Will a Pressure Washer Damage Concrete? (Experts Explain)

by Nate Kneble on Feb 9, 2022

Power washing your driveway and pathways is one of the most rewarding yet time-consuming outdoor projects you can undertake. While you may be aware that power washing can almost magically remove built-up filth, debris, and stains from virtually any surface, you may be wondering if it may harm concrete.

If you own a business and require the service of a commercial pressure washer contact our professional power washing company.

Will Pressure Washing Damage Your Concrete?

Yes, power cleaning a concrete surface can cause it to deteriorate. High output pressure can cause obvious damage. As a result, if you're not careful, you might permanently harm your driveway or patio. Furthermore, some concrete is weaker than others, leaving some sections more susceptible to developing lines, pitting, or other surface flaws, not to mention joint degeneration if mortar or joint sand is washed away during the process.

The improper nozzle, high pressure, spraying too near to a concrete surface, and keeping the nozzle on a specific location for too long are the most common causes of pressure washing damage.

How Does Damage Arise From Pressure Washing?

Concrete has been a durable building material; it is not impervious to wear and strain. Over time, cracks, spalling, and defects can appear, especially on driveways with many foot and automobile activities. A pressure washer produces 30 to 80 times more powerful water than a garden hose.

If your concrete seems etched, producing an uneven surface and an unsightly driveway or surface, you've harmed it owing to a poor power washing job. However, etching and other sorts of substantial damage aren't necessarily caused by high pressure, and they might have existed before you cleaned the dirt and filth that had accumulated on top of the surface.

Power washing should be avoided for the time being if you have newly laid concrete. It takes at least a year for concrete to bind in such a way that it can withstand this kind of strain. You may try combining water with dishwashing detergent and scrubbing off the stain or discoloration yourself if there need to clean concrete without using a lot of pressure.

Another substantial damage we see is when people's power washes their driveways too often. Concrete should be power washed once a year, so if you do it once a month (or even more regularly), it will wear out and be vulnerable to harm.

Keep in mind that if you're power washing your concrete and then moving on to another surface, like your outdoor furniture, you'll probably want to reduce the pressure. Pressure washing wooden decks are recommended; however, some may be cleaned with a garden hose. Power washing your roof is typically not a good idea since turning on the machine on a ladder might throw you off balance. It's also not a good idea to pressure wash your automobile since it might harm the paint. Contact with a high-pressure spray on your skin can result in lacerations and bruises, as well as eye damage.


How To Pressure Wash Concrete

If you want to power wash your surfaces, you'll need to buy, rent, or borrow a pressure washer; but, it is better to hire the services of a professional. Let's go through the processes in pressure cleaning a surface now.

  • Make Sure Your Water Supply Is Working.

Your pressure washer won't accomplish its job effectively if you don't have enough water. You may run a short test to determine whether your hose can fill a five-gallon pail quickly to ensure you have enough water flow. You're fine to go if it takes less than two minutes.

  • Check Your Nozzle

Do not use a tiny nozzle; the incorrect size can harm various surfaces: the greater the number, the narrower and more powerful the spray. Stick to a 25-degree nozzle for spraying and rinsing concrete and other masonry surfaces. To remove grease stains, you might wish to use a finer nozzle. Only use a 15-degree nozzle on materials that can resist the most severe pressure from your washer, such as iron. A 0-degree nozzle should never be used since it is dangerous.

If you're unsure which nozzle to use, start with the largest and work your way down. For siding, furniture, and more delicate decks, even the 25-degree nozzle is a little too powerful. When applying detergent to concrete, use a smaller nozzle for a more thorough clean.

  • Analyze The Space

Examine the surfaces that surround the concrete you wish to clean. Sure, the concrete can withstand the force you're going to apply, but what about the neighboring windows? What about the outside furniture? What about the wooden deck?

Before you begin power cleaning, make sure any sensitive areas are covered. Also, if you're going to power wash the driveway, park your car there. If you lose control and the washer blasts your automobile, you can find yourself with damaged paint. One also needs to be sensitive to any potential damage. Due to a trip, no one wants to lose control of a power washer. Remove any toys or lengthy cables from the grass that might become harmful when you begin washing.

  • Make A Backup

Take a few steps back when you're ready to start washing. Keep in mind that a blast from too near might harm the surfaces you're trying to clean. Start by standing at least 10 feet away from the area you're attempting to clean with water. Once the pressure washer is turned on, you may get a bit closer until the space between you and your surface is comfortable.

  • Set Your Sights High And Keep Moving

When you're ready to wash, aim at a higher angle than the target area. Adjust your posture as needed after turning on the washer at 3,000 psi. Using any more pressure can be risky, especially if your concrete is poor. Keep the nozzle going in one direction while you wash. This will keep the surface you're cleaning free of etchings and other damage. When washing your concrete with detergent, we recommend starting at the bottom and working your way up. Also, while rinsing, start at the top and work your way down.

How Often Should You Pressure Wash Concrete?

It is advised to pressure wash your concrete once a year to ensure that you don't expose your concrete to the adverse effects of pressure washing it. But this is not written in concrete. Depending on the requirement of the concrete, adjustments can be made to the number of times the concrete is cleaned. 


Pressure washing your concrete is best left for the professionals to ensure that it is properly done and avoid damage to the concrete. According to HomeAdvisor, the average quote to pressure wash your concrete is $0.40 per square foot. 

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