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How to Pressure Wash Concrete: Your Guide to Pressure Washing Concrete

pressure washing concrete

Pressure washing is widely renowned as the most effective cleaning method for most surfaces, and concrete is no exception. Business owners worldwide love concrete pressure washing to keep the surfaces in and around their commercial buildings pristine, whether it is a parking lot, sidewalk, or flooring.

While learning how to pressure wash concrete is simple, you will have many questions if you haven’t established this process in your business yet.

Does pressure washing damage concrete? How soon can you pressure wash new concrete? And how can I figure out what chemical to use when pressure washing concrete?

There is much to learn, which is why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide on how to pressure wash concrete. Let’s jump right in.

Why is Pressure Washing the Best Way to Clean Concrete?

Concrete is among the most durable materials in commercial buildings, but over time, it can accumulate dirt and grime that can degrade its quality. Because debris is prone to getting deeply embedded within concrete, removing it entirely without a pressure washer can be challenging.

The Importance of Keeping Concrete Surfaces Clean

The high porosity of concrete makes it susceptible to accumulating oil, grease, and dirt deep within its foundation. The buildup of these materials over time will cause cracks, destroying concrete foundations.

Beyond the structural integrity of concrete on your commercial property, regular cleaning also improves the curb appeal of your business. For example, regular parking lot pressure washing will ensure customers and clients get a positive first impression.

Why Pressure Washing is the Most Efficient, Effective Solution

Cleaning is essential, but why is learning how to pressure wash concrete the best option?

Commercial building pressure washing has several benefits compared to other methods for revitalizing concrete surfaces. The high-pressure streams allow you to eradicate deeply embedded grime in a fraction of the time most methods take.

Pressure washers come with various power settings that allow you to take a specialized approach to the type of debris present. Concrete pressure washing is also much safer for the environment than chemical-based cleaning methods, especially when you use biodegradable soaps.

Does Pressure Washing Damage Concrete, Though?

With the high-powered stream of water coming from your machine, taking precautions to ensure the underlying surface remains stable is critical. So, does pressure washing damage concrete?

As long as you research and find suitable power washer models and settings, you can mitigate the damage. 

So, what do you need to start pressure washing safely without damaging your surface?

You’ll need to find the best PSI for pressure washing concrete, as this controls the force of water. In addition, you also need appropriately safe detergents that will eliminate stains.

We’ll cover all those vital pressure washing tips in the next sections, so take notes to master the best way to pressure wash concrete.

Renting, Buying, or Outsourcing: What is the Best Way to Pressure Wash Concrete?

The cost to pressure wash concrete can range from an affordable one-day rental for short-term value to a long-term investment that will last for years.

Beyond buying and renting, outsourcing cleaning tasks to an external company is also possible. However, these companies usually charge much more than the average cost to pressure wash concrete with your machine, so it could be counterproductive for your business.

Renting vs Buying a Pressure Washer

Both options of renting or buying a pressure washer benefit your business, and which one is ideal will depend on your needs.

Renting offers you access to multiple types of power washers with various PSI and GPM settings. For example, you could rent the best pressure washer for concrete for one week, then turn around and get a machine specialized in restaurant pressure washing the next.

Pressure washer rental costs are usually low, making this a practical option.

However, buying the best pressure washer for concrete outright is a superior option for long-term value. You can train your staff on how to pressure wash concrete on the same model, maintaining consistency, which will help them learn the process.

Does it Ever Make Sense to Outsource the Job Altogether?

While you can either buy or rent a pressure washer and see fantastic results, what about the third option of hiring an external cleaning company?

The reality is that outsourcing your cleaning tasks can quickly become a massive hole in your budget. The cost to pressure wash concrete an external company charges you is often 3 to 5 times greater than rentals.

That means that after just a few external cleaning jobs, you will have spent an amount you could’ve used to buy a machine outright!

External companies often tout other benefits, possessing expertise in crucial areas like what to spray on concrete before pressure washing or knowing the best PSI for pressure washing concrete.

However, these things are simple to learn and teach to your staff, which can save you thousands.

Overall, renting or buying is your best option in most circumstances.

Choosing the Best Pressure Washer for Concrete

As you begin shopping for a pressure washer, whether you rent or buy, you’ll likely have plenty of questions, like what size pressure washer do I need, or what is the best way to pressure wash concrete?

Let’s go over all the criteria you need to consider to find the best commercial pressure washer for the job.

The Role of Water Temperature

Deciding between hot water pressure washers vs cold models is among the most vital factors to consider when cleaning concrete.

Cold water pressure washers are a great choice for general-purpose cleaning but aren’t as powerful as warmer options when it comes to dealing with embedded stains. Because impacted debris is so common on concrete, hot water machines are your best bet.

What is the Best PSI for Pressure Washing Concrete?

Understanding PSI for pressure washers is another critical aspect to consider. PSI stands for pounds per square inch, describing the force of the water stream used by the machine.

The best PSI for pressure washing concrete is usually in the range of 2000 to 4000 PSI. Lower PSI models may lack the cleaning power necessary to clear out embedded stains, while higher values will damage the underlying surface when used improperly.

Other Considerations

There are a few other pressure washing tips to keep in mind.

Pressure washer GPM is the sibling of PSI. It stands for gallons per minute and describes the amount of water your machine uses. We recommend a GPM of at least 2.0 to provide enough water to remove embedded grime.

