Concrete driveways are beautiful and long-lasting. Regular cleaning can prolong their lifespan and keep them looking like new. Cleaning a concrete driveway is a fairly easy and straightforward process that some homeowners may choose to do on their own. Here is a look at how to properly clean a concrete driveway.
If you have any stains on your concrete driveway, you should treat them first before carrying out the full cleaning. Begin by determining what types of stains you have on your driveway, and then look for a concrete cleaner that is geared toward that specific problem.
It is not uncommon to have spilled paint on your driveway, and a paint stripper or solvent can solve this problem nicely. Follow the instructions on the package and make sure you let it soak for the recommended amount of time before scrubbing the stain with a rag or a brush.
To remove rust from your driveway, use a dedicated rust cleaner, being sure to follow the directions as some recommend that you dilute them with water before applying. Then, scrub the stain using a brush.
Oil and Grease
If any of the oil stains on your driveway are fresh, apply a powdered spill absorber to soak up the oil. Then, spray a degreaser on your deeper oil and grease stains and leave it to soak for five minutes before scrubbing with a brush.
Once you have treated these stains, you can begin a thorough cleaning.
Pressure Cleaning Your Concrete Driveway
The best way to give your concrete driveway a thorough overall cleaning is with a pressure washer. If you do not own one, consider borrowing one from a neighbor or renting one from a home improvement center.
Be sure to choose a pressure washer that has the right nozzle or spray tip to address any remaining stains on your driveway. Those with narrow pattern tips are geared towards tough stains but may mark concrete, while wide pattern spray tips are suited to lower-pressure washing and more general cleaning.
Here is a look at the steps involved in cleaning your concrete driveway with a pressure washer.
Wear the Right Gear
Before you begin, make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing and safety gear, including a long-sleeved shirt and pants, chemical-resistant gloves, splash-resistant safety goggles and closed-toe shoes.
Wet the Concrete
Take a garden hose and wet the entire surface of your driveway. Then, place a spray nozzle on your pressure washer to apply soap. After pulling back on the collar of the spray wand, push its tip into place and then release the collar.
Add Your Concrete Cleaner
Next, attach your garden hose to your pressure washer and turn the water on. Insert the siphon tube on the pressure washer into your container of concrete cleaner. You will want to ensure that you operate the machine using a steady flow of water.
Start the Pressure Washer
Once everything is set up, you can begin using the pressure washer by pulling the starter cord. If the motor does not start when you pull this cord, squeeze the spray wand trigger to release some pressure in the line and try again.
Spray the Cleaner Across Your Driveway
Spray your driveway evenly with cleaner, working the wand back and forth using overlapping strokes to ensure full coverage. The tip should remain anywhere from 8 to 24 inches away from the surface.
You should leave the cleaner to soak for 5 minutes, but take care to prevent it from drying out completely; you may want to let it soak for a few minutes less if it is particularly hot and sunny. If necessary, break the length of your driveway down into more manageable sections so that you can better control how quickly it dries out.
Flush Your Pressure Washer
Before you can rinse away the driveway cleaner, you will want to ensure that the siphon tube is completely empty so you do not inadvertently apply additional soap in the process. After turning the pressure washer off, place the siphon tube into a bucket of clean water. You should continue flushing the pressure washer until water comes out clear, which usually takes around a minute.
Wash Off the Concrete Cleaner
After flushing your pressure washer, turn it off and then install a spray tip suited to low or medium pressure. You should always test the spray out on a small patch of concrete to make sure that it does not cause etching; if it does, you will want to replace it with a tip that uses less pressure.
Once you have achieved an appropriate test spray, continue to rinse the rest of the concrete cleaner off of your driveway. Work using overlapping strokes as in the washing step, ensuring that you keep the tip 8 to 24 inches off the surface. You will want to ensure that the wand remains moving throughout this process to avoid etching your driveway. It may be necessary to go over some areas of your driveway twice.
Seal Your Concrete
Once your concrete driveway has fully dried, which could take 24 hours, you may wish to apply a concrete sealer to it to prevent future stains and damage from occurring. Sealers are available that leave your driveway with either a matte or shiny finish.
Keep in mind that some newer concrete may already have a functioning sealer. You can test this by adding a few drops of water to your concrete; if it beads up, it means there is currently an active sealer on your driveway. If, on the other hand, your driveway absorbs the water, it will readily accept a concrete sealer.
You will need to ensure that your driveway has dried for at least 24 hours before applying sealer. There are many different concrete sealing products on the market, so be sure to follow the instructions on the product you purchase, taking care to ensure you use the right tool for applying it and respect the recommended timing for allowing it to dry.
Reach Out to the Concrete Driveway Professionals
The team of experienced contractors at Dirt Connections can help you with your next residential concrete driveway project. From planning and grading to paving and maintaining, we offer a full range of concrete driveway services. Reach out today to discuss your project.
Dirt Connections was started with one goal in mind: providing quality residential and commercial construction services to clients on time and on budget. Reach out for more information on how we can support your next project.
For your convenience our estimates are free and by appointment. Call 703-940-9949 for a free estimate today!