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Can Pressure Washing Damage Pavers?

August 18, 2023

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can pressure washing damage pavers

It's a beautiful sunny Saturday morning. You've got your coffee, you're standing on your back patio, and you look down - yuck! When did your pavers get so dirty? Those pavers used to look so nice and new when you first had them installed. Now they're covered in grime, moss, mildew, and who knows what else.

You think to yourself, "I should power wash these to make them look new again!" So you haul out your heavy-duty power washer, attach the high-pressure nozzle, power it up, and let loose on those unsuspecting pavers. The dirt goes flying, and you smile, thinking, "Wow, it's working great! These pavers are going to look brand new!"

But are they? Can pressure washing damage pavers? Pressure washing can damage pavers if the pressure is too high, the nozzle is held too close, or poor technique is used. Proper pressure washing with moderate pressure, farther nozzle distance, and gentle motions can clean pavers safely.

Let's take a closer look and dive into the details.

Pressure Washing 101

Pressure washers work by shooting out an intense, concentrated stream of hot water at high pressure. Residential power washers generate anywhere from 1,500 to 4,000 PSI (pounds per square inch) of pressure. That's some serious power being blasted directly onto your pavers in order to scour off the top layer of dirt.

When used properly, this intense cleaning method can safely remove grime and debris without damaging the surface below. But crank up that pressure too high, get the nozzle too close to the pavers, or use the wrong washing technique and you could etch or score the pavers.

paver cleaning

Potential Risks of Damage

So what exactly is at risk when you power wash pavers? Here are some potential ways they could become damaged:

  • Surface etching/scoring - If the water pressure is too high or nozzle is too close, it can cut into the top layer of the paver, leaving etched lines or scored marks.
  • Chipping/flaking - High-pressure spray can chip off small pieces or flakes of the pavers if they are already cracked or deteriorating.
  • Eroding the sand base - Pavers are laid on top of a layer of sand. Power washing can erode this base, causing pavers to shift and settle unevenly.
  • Weed growth - Power washing blasts out dirt trapped in the crevices of the pavers. This allows more sunlight to get to any weed seeds, promoting weed growth between pavers.
  • Removing protective sealer - Prematurely removing sealers or coatings designed to protect the surface and color of the pavers.

pool patio paver pressure cleaning

Can Pressure Washing Damage Pavers? Learn How to Avoid Mishaps

The key is moderation. You can absolutely pressure wash your pavers safely; just follow these tips:

  • Use lower pressure - 1,500-2,000 PSI should be plenty for typical outdoor pavers. Higher pressure risks damage.
  • Hold nozzle further away - At least 4-6 inches above the pavers is ideal. Closer risks etching and chipping.
  • Use wide fan nozzle - Fan-shaped spray is gentler than a narrow jet. Angle it along the paver edges.
  • Take your time - Don't rush! Move the nozzle slowly in wide, even strokes across the pavers.
  • Sweep first - Remove loose debris with a broom so it isn't pushed into paver crevices.

can pressure washing damage pavers

Keep Your Pavers Looking Great

Regular sweeping and gentle pressure washing when needed will keep your pavers looking fantastic for years. Just be cautious not to overdo the pressure, hold the nozzle too close, or aim directly at crevices between pavers. With some common sense care, you can keep your outdoor living space sparkling clean and prevent any damage to the pavers. So grab that power washer gently, and let's get these pavers cleaned up! Just be careful out there, and don't get too aggressive. We want those pavers to stay beautiful for a long time!

paver cleaning power washing

About ProClean

ProClean is your top choice for professional power washing services in the local area. Our experienced technicians use the latest tools and methods to safely and effectively clean the exterior surfaces of homes and businesses. From gently washing delicate brick and stone to blasting away tough grime on driveways, ProClean restores beauty and curb appeal with power washing excellence. Please visit our website to learn more about our services.

FAQs

What will ruin pavers?

Using excessive pressure or harsh chemicals when cleaning pavers can damage the surface, causing etching, scoring, and erosion. Not properly sealing and maintaining pavers allows water penetration that leads to cracks, chips, freeze-thaw damage, and weed growth between pavers over time.

What PSI should I wash pavers?

To avoid damaging pavers when pressure washing, use a PSI of 1500-2000 and keep the nozzle at least 4-6 inches from the surface.

What is the best way to clean pavers?

The best way to clean pavers is with a pressure washer at 1500-2000 PSI using a fan nozzle held 4-6 inches above the surface. Sweep loose debris before washing to avoid forcing particles into paver joints. Move the nozzle slowly in wide strokes and avoid aiming directly at crevices. Let the pavers fully dry after washing before applying a new protective sealer. For routine maintenance, sweep frequently and use mild soap and water with a stiff brush to spot clean. Hire a professional power washing service annually for a deeper clean to keep pavers looking their best.

Should you seal pavers after power washing?

Sealing pavers after power washing is highly recommended to protect and enhance their appearance. The intense water pressure can erode the previous sealer coating and leave the pavers vulnerable to elements. New sealer will restore the rich color of the pavers and provide a protective barrier against UV rays, oils, and staining. Be sure pavers are completely dry before applying a fresh sealer coat per manufacturer instructions to maximize durability.

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