Power washing is a fast and effective way to clean concrete. Before power washing a concrete building, structure, or slab, there are some important things you should think about, such as can you power wash colored concrete? According to ProClean Power Washing Sarasota (website), you should use caution before power washing painted concrete because it can cause damage to the sealant and color over time. Usually normal upkeep will be enough to keep it clean; however, there are occasions when you will need to power wash it. Read on to find out what to look for before deciding.
What Is Power Washing?
Power washing is the use of a combination of hot and high pressure water to remove dirt, debris, and stains off many different objects such as, buildings, cars, and concrete. You can easily and safely pressure wash brick and concrete surfaces without harming anything, as well as most vinyl, hardwood, and stone.
You should always test a small, inconspicuous area on painted surfaces to be sure they are well sealed and that the paint isn’t going to run off. If the paint runs, you will want to consider using another method of cleaning.
How to Correctly Care for Colored Concrete
You can preserve the life of your colored concrete by using a garden hose to clean it. Over time, power washing will lead to damage to the sealant and cause water to leak underneath and make the paint begin to bleed and fade.
Here are some simple steps to regularly clean your stamped concrete to avoid having to power wash:
- Sweep with a straw broom to remove excess dust, dirt, and debris.
- Use a mop (a sponge or rope mop will do) or a push broom and water to clean the surface as you would any other floor. This should get most of the stains off the concrete. If it is a big area, you will probably be better off using a garden hose to just spray it off after sweeping well.
- If plain water doesn’t work, try warm water with a few drops of mild detergent like dishwashing liquid or laundry detergent. Usually if there are any problem areas, this will clean them right up.
It is also important to reseal your colored concrete every two to three years, according to ConcreteNetwork.com.
There are, however, some cases where colored concrete could use a good power washing. If it is severely stained, it will probably be easier and quicker. If you find that you must power wash your colored concrete, there are certain precautions to take.
How to Power Wash Colored Concrete
As mentioned above, it is not advised to power wash colored concrete, whether is it finished or unfinished (but especially if it is unfinished), because with time, it will cause the paint to crack and chip and potential other damage. Once the sealant is damaged, moisture and water will seep underneath and make the paint begin to bleed and fade.
Here are some things to think about when considering power washing painted concrete:
- Is it properly sealed with seal intact? If not, it is a bad idea to power wash it.
- How much pressure should you use? It is recommended to use about 3,000 psi with a flow of about four gallons of water per minute.
- Use cold water if possible, every time.
What Should Be Avoided with Colored Concrete?
- Cleaning too much or vigorously cleaning should be avoided, as this can cause the concrete to fail sooner.
- Avoid deicer. Deicers are very acidic, and they cause a thawing and freezing effect, both of which can cause a breakdown of the sealant and damage to your concrete over time. Read more about it at ConcreteNetwork.com.
- Harsh chemicals, especially ammonia and vinegar, should be avoided, because they break down the finish and bleach the concrete.
- Avoid leaving spills such as oil, grease, etc., on the concrete Whether your floor is sealed or not, it could cause damage if the spill is not cleaned up immediately.
- Putting the nozzle too close to the surface you are power washing could cause damage to the sealant. You should hold it at least one to two feet away.
- Using hot water, especially on painted surfaces, should be avoided. Cold water will typically suffice for any job.
The final decision is yours. Power washing colored concrete is not the best cleaning method because it could lead to damage to the sealant and to the paint. The best option is maintaining it year-round, so you don’t have a need to pressure wash it in the future. If it’s already too late for that, you can then look into power washing it, as it could be the best option for you if general cleaning doesn’t help. Always be sure to test a small area before beginning.