Driveway Cleaning

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PP&C’s In-house Techie

A break-down of common driveway types and their methods of cleaning. How you can clean your own driveway with or without a pressure washer.

Driveway Cleaning

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before and after of driveway cleaning limestone pavers

Types of Driveway Cleaning

We’ve taken a look at the common methods of driveway cleaning by professionals and DIYers alike.

Here’s how to get the best finish on your driveway, regardless of whether you have a pressure washer or not.

Driveway Cleaning – How to DIY or Quiz a Professional

Whether cleaning your driveway yourself, or doing some research before choosing a professional, we’ve put together the key things to know. 

Pressure Washing Driveways

For a superior clean, and optimal finish, a power wash driveway service will meet your needs. Combining the high pressure of a domestic clean with high temperature water, this service can remove larger areas of stuck on grease, oil and household stains. Build-up of mould, mildew or weeds can be removed by power washing as the hot water will break down growths for longer lasting results.

Studies have shown that water at temperatures higher than 65 degrees Celsius will kill bacteria and viruses by using heat energy to break down and damage structural components of the growths. The same principle works for naturally removing weeds and small unwanted plants in your concrete driveway. Hot water pressure washing driveways allows for high temperature water to destroy the plant and root tissue leaving instant results. The heat in the water also kills hidden dormant seed stock in the ground or driveway, leaving longer lasting results from your clean.

Removing these unsightly stains will benefit both your home and your health overall, removing potentially harmful bacteria and keeping your house looking fresh.

Preparation for sealing is another application of power washing as thorough removal of build-up allows for a longer lasting application. Having your driveway power washed helps prepare it for further improvements and sealant application. Even the best driveway sealer needs a clean surface to be effective, such as one which has just been power washed.

Concrete is a porous material, susceptible to absorbing liquids such ad oil or moisture – which can lead to bacteria growth or mould. Sealing the surface acts as an additional layer of protection which either reacts or sits on top of the concrete surface, reducing the porosity of the material and the subsequent likelihood of staining. There are many sealers on the market for different applications, but all need a clean and grime free surface before application. This allows for the sealer to bond to the concrete itself, rather than sitting on top of sand or dirt particles and being easily flaked off after drying.

Cleaning a driveway with a pressure washer will ensure regular maintenance of your driveway – saving time and money by lowering ongoing costs, as the stains will not build up and require lengthy processes to remove. Power washing provides a long lasting clean without the use of harsh chemicals, just through hot water.

Pressure Washing Concrete

Power washing concrete is one of the most effective ways to have it looking great again. As concrete is a porous material, it is easily stained through day-to-day use, especially on a driveway. Pressure washing concrete driveways will remove build-up, such as oil and grease, as well as caked on dirt or soil through years of traffic. The industrial hot water pressure will have your driveway looking clean and fresh, while removing potentially harmful growths.

If you’ve ever found yourself asking how to clean my concrete driveway? The answer lies with combining the right chemicals and a commercial pressure washer.  We use industrial cleaning equipment to remove grease, grime, dirt, mould, and build-up effectively for long lasting results. The combination of high temperature water and high pressure provide a cost effective and safe method for cleaning your surfaces.

Pressure washing concrete in driveways and around the home provides the perfect base for applications such as concrete driveway paint, concrete driveway sealing and other concrete driveway coatings. One of the downsides to concrete driveways is the loss of colourfastness when aging and not having the resistance surface which can be provided by other driveway materials. As cement is usually grey, all other colours are added through pigment or coloured aggregates. As this is not chemically bonded into the product, it can fade over time from the sun’s UV rays or from other weather conditions – such as changes from hot to cold temperatures and rain.

Concrete driveway sealings can lock in your colours before they fade, having your driveway looking pristine for years to come. Even newly laid driveways can have dirt accumulation from building site activities or day to day driving, which can be easily removed with pressure washing. This application also works well for concrete masonry pavers, which are known to age quickly and loose colour. Sealings come in several types for applications based on your needs. Water or acrylic based sealants are both effective in protecting your newly cleaned driveway and can be applied tinted to restore lost colour of older driveways.

Concrete driveway paint can restore an older house or freshen up a renovated house for your family or for sale. By creating a clean surface through pressure washing concrete, the paint can adhere fully providing the best opportunity for a long-lasting look. One of the biggest mistakes home renovators make is trying to apply a surface coating to concrete which has not been properly surface treated. Preparation is the key. Flaking or wearing paint is usually a sign of incorrect preparation or application, requiring re-rolling or removal shortly after the work is completed. This can be avoided by correct preparation and application to a clean, oil free surface, which can also help in the surface being resistance to future wear.

How to Clean a Driveway Without a Pressure Washer

How to Clean a Driveway With Bleach

Bleach can be used as a concrete driveway cleaner very effectively as it breaks down mould, mildew and grime, and can act as a disinfectant. Most preperatory cleaners or concrete driveway cleaners contain bleach at different concentrations and caution should be taken to ensure correct use.

Bleach is often used for cleaning and stain removal, due to the usual active ingredient sodium hypochlorite. It is cost effective and efficient way for cleaning inside and outside of your home.

When used correctly – bleach can act as an effective assistant to power washing or can be practical to use on its own. It is strong oxidising agent, which can oxidise molecules in the cells of germs, killing them. It is effective to use on concrete driveways as while it attacks the germs it will not damage the existing concrete below the top layer.

As it is a disinfectant, bleach will remove most usual unsightly stains or growths on concrete driveways and assist in keeping it clean for longer. The chemical reaction kills mould and algae at its source. This is a good option where power washing alone is unavailable, or for tough to remove stains.

Most commonly, applying a coat of bleach to a concrete driveway will assist in removal of mould, mildew, algae or other grass/weed growths and will need to be left for a time to react. This is can then be washed off or power washed to further remove sealants or tough stains. We use a specific mix of sodium hypochlorite, potassium hydroxide, buffers and surfactants that we buy in bulk, but a proprietary hard surface cleaner available from most hardware stores should also do the trick.

Cleaning Oil Off Driveways

There are multiple ways of removing oil from your driveway, depending on the size and age of the spill. As concrete is a porous material, it is important to remove oil as soon as possible, and prevent further issues by sealing.

At times, small oil drops or spots can be removed by using a detergent and scrubbing brush, but this is not effective on larger or older stains. This process will also likely need to be repeated multiple times to obtain a clean looking finish. Hot water can also be used in conjunction with detergent to loosen the oil initially.

For larger oil stains and to completely remove grease stains from concrete, proprietary cleaners can be used, in conjunction with pressure washing. Degreasers and concrete cleaners work to loosen up the oil and grease to allow for easier removal. These can be ineffective with large stains however as they do not actually break the oil down. Bleach can also be used as an initial treatment to loosen and oxidise the oil, or lighten the surface, allowing for easier removal with pressure washing.

This is where pressure washing concrete driveways can help. By starting with a degreaser or detergent, the oil can be loosened and ready for additional levels of removal with hot power washing. The hot water assists in further loosening and removing oil, leaving you with a more complete driveway clean. High temperature water has more energy which can be transferred into the oil molecules, causing them to spread and loosen the bond from the concrete surface. This, together with a proprietary cleaner, both work to loosen the oil and grease, allowing it to be washed away effectively from the concrete.

If the concrete driveway is sealed, power washing can be more effective also as the oil has not been able to be absorbed so deeply into the surface. This causes the hot water to loosen the bonds faster, allowing for a more complete clean.

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