When cleaning a driveway we first must asses what exactly is on the surface?
At a quick glance we think it is dirt but upon closer inspection of the driveways concrete, pavers or other materials with pores we see it is actually mold and mildew from the built up humid weather. In most instances the unclean driveway will appear black and dark colored as well as green, from the algae and gleocapsmagma.
The best solution for this as with any cleaning is picking the proper tool for the job and the right chemical to achieve the best results.
Driveway Pressure Cleaning requires a professional pressure washer to push out the organic material in the driveways surface, typically concrete, paver or painted, then the chemicals usually being chlorine loosen the bacteria and kill it off. Making for a sanitized and clean surface.
Not only will the chemicals make the cleaning process easier but it will make it last longer. Water pressure alone will not kill the mold and mildew only remove it from the naked eye.
The primary cause of a dirty driveway surface is the weather and humidity that is built up day by day. After months without cleaning of untreatment the bacteria begins to eat at the salt mineral in the concrete and pavers, taking away its color and luster. A good driveway cleaning is recommended to be done every 6 months to a year. For homeowners looking for a lower cost alternative it may be best to rent a pressure washer at a local hardware store. For the homeowner tight on time it is best to hire a professional to get the job done right and with efficiency in mind. Common mold and mildew requires a low concentration of chemicals from a 1% to 3% with a high pressure cleaning and finish off with a low pressure rinse. For other organic stains like acorn stains, leaf stains and lichen bacteria a stronger mix should be used from 4% to 5% concentration of chemical mix. We caution you or the pressure cleaning professional to use caution while keeping the surrounding landscape in mind. There is nothing worse then being happy with a bright clean driveway but dead burnt grass all around and dried up shrubs along with burned flowers. When power washing any surface you must take into account the plants and painted surfaces, especially any organic paint from sherrwin williams paint that will stain just at the touch of any chlorine chemicals.
To recap this article we always recommend you use caution when handling pressure and chemicals this can not only harm you but your plants and property when handling incorrectly.
Before starting the task of cleaning a driveway it may be a good idea to consult with a professional about what chemical ratios should be used and how often the exterior car surface should be cleaned.
Ideally a mixture of bleach and soaps are the best solution to loosening the organics from the driveways surface. The Chlorine or bleach in this case works systematically to kill anything organic. Be careful when using as improper use can cause skin burns and the fumes can cause lung damage and will lead to an uneasy feeling after the job is completed. For this we recommend spraying the cleaning solution with a pump up sprayer of about 2 gals on the surface before applying any pressure.
While the chlorine attacks the bacteria the soap helps in allowing the bleach to eat at the mold or mildew. It is best to use professional surfactants instead of your normal dawn dish soap as when mixed together causes a deadly gas.
After allowing the proper dwell time to take effect in killing off the dirt and mildew driveway of about 15mins. It is time to break out the pressure washer to power out the dirt out the pores.
Plug in your water source, prepare your tools and turn on the machine.
You want to make sure you clean evenly and make sure to not miss any spots. There is nothing worse then finishing up your work and load up the machine just to find out you missed a spot.
Always check your work. A surface cleaner or also called a hover brush may be very beneficial in completing your work in a timely even manner.
Next you want to rinse off any excess dirt left on the driveway and again check your work.
If needed apply a final coat of chemical to the driveway that was cleaned. This acts as a final layer of clean to kill off any residual bacteria and avoid any clean streaks.
Clean streaks in the pressure cleaning industry refers to the leftover streaks made from the cleaning process itself. Clean streaks occur when you clean over the same areas more than once. Think of it as cleaning one side once and another side twice. The side of the driveway that was cleaned twice will most likely appear cleaner and brighter. The solution to this is the cleaning chemicals themselves to be applied as the last step and allow all the time it needs to dissolve with the driveways surface.
By the next day you will have a bright driveway to enjoy for months to come and depending on weather years.
Although pressure cleaning refers to the cleaning of the surface, cleaning only with water is not cleaning at all. The tiny bacteria particles are still in the driveways pores painted, concrete or pavers. The proper method of cleaning is a combination of pressure and chemicals to remove and kill the dirt embedded. Leaving a short lived clean that will have to be repeated continuously throughout the year.
In conclusion the best method of cleaning and sanitizing a driveway in south florida is a combination of water pressure and biodegradable chemicals and surfactants.
For more information feel free to visit our blog page for pressure cleaning tips and tricks.
When first renting or buying a pressure washing machine we are excited to start it up and get going, we hook up the water supply line, connect the high pressure hose and get the much needed cleaning chemical detergents ready and on stand by.
We then come to be stumped by the different colored tips that come with the pressure washing machine.
Not to worry as we will lay in all out why the different colors and what are their intentions in getting the best results possible.
