pressure washing concrete

Want to learn all about pressure washing concrete at your property? You’ve come to the right place – we’re going to detail everything you need to know on this topic.

Maybe you’re a business owner looking to keep your storefront or office looking clean and professional. Or, perhaps you’re a property owner looking to raise curb appeal and protect your investment. Either way, learning how to pressure wash concrete is of the utmost importance.

This is the most effective, efficient way to get your concrete looking like new – whether you’re dealing with sidewalks or a large patio. However, there are so many uncertainties shrouding this topic and leaving business or property owners perplexed.

How much PSI to pressure wash concrete is necessary? What nozzle to pressure wash concrete do you need? What is the best way to pressure wash concrete? How long before you can pressure wash new concrete?

Don’t worry – these are just a few of the many questions you’ll find an answer to in this complete guide to pressure washing concrete. By the end of this discussion, you’ll feel more confident in taking this task on yourself – or arming someone in your team with the resources for doing it. First – why should you invest the time, money, and energy towards concrete pressure washing?

Why Pressure Washing Concrete Routinely is So Important

Concrete pressure washing isn’t just about making things look nice – although that’s certainly a perk. This activity also boasts a long list of benefits, both functional and aesthetic.

On the functional side, concrete pressure washing routinely will:

  • Prolong concrete lifespan. By removing harmful debris, chemicals, or salt that could eat away at it, you are protecting your initial concrete investment. Let’s face it – concrete is expensive. An investment in pressure washing is an investment in the concrete itself.
  • Enhance traction to reduce slip-and-fall accidents. From retail storefront entryways or sidewalks to concrete patios at a restaurant or country club – helping eliminate the risk of slips and falls not only protects your employees and your customers. But, it also protects your business from lawsuit liability!
  • Help prepare the surface for repairs or treatments.  If there are cracks, pits, or other surface damage, pressure washing will help prepare the concrete for repair. This way, you’ll achieve a seamless look once the repairs are completed.

On the aesthetic side, pressure washing concrete routinely will:

  • Make a great first impression on customers or clients. First impressions matter – whether it’s for your business or your home. If potential customers or clients see a pressure-washed sidewalk or entryway, they’ll get the sense that you care about your property and take pride in it. This can go a long way!
  • Brighten up the area and give it new life. A pressure washer can make even the dingiest concrete look brand new again. This is an easy way to brighten up an area without spending a lot of money.

What to Use to Pressure Wash Concrete

Now that we’ve gone over some of the reasons why pressure washing concrete is so important, let’s discuss what you need to do it. The obvious answer is a pressure washer – but there are other supplies you may not even realize you need. We’ll help you prepare yourself or your team to take on this task with confidence in this section below. First, you need a pressure washer.

Industrial Pressure Washer

This one is obvious – but do you know how to choose a pressure washer for concrete? First, you need to decide whether you’re going to rent or buy a pressure washer. Wait – can you rent a pressure washer? Yes – and it may be the right play for your business in certain circumstances.

If you don’t think you’ll use it more than 2-4 times a year, commercial pressure washer rental might make more sense for you. But, if you plan on making this a regular activity, buying a pressure washer will save you money in the long run. Trust us – there are so many things you can use the unit for it will pay for itself in no time. From pressure washing parking lots to pressure washing commercial building exteriors, and a whole lot more!

In terms of actually choosing your unit, you need to choose between hot water pressure washers and cold water pressure washers. Each has its time and place, but we typically recommend heated pressure washers because they just have a bit more cleaning capabilities.

Now – another big question we’ve been asked is how much PSI to wash concrete is needed.  In general, you want to look for a unit that delivers around 2,500 – 3,000 PSI of pressure. This is generally enough pressure to power through most concrete cleaning jobs without damaging the surface. But beyond just the pressure washer PSI, you should consider pressure washer GPM as well. The higher the GPM, the more water pressure you’ll have access to – and this can make all the difference in getting your concrete clean.

Above all else, you need the best industrial pressure washer – do not skimp on quality. Otherwise, you won’t reap the benefits of pressure washing concrete that we described earlier. And at Hotsy, that’s exactly what you’ll find. We’re the #1 choice in all of South Texas – visit a retailer near you and we’ll help you find the perfect unit for your needs.

Specialized Commercial Pressure Washing Detergent

You also need pressure washing detergent. And no – we do not recommend you use your own homemade pressure washer detergent! Remember – concrete pressure washing is an investment in your business or property. Trust us when we say it is well worth the investment in a targeted cleaning solution made specifically for pressure washers. 

Now, in terms of choosing the right kind of soap to use in a pressure washer, you have a few options. At Hotsy, we have two great pressure washer degreaser soap formulations for concrete pressure washing in particular: Hotsy Floor Wash & Hotsy Ripper I. Either of these is a great choice as the best pressure washer soap for concrete – no doubt about it!

What Nozzle to Pressure Wash Concrete With

Now that you’ve got your pressure washer and soap, the question becomes: what nozzle to pressure wash concrete with? The answer may surprise you – it’s not just one nozzle that pressure washes concrete well. In fact, there are a few different pressure-washing nozzles you can use for this specific application:

– 40-degree pressure washing nozzle: good for general cleaning

– 15-degree pressure washing nozzle: great for getting into tight spaces

– 0-degree pressure washing nozzle: perfect for stubborn stains and build-up

You also have to make sure you use the right soap tip for pressure washer –  this will ensure the pressure washer soap comes out in the right consistency. If you’re using Hotsy pressure washing detergent, we recommend a black pressure washer tip.

