Power Washing

It is well known that excessive use of sub-grade power washers is a threat to paving longevity. Over recent years, power washers have become much more affordable and many DIY stores stock multiple smaller models. They are readily available from around £100. You may well have one lurking in the corner of your garage collecting cobwebs.

No matter how well your paving was laid and no matter how much was spent on quality materials, all pavings from the top of the range to the not so good, require maintenance to keep them in good condition. However, we must stress that the correct maintenance is essential.

A power washer will clean your paved area. However, the consequences if used incorrectly can be disasterous. We often visit homes were the innocent home owner has spent the annual spring and autumn days power washing the driveway. They tell us how well it looks for a while, but over time the blocks have begun to migrate and separate. This is often the first sign of paving failure. The innocent homeowner has unknowingly blasted away the jointing sand and over seasons the elements have begun to remove the sub-base. Left un-noticed or not correctly dealt with, a person could be left with a hefty bill or worse still, the likelihood of a new drive. Although if caught early enough this process can be remedied.

It should be noted that some concrete paving manufacturers have started to put escape clauses on their warranties, in which they claim that they do not recommend the use of household power washers on their products. These manufacturers who are often the producers of low cement content paving, state that damage caused through these machines will not be replaced through undue fair wear and tear.

Many people who do own a power washer, after a few attempts of DIY cleaning they soon come to realise that the process can be time consuming and laborious. To top it off, the paving often does not come up as well as could be expected, generally an impatient DIYer could create stripes on the surface, leaving the paving in a worse state than before the attempt. Without the correct use of detergents and cleaners those tough green marks and deep oil stains prove difficult if not impossible to remove.

Progress is often slow- a typical homeowner's machine at a cleaning rate of 4-5 minutes per square meter would be about the average. It can often take 10 to 15 minutes to set up the cleaning job and a further 20-25 minutes to pack it away again with a general tidy up of the area. Cleaning an average 40 metre squared driveway can be an unintended afternoon's work.

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