How to pressure wash a patio or decking
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This task should be relatively straightforward regardless of your gardening experience. However, before you get started on any of our 'how to' guides, please take a moment to read through our safety tips.
Using a pressure washer to get rid of all the algae, lichen and moss that's covering your patio can help you skip the hard work of using a manual scrubbing brush. Their powerful pump and narrow nozzle make pressure washers blast water in a forceful spray, which will remove dirt and grime quickly while using water more efficiently than a normal garden hose.
Tools for the job:
Which pressure washer do I need?
If you’re thinking about buying a pressure washer, our pressure washer buying guide will help you find the right one to suit all your needs.
How to pressure wash a patio:
Clear your patio completely by removing all furniture, ornaments and pots.
Using a broom, brush away any loose debris such as leaves and dirt.
Connect your hose and ensure that water is running freely before you begin. Allow water to flow through the machine to remove any air locks. Please note the hose should be a minimum of 7.5m in length and ½ inch thick. If you're using a hose reel, this should be fully unwound and free of kinks to ensure a constant water flow. To connect your hose you will require two universal connectors and a tap adaptor for your garden tap.
Connect your pressure washer to the mains electricity supply then turn it on to pressurize the system.
Before you start cleaning your patio, you could apply detergent to the surface to help dissolve dirt and make the patio easier to clean. Some detergents also have special properties that will help reduce the build-up of dirt going forwards and will also protect your surfaces from weather damage. Specific detergents are available for stone, wood and vehicles, each with specially designed formulae to suit the task.
Some dirt and organisms like lichens can be hard to remove using a standard lance or patio cleaner. Most pressure washers come with a rotary pencil jet nozzle that can provide up to 80% more power. By switching to this lance you can ensure even the most stubborn dirt can be removed. It is important to note that the increased power of these lances means they should only be used on hard surfaces such as stone or brickwork, sensitive surfaces such as wood or vehicle paintwork may be damaged if cleaned with this type of lance.
Jet washing a block paved driveway is not always the best way to clean it as, by its very nature, it will remove the sand that binds the blocks together. If you do use a jet washer on your driveway, the sand needs to be replaced before any substantial traffic is allowed on the driveway as sand binds the blocks together as mass.
How to pressure wash decking:
To clean decking, you should follow the same process as cleaning a patio. As mentioned in Step 5, there are specific detergents for woodwork available that will protect your decking from UV damage whilst helping you dissolve the dirt. As mentioned in Step 6, rotary pencil jet nozzles are not suitable for wooden surfaces, most machines will come with a variable pressure lance where pressure can be reduced so that they can be used safely on your decking.
- If you're using an extension cable, it is advised that this should be no longer than 10 metres in length and have a constant rating of 13 AMPS.
- Always wear safety goggles and use a special detergent to help remove the grime.
- Take care when using the washer near plants.
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