More homeowners are choosing concrete driveways because it’s a durable material that can resist a lot of pressure. The upkeep isn’t too difficult, either; one inexpensive way to keep it looking like new is to pressure wash it. A good washing can remove years of build-up from the surface and restore the original appearance of the concrete.
Many professionals say that you should pressure wash your concrete driveway at least once a year. The more accurate answer depends on the property around your driveway, as well as how you use the space. It’s never good to pressure wash the concrete too often – it can degrade the material, especially when used improperly.
Why Pressure Washing Your Driveway Is Important
You’ll find the need to pressure wash your driveway every year if you have large trees, shrubs or hedges that surround your property. The build-up of organic matter such as pollen and sap can happen quickly, and it can encourage the growth of moss and algae. If leaves are left stuck to the concrete, they will rot and stain the surface. Not only does this build-up look bad, but it also makes the concrete very slippery.
Concrete driveways that aren’t surrounded by plants may not be as susceptible to grime, but they can still collect a lot of dust, dirt, mud, oil and other contaminants. It can get even worse if you use the driveway to do maintenance on vehicles. All that grime can get stuck in cracks that you can’t reach with a brush, and over time this can degrade the concrete surface. Stains from grease and oil can be very hard to remove without a little power; if you work on your driveway, pressure washing it once a year will keep the surface looking great.
However, you shouldn’t use a power washer on your concrete driveway every time it needs cleaning. The intense, close pressure can harm it, especially if used improperly.
Why Pressure Wash Your Concrete Driveway Only Once A Year?
When using a pressure washer on clean concrete, it’s possible to cause damage like pitting, hairline cracks and fractures, and other forms of surface degradation. While you might not see them right away, these little damages will grow due to freezing and thawing cycles. Depending on the style of the driveway, you can also damage the mortar or joint sand between decorative bricks and paving stones.
Pressure washing is worse if you use the wrong nozzle, apply a higher pressure than needed, or hold the stream too close to the surface, all have the potential to damage the concrete. Select a washer with between 3 – 4 gallons per minute (GPM) at a pressure of 3000 pounds per square inch (psi), and use a nozzle with a wider angle rather than one that delivers a narrow stream of water.
Before you take out the pressure washer for a minor clean-up, see if spraying the nozzle of your garden hose is enough to wash the area. Power washing is the most effective option, but if you sweep and hose off your driveway regularly, you won’t have to pressure wash the concrete nearly as often!