Can A Pressure Washer Damage Concrete?

Pressure washers are popular because they make cleaning surfaces like decks, patios and driveways incredibly fast and easy. Turning on the pressure washer, aiming and pulling the trigger certainly isn’t rocket science. If misused, a pressure washer can definitely damage your car’s paint job — but can a pressure washer damage concrete?

Truth be told, you need to learn to manage the equipment properly if you don’t want to injure your property (or yourself!). With a few tips and safety precautions, you can ensure your driveway, patio or other concrete surface gets sparkling clean without being damaged.

How can a pressure washer damage concrete?

There’s more than one way to damage concrete with a pressure washer. Here are all the ways you could mess up your driveway, patio, sidewalk or other surface:

  • An inexperienced person using the pressure washer
  • Wrong nozzle
  • Pressure set too high
  • Holding washer too close to the surface
  • Cleaning the same place for a long time

Some types of concrete are more prone to damage than others.

What makes concrete susceptible to damage?

Quality of the concrete

Low or bad quality concrete will have holes in it that will absorb water quickly. When a significant amount of water is absorbed into concrete, it will cause damage and weaken the concrete, causing cracking over time.

Age of the concrete

A freshly poured concrete surface shouldn’t be pressure washed for quite some time, because it will weaken the bonding between the concrete elements. Be sure to avoid pressure washing while your concrete is still new in order to give it time to get settled.

Using too much pressure

The powerful water stream of a pressure washer can damage the character of concrete and leave visible water lines. However, pressure washers are adjustable, meaning you can adjust the water pressure to be more gentle. Concentrating pressure into one small area is another possible cause of concrete damage. Make sure to select a pressure washer nozzle that cleans with a wider angle to diffuse the intense pressure across a wider area.

Frequency of cleaning

Nobody likes dust, dirt or grime on the exterior of their home. But regularly cleaning the same surface, over and over again, can make it weak. Cleaning your patio or sidewalk every single week will increase the chances of the concrete getting damaged. Instead, clean it thoroughly and then wait until the dirt has significantly built back up before doing it again.

Ready to start pressure washing?

Now that you know the answer to the question “Can a pressure washer damage concrete?”, you’re ready to clean your driveway, pool or other concrete surface. Be sure to check out our Best Pressure Washer Reviews of 2020 to find the right one for you and your home.


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