Additionally, you’ll want to choose between electric or gas pressure washers. Gas models have more power and are more mobile, perfect for outdoor jobs like parking lots or sidewalks. On the other hand, electric machines are eco-friendly and safer to use indoors.

You also want to consider how old your concrete is. How soon can you pressure wash new concrete?

While the exact duration will depend on the type of concrete, we recommend waiting at least one month before beginning. 

As for the best chemical for pressure washing concrete, let’s cover that next.

What Chemical to Use When Pressure Washing Concrete

There’s a big difference in results between using the best chemical for pressure washing concrete and inferior options. Specially formulated soaps are crucial to effectively removing stubborn embedded debris, and the best blends are also biodegradable for a regulatory-compliant clean.

The Role of Detergents in the Concrete Pressure Washing Process

Learning how to use pressure washer soap is just as vital as figuring out the machines themselves. Detergents aid in the eradication of debris and contaminants without damaging the underlying surfaces.

The best detergent for pressure washing on concrete is Hotsy’s Breakthrough, with a biodegradable blend that is fine-tuned for eliminating embedded materials. Alternatively, if you notice excess concrete splatter on your property, you can also opt for Hotsy Con-b-Gon, a specialty formula that will eliminate splatter without harming the underlying concrete.

Our Advice on What to Spray on Concrete Before Pressure Washing

We recommend pre-treating the area with an all-purpose detergent like Hotsy Breakthrough, allowing it to soak fully. From there, you can add specialty detergents for spot areas as needed.

How to Pressure Wash Concrete: Step-by-Step Guide to Pressure Washing Concrete

You now know the best chemicals for pressure washing concrete and what kinds of machines to purchase. Let’s now discuss how to use a pressure washer on concrete surfaces.

Clearing Debris and Protecting Adjacent Areas

Before starting the process, you want to ensure the cleaning area is completely safe. Clear any debris or obstacles that can get in the way, like leaves, dirt, or litter. You should also protect any delicate surfaces by moving them or covering them to avoid damage from the stream.

Additionally, be sure to provide safety equipment to employees, like goggles, gloves, and non-slip pressure washing boots.

Assessing Your Concrete for Stains, Cracks, Chips, and More Before Pressure Washing

Perform a visual inspection before beginning your cleaning. This will allow you to identify structural flaws or damage, helping you place extra attention on those areas.

Setting Up Your Pressure Washer

Whether you buy or rent your machine, you should follow your manufacturer’s instructions for setup. This includes attaching hoses and accessories like nozzles and wands and ensuring a proper water flow.

Depending on your energy source, you’ll also need to check for a full fuel tank or a suitable power outlet for gas or electric models, respectively.

Pre-soaking the Concrete: When and Why It Helps

A high-quality pre treatment for pressure washing is crucial to achieving an amazing result. Pre-soaking your surface with detergent helps to loosen embedded debris, making the washing process easier.

With the right blend of detergent, you’ll be able to spend less time blasting the embedded debris with water, which will also help to preserve the integrity of your concrete.

The Washing Sequence: Where to Start and How to Proceed

Start by washing at a safe distance with a lower power setting. Gradually move towards the surface and ramp up power, allowing you to figure out a safe distance and power.

We recommend sweeping from top to bottom where possible, using overlapping patterns to ensure an even coverage.

For stubborn areas, you can go over them again with a higher pressure to ensure the stain is removed completely.

Post-Cleaning Techniques: Rinsing and Drying

Thorough rinsing and drying will ensure the best result possible. Go back over your surfaces with a water-only rinse using the same sweeping motions.

Once done, allow the surface to dry completely. We recommend natural air drying wherever possible, but you can also use fans for high-traffic indoor areas.

Now that you know everything about pressure washing concrete, all that is left is to figure out where to get all of your supplies. If you’re looking for a commercial pressure washer in Houston, we have just the place in mind…

Get All Your Concrete Pressure Washing Essentials at Hotsy of Houston!

Hotsy of Houston is the #1 home for hot and cold water pressure washers in Houston and Southeast Texas. We are an experienced team of Houston natives with over a century of combined experience in the power-washing industry, backed by the most reputable brand in the industry: Hotsy.

Whether you are looking for a commercial hot water pressure washer for sale in Houston or industrial pressure washer rental in Houston, our team will be a strategic partner for your business. We’ll help you find the best machine for your cleaning tasks, help you determine an ideal pressure washer soap, and even assist with pressure washing trailer setup.

We also provide full-service pressure washer repair in Houston, including Hotsy Warranty servicing and a diverse inventory of pressure washer parts in Houston. No matter your needs, the Hotsy of Houston team is here to help you streamline your business’ cleaning processes.

Closing Thoughts on How to Pressure Wash Concrete

If you enjoyed our pressure washing tips for concrete, check out our blog for more advice! Our latest articles include pressure washing license in Texas, pressure washer hose length, how to maintain a pressure washer, what kind of soap for pressure washers, and storing a pressure washer.

Otherwise, if you’re looking for a pressure washer trailer for sale in Texas or want to get your hands on the best pressure washer accessories and best pressure washer hoses, Hotsy of Houston has your back.

Whether you need help with pressure washing a concrete surface, want to find new soaps for your industry, or have a machine needing servicing, you’ll find it all at Hotsy of Houston. Contact our friendly team to get started with personalized guidance to help you modernize your cleaning.