse, let dry. Bam, you’re done. That’s it. But when regular cleaning falls off, you need more intense cleaning to get those stains out. For a deep clean, you need to pressure wash.
Pressure washing may sound intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. In this blog, we look at the basics of how pressure washing works. We also look into when you know it’s time to pressure wash. And in this DIY world of ours, we analyze whether it’s better to do it yourself or hire a company.
What is Pressure Washing?
Pressure washing is the solution for messy pavers. Pressure washing, or power washing, uses high-pressure water to blast away grime. It is the best cleaning method for ground in stains outdoors. Pressure washing machines use a high-pressure hose attached to a pump. The pump pushes water through the hose at different pressures. The pressure depends on your settings and machine. A spray head or wand attached to the hose allows for more control. Long wands are good for hard to reach areas. For large surface areas, there are surface cleaner spray bars.
The pressure in pressure washing is where the magic happens. Without the brute force behind the water, it would be the same as using a garden hose. You measure pressure in units of PSI. PSI stands for pound-force per square inch. How much PSI a pressure washer has varies based on the machine. Gas-powered machines have a higher PSI range of 2000-2800. Electric machines have lower PSI ranges of about 1300-1700.
For tough jobs, a cleaning solution may be something you need. Cleaning solutions for pavers are usually acidic or basic products. Do not use acidic cleaners without proper protection and knowledge. Not only can acidic cleaners damage your pavers, but they also burn your skin on contact.
When to Pressure Wash
There are quite a few scenarios in which you should choose to pressure wash. Dirty pavers are not the only signal that it is time. Regular cleaning and maintenance remove most pavers stains. It also helps prevent bigger issues. A scrub brush, hot water, and soap are your greatest paver cleaning tools. But sometimes there is a set in stain that your scrub brush just can’t reach. If you have tried everything and the stain is not coming out, it’s time to pressure wash.
Pressure washing is also a great idea before installing new pavers. Pavers are amazing because if one breaks, you can replace it. They are individual pieces that interlock together. This means if one breaks, you do not need to remove everything. You can also remove stubbornly stained pavers instead of cleaning them. But before putting new pavers in among your old pavers, pressure wash. Why? Because you do not want some pavers looking brand new and some to look old. Your new pavers will stand out against your old ones if you do not pressure wash them. Pressure washing all your pavers when you get new ones helps to create a consistent look.
If you are planning to seal your pavers, pressure wash them first. Even with regular maintenance, there is no telling what is lurking in your pavers’ pores. Just because the surface is sparkling clean does not mean the inside is. Sealing your pavers seals in everything. That means any dirt, mold, or weeds left behind get sealed in, too. The purpose of sealing is to protect your pavers from these things. Not to glue them together for eternity. To avoid this dilemma, schedule a pressure wash before sealing your pavers every time. That way you can feel confident nothing goes wrong with the sealing process.
Rent a Machine or Hire a Company?
It is very easy to look at the cost of pressure washing and decide to rent a machine. Especially in the age of Pinterest. Pinterest makes doing it yourself look easy and even desirable. The gentle satisfaction of doing a job yourself looks tempting. And for some projects, DIY is perfect! But when it comes to using certain machinery, you should stray away from DIY.
You can rent from a home improvement store and do it yourself. But all pressure washing machines work a little differently. Getting the pressure you need for your exact situation is tricky without training. Pressure washing companies also usually have big guns. Meaning their machines are more powerful. A more powerful machine can clean faster and better than smaller, rental ones. The machines pressure washing companies use are expensive to rent. They are also difficult to get a consistent clean with if you do not know what you are doing.
Some stains may also need specific cleaning products. For many pavers, the cleaning product of choice is an acidic one. Acidic cleaners are dangerous when not handled correctly. This is a good reason to hire a company. Pressure washing technicians operate these machines daily. They also have training specific to working with acidic cleaners. They know how much to use and how to use it safely. They also know how to mix it so that it removes your stains but does not damage your pavers.
So, our official advice from Unique Pavers Design is to hire a company. The price tag might intimidate you. But ultimately, you are getting much more bang for your buck. Professionally cleaned pavers look better. An untrained person with a pressure washer is more prone to leaving streaks in the dirt. They are also more likely to use the wrong pressure or product. When in doubt, hire out.
Sealing Your Pavers
Sealing your pavers is a great way to pressure wash your pavers less. In general, we recommend pressure washing at least once a year. Even with regular maintenance. But sealing allows you to go a little longer between deep cleans. Unless there is a big spill, stain, or broken paver. Those instances need pressure washing sooner, even if you have a sealant.
Most pavers materials are porous. That means that liquids and small particles can enter into the actual paver. This is great when it comes to allowing rainwater to pass through to the underground aquifers. But it’s not so great when it comes to keeping your pavers looking great for years to come.
Sealing your pavers prevents mold and mildew growth. Porous pavers allow mold spores to settle in deep. So unless you are removing the surface mold as soon as it starts to grow, that mold is spreading. In Southwest Florida, mold is ever-present. Especially on shaded pavers during the rainy season.
Pressure cleaning will remove mold even from within the depths of your pavers. But sealing will help prevent the deep growth almost completely. Sealing your pavers makes it possible for the mold to only grow on the surface. This means you can remove it with an antimicrobial product, water, and a scrub brush! But even sealing is not full proof. You need to reseal your pavers every other year for the best results.
Questions? Contact Unique Pavers Designs!
So, is it time to pressure wash your pavers? If you aren’t sure, contact us or give us a call at Unique Pavers Design. We know pavers. We can teach you how to care for your hardscape designs. Whether they are on your house or paving your driveway, we know what to do. We want your pavers designs to stand the test of time. Sharing our knowledge on maintenance with you is something we love to do. We can help you find a trustworthy pressure washing company. Or just give you some suggestions for avoiding certain pavers problems.
Unique Pavers Designs creates beautiful hardscapes for any building. We service both residential and commercial needs. We offer many different projects to choose from. The sky’s the limit when it comes to pavers projects. We do fire pits, patios, driveways, and more!