Manual Cleaning Equipment May Help as Well

It’s true – pressure washing is the most effective, efficient form of concrete cleaning there is. However, you may encounter tough stains that need a bit of physical agitation – like a tough-bristle brush.

And as we’ll discuss below, you should also have a broom or rake on hand to clean up physical debris before even starting a pressure washer.

Don’t Forget the Proper PPE, Either!

Last but not least, you need to make sure you have the right Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for concrete pressure washing. This includes:

  • Gloves
  • Glasses
  • Boots
  • Ear protection

You may also want to consider a pressure-washing suit – this will help keep you clean and dry while you work.

Now that we’ve gone over what you need to pressure wash concrete, it’s time to get into how to pressure wash concrete step by step. Trust us – it’s not as complicated as it may seem! Just follow these simple steps and you’ll have no problem getting your concrete clean as new.

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

Ready to discover how to pressure wash concrete? We’re not going to waste any time here. Once you’ve got your equipment and you’ve set the time and date for your cleaning, here’s what you need to do…

Step 1: Clear the Area

The first step in pressure washing concrete is to clear the area of any loose debris. This includes things like leaves, dirt, and rocks. You don’t want anything flying around when you turn on the pressure washer! This is a key element of pressure washer safety.

Step 2: Connect Your Pressure Washer

Now it’s time to connect your pressure washer. If you’re using an electric pressure washer, plug it into a nearby outlet. If you’re using a gas-pressure washer, make sure the engine has oil and gasoline. Once everything is connected, start up your pressure washer according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 3: Test the Pressure Washer

Now that your pressure washer is running, it’s time to test it out. Point the pressure washer nozzle away from any people or pets, and squeeze the trigger. This will give you a feel for how the pressure washer works and how much pressure you’re working with.

Step 4: Soak the Concrete

Now it’s time to start pressure washing! Begin by soaking the concrete in water. This will help loosen any dirt or debris that’s stuck to the surface. You don’t need to use soap at this point – just water will do the trick. However, if your concrete is extra dirty, it’s time to bring some soap to the fight.

Step 5: Add Soap and do the First Pass

You’ll fill your pressure washer with detergent via the detergent tank – and you’ll need to look to the product manual to ensure you get the proper dilution. We have a complete guide on how to use soap in pressure washers if you’re doing this for the first time. Once you’ve added the soap, it’s time to do the first pass.

We recommend letting the suds sit on the concrete for at least 10-20 minutes and soak. This is why it’s best to wait for the concrete to be shaded s other suds won’t dry. After you’ve given the chemicals a chance to work the stains and debris loose, you can then rinse off the concrete.

Step 6: Rinse Off the Concrete

Once you’re finished pressure washing, it’s time to rinse off the concrete. Turn off the pressure washer and let the water run for a few minutes to rinse away any soap or detergent residue. Once you’re finished, turn off the pressure washer and disconnect it from the power source.

Now it’s time to let the concrete dry. This usually takes 12-24 hours, depending on the weather conditions. Once the concrete is dry, you can apply a sealant if desired.

Step 7: Seal Concrete After Pressure Washing

Wondering how to seal concrete after pressure washing? This is an important step for a few reasons – but it’s often overlooked.  First, pressure washing can remove the existing sealant on the concrete. Second, sealing concrete helps protect it from staining and fading.

If you want to reseal your concrete after pressure washing, we recommend waiting at least 24 hours. This will give the concrete plenty of time to dry completely. Once it’s dry, you can apply a new sealant with a brush or roller. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions – and wait for the sealant to dry completely before using the area again.

FAQs About Concrete Pressure Washing

That concludes our guide on how to pressure wash concrete – but now, we’re going to address a few FAQs about concrete pressure washing. 

Does Pressure Washing Damage Concrete?

No – pressure washing does not damage concrete. At least, not if you follow the advice we laid out in the article. This goes back to a similar question – how much PSI to wash concrete is needed? If you stay under the 3,000 PSI range and be sure to hold the nozzle a safe distance, you won’t need to worry about damaging your concrete. 

How to Pretreat Concrete Before Pressure Washing?

There are a few different ways to pretreat concrete before pressure washing. You can use a pressure washer brush attachment, a broom, or a garden hose with a spray nozzle. Whichever method you choose, you’ll want to make sure that you’re using soap or detergent. This will help loosen any dirt or debris that’s stuck to the surface of the concrete. 

How to Keep Concrete Clean After Pressure Washing?

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – so learning how to keep concrete clean after pressure washing is a great idea.  After all, you don’t want to have to pressure wash your concrete more than necessary. 

One of the best ways to keep concrete clean is to seal it after pressure washing. This will help protect it from staining and fading. You can also sweep or hose off the concrete regularly to remove any dirt or debris that’s been tracked onto it. 

How Long Should Concrete Cure Before Pressure Washing?

If you’ve just laid fresh concrete, how long should you wait before pressure washing? 28 days will give the concrete plenty of time to cure and harden. Pressure washing too soon can damage the concrete – so don’t get too eager!

Final Thoughts on Pressure Washing Concrete

There you have it! That’s how to pressure wash concrete in seven simple steps. Just remember to take your time, be safe, and use the proper equipment and PPE – and you’ll have no problem getting your concrete clean as new. We have an article on more advanced pressure washing techniques if you’d like to learn more about actually using a pressure washer.

And don’t forget – no cleaning process is complete without Hotsy equipment and supplies. When they say nothing cleans like a Hotsy, you can take their word for it – our reputation as the #1 San Antonio pressure washing store precedes itself!