Let us first start with why the pressure cleaning tips are colored, this is simply to remind us of the varying shooting degrees.
The various degrees are four main sizes. 0 Degrees, 15 degree, 25 degree, 40 degree and last but not least the 60 degree soap tip.
The different degree of spray patterns can also affect the pressure being used on any surface. The widest degree is the softest on a surface for cleaning and has much room for error. The thinnest degree is the strongest because the force of water is being concentrated into one small point. When it comes to choosing the best pressure cleaning tip for the best results and safety of the surface we choose to go with the white tip, this allows for proper flow to the surface and an even clean without sacrificing those though to reach gum stains.
The strongest tip of the bunch is the red tip. We very rarely use this tip although we still keep it on the truck in case of any situations where its power will be called on. The red tip has a 0 degree opening allowing for a straight very high pressure force to come out. In most scenarios this tip is used for taking out tough gum or glue marks as well as paint. Please use this tip with a high degree of caution. Do not use this on a house siding, windows, wood, any painted surface or roofs. The power from this tip will at first appear to be cleaning but what will be left being is scaring on any surface it touches.
Up next we have the yellow tip that gives us a 15 degree spray pattern. Although not as harsh as the red tip it is still a force to be reckoned with. Handle with caution as this pressure cleaning tip can also leaving being scaring depending how close you are the surface and what PSI is being used to complete the job. This tip is best used for tough cement on concrete driveways and pavers that was not cleaned up correctly and needs some added pressure to be knocked down.
Next we have the two tips we mainly use in everyday pressure cleaning to ensure the best results. The famous green tip and white tip. The green tip comes in a 25 degree spray pattern and the white tip comes in a 40 degree spray pattern. When used with a high flow and high PSI pressure washer we can create exterior cleaning magic.
Last but not least the 60 degree soap nozzle. This is a low pressure soap nozzle used with a down streaming kit that pulls soaps and detergents to spray on any surface at a low concentration. The downstreaming tube is placed in a bucket or tank to siphon and mixed into the high pressure line. The dilution is typically 2% to 3%. This is perfect for house washing and as a pretreat on driveways and patios. Please note that after applying any detergent please watch out for any plants and rinse all your equipment out for the next use. This will prolong its life and maintain stead results for the next cleanings.
Here is an example of what the various pressure cleaning degree look like
A few words of caution when buying new pressure washing tips. Make sure the tips are rated for your pressure washers PSI and water flow, being 4,5 6, 8, 10 or 12 GPM. Failing to do so can result in injury or damage the pressure washers pump.
For more information feel free to check out more of our Blogs
If you would like a quick quote for your home please call us at (561)-305-8154
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We service Boca Raton, Delray, Parkland and the surrounding areas.
How to pressure clean: Step By Step
Pressure cleaning also known as power washing in varying parts of the country is a simple process that when done right leaves a lasting impression to people passing by.
Pressure cleaning requires a gas or electric machine (we recommend gas powered due to its power and reliability) that uses regular garden hose pressure, creates the pressure and shoot it out through the gun wand, surface cleaner or other adapter.
List of needed tools include:
Gas or electric power washer 2 GPM and up
Approximately 100 foot of high pressure hose
Pressure Cleaning Gun or wand
Approximately 50 feet of garden hose (connecting to the homes outlet)
We also recommend a ball valve and surface cleaner make the cleaning process easier and less time consuming!
Step by Step:
1. First connect your garden hose to the outlet and to the power washer.
2. Connect your high pressure hose to the power washing machine and to the desired tool. (Gun, surface cleaner etc)
3. Open the garden hose valve and let the water flow till the line is bleed for air leaks.
4 Once the line is cleared and ready, turn on your power washer while trying to keep your hand on the trigger to keep the pressure open.
5. You are ready to pressure wash any part of your homes exterior just be sure to wear protective eye wear and a mask if using harsh cleaning chemicals.
Caution: If the pressure is left unattended for long than 30 seconds it will harm the pumps seals with hot water created by friction of the recirculating water in the pump. Professional pressure cleaning companies use buffer tanks and relief valves to keep their heavy duty machines cool and lasting longer. If you need to take a break or can not relieve your power washers pressure we suggest you turn it off until done.
Pressure cleaning should be done at least yearly to kept up to date and not let bacteria smelling or let the homes curb appeal fall behind. Remember a good pressure cleaning can raise your homes value especially before a sale.
If you are in the south florida area looking to buy/ rent a pressure washer we advise you to checkout our friends at VC Equipment in Boca Raton or give them a call to check for pricing at (561)-394-7086
We serve Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Parkland and the surrounding areas.
For more information or for a quick quote call or text us at (561)-305-8154
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