This article will outline all the pressure washing equipment you could need from a beginner to an expert to get your driveway, patio, pathway or other hard surface looking brand new.
All things need maintenance, and your hard surface is no exception. The hard surface often undergo a lot of stress and strain, from constant use by people, animals and vehicles; this will cause them to be covered in dirt. What’s more, they are also susceptible to the elements including rain, frost, the sun etc. The environment they are in, including the nearby organic material such as flowers, trees and other plants. The aforementioned traffic, natural and organic factors all will play a part in the condition and types of stains the hard surface will face. Depending on the material used as the hard surface they will all need to be treated with the respect they deserve.
The article will further break down the equipment needed from the most simple to more complex needs. We will start from the most basic package and expand from there. Finishing off with steam cleaning, toxic chemicals and sandblasting.
At the most basic level, homeowners and renters will need water to clean their patio. The most basic level of cleaning may start with a bucket of water to clear off a dirty patch on the driveway or patio. Although, we will start with the most basic jet washing equipment package.
To clean your hard surface with a jet washer, you will first need to ensure you have a water supply. In the UK most homes with gardens have a tap installed at the rear of the house to ensure the residents can water their plants, clean the cars, windows etc. As well as jet wash their patio.
If there is no outside tap, you can get an adapter to attach the hose to the tap. This can come in handy in other circumstances, for example if you need to clean a terrace or balcony.
Water supply is the number one thing needed for jet washing.
Choosing the right pressure washing equipment is an important decision, more. Selecting the right jet washer can appear daunting at first instance, but we will help you choose the right one one for your needs. There are a number of pressure washers to choose from, the choice will depend on budget and needs.
Typically, for casual domestic use an electric pressure washer will fulfil the typical needs for patios and driveways. Although, if you have a large property it may be worth investing in a petrol pressure washer as they tend to be more powerful. You can usually pick up packages from your local hardware or DIY shop.
Although, If you are a professional jet washer. A petrol or diesel pressure washer is necessary. We recommend at the very minimum a pressure washer with 15lpm capability is a minimum requirement, although ideally it would be 21lpm. As the higher the flow rate, the quicker the job can be done. As you need high flow rate to clear a lot of the dirt and grime build up on patios and driveways.
Once this has been selected a lance or flat surface cleaner needs to be attached to provide the high velocity water which will clean the surfaces.
A lance is the name given to the long hollow pipe with a trigger on, which in this case allows high pressured water through. There are a number of lances to choose from which will help clean the surfaces. Some lances which you can easily change the nozzle on are most suitable for those domestic users with electric pressure washers. With fuel powered pressure washers, the lances often have fixed nozzles on and instead you change the lance with the nozzle on. Although, it is getting more common for fuel powered pressure washers to have changeable nozzles.
There are a number of nozzles to choose from, we will break down the most common types and their different needs.
There is the zero degree nozzle, which provides highly concentrated blast of water, although, the cleaning area is small. This nozzle is useful for a targeted area that needs cleaning, for example paint on a patio. Although, use with caution as the water is very concentrated on the zero degree nozzle so it can cause damage. As the lower the degree of concentration the most PSI will be present.
Fan nozzles range from 15 degree to 65 degrees of jet washing power. The lower the angle the more powerful (PSI) the pressure wassher. Conversely, the higher degree provides a wider coverage which can make the cleaning quicker. The 45 and 60 degree nozzles are handy for removing stains or clearing away the dirt and grime at the end of the clean.
The turbo nozzle is a useful tool to clearing away dirty driveways and patios quickly and easily, and should be added to your pressure washing equipment. The turbo nozzle, contains a nozzle which rotates at high speed creating a large cleaning surface areas. Therefore, driveways and patios can be cleaned quickly, although they can create mess which is harder to control.
Flat surface cleaner
The flat surface cleaner or whirlaway, is another useful tool to add to your equipment stack. The flat surface cleaner has two nozzles which rotate when powered on, this helps to clean a large area quickly. The FSC is useful for remove dirt and grime quickly and easily from patios and driveways.
This section will give an overview of the most common chemicals to add to your pressure washing equipment you will need for most of the jobs. This includes sodium hypochlorite and degreaser.
Sodium hypochlorite, is a concentrated bleach most often used for swimming pool cleaning. Although, it is a powerful tool when jet washing for removing organic materials such as lichen, algae, and moss. This is due to bleaches properties for being very useful at killing living matter. As the organics are living organisms which can bind to the hard surfaces it needs a powerful chemical such as sodium hypochlorite to kill it before the jet wash will detach it from the patio or driveway. See the guide on bleach, which provides a more in-depth look at its cleaning abilities.
A degreaser such as traffic film remover (TFR) or fairy liquid, is also handy to have in your arsenal as a jet washer. In converse to the sodium hypochlorite being useful for organics, degreaser is useful for removing dirt and grime and much less effective at removing organics. Therefore, identify the source of the stains on the patio or driveway before selecting the correct chemical to use. Degreasers are very useful for oil stains on driveways, such as that from a car.
There are many more chemicals which may be useful which we cover here.
There are other useful equipment to have when jet washing, this includes brooms, buckets, rubble bags, cloths, window cleaner spray. It is useful to have brooms for clearing debris before jet washing, you can also get rubble bags to put the dirt and grime into. It is also useful to have a bucket and cloth for cleaning windows after a job and the dirt tends to go everywhere!
Personal Protection Equipment
The most important equipment to have is your personal protection equipment, this includes, waterproofs, waterproof boots, gloves, googles. Before using any heavy machinery or equipment you should always ensure you and others around you are safe. Therefore, wear heavy duty waterproof clothes to avoid getting wet and cold, and stop the high pressured water from penetrating the skin. Waterproofs can also act as a shield against the chemicals being used. The gloves are important to limit damage from the high pressured water, and chemicals. Goggles protect your eyes from chemicals, high pressured water, and dirt or grime which may rise up.
PPE is very important and choose the equipment you need carefully. Choose the equipment which relates to the job and type of pressure washing equipment. We also recommend having a first aid kit with eye wash close by just in case.
There is a range of pressure washing equipment to choose from depending on your needs. Although, everyone will need a jet washer, water supply, lance and PPE. With that as a starting point you will be able to get started with cleaning your first driveway, patio, pathway or any other hard surface!
We recommend having a lance with a turbo nozzle for clearing away stubborn dirt, lance with a 45 degree nozzle for washing away the dirt and grime, and a FSC to clear large areas of dirt quickly and easily. Get some sodium hypochlorite or bleach if you’re a domestic washer. A degreaser such as traffic film remover or fairy liquid is also invaluable for a range of jobs. You can also have some other equipment such as brooms, buckets, cloths to help with the details. Also, get yourself some decent PPE to protect you and those around you.
Once you have chosen and bought your jet washer, you are ready to become a pro at cleaning your driveways or patio!