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 2022 to find the right one for you and your home.
I hired a power wash company and they practically ruined my patio. The entire surface is eroded. It looks like it had a case of acne. This is proof that his pressure was excessive. (3500 PSI)
Thanks for your comment Dick, interesting to know the pressure amount that caused it.
This is a big concern for many homeowners when in need of house washing or simple walkway cleaning. You gave great information on this matter, there are many things that a pressure washer will take into consideration before taking on the job. The two big things my pressure washing company mentioned was the type of concrete and age. Adjusting to the correct PSI is key, every pavement is unique in a way. Thanks for sharing!
I wouldn’t recommend using more than 2500 psi. If you can invest in a good surface cleaner, use that instead of a wand so you don’t get streaks or lines. It also helps to pretreat with a good SH mix before and after to make the job easier.
Thank you for the information Julian!
Great tips. Each time i visit your blog i learn new things, thanks for sharing
How long does concrete take to dry after power washing?
The tips above will help me will do it the right way and not cause any unintended damage. I think it is a good idea to consult an expert pressure washer about the quality of the concrete before commencing pressure washing.
It’s a simply nice post about damage through a high PSI pressure washer. you said that right Nozzle selection and Pressure setting should be correct.
Thank you for your article on pressure washer . I’m a huge proponent of practicing safe pressure washing and want to let everyone know about the precautions they should take when using one.
There are so many misconceptions associated with pressure washers that’s it’s important that we teach people how to use them safely and responsibly. The worst thing is if someone damages their car because they didn’t know better!