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Old 05-24-2010, 08:12 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
2,193 posts, read 4,698,840 times
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We need to pressure wash our driveway and front of the house. Is it worth purchasing a pressure washer or just rent it?
Is it something used often?
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Old 05-24-2010, 08:19 PM
 
Location: West Michigan
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It really depends on how much you do around the house. I use mine to wash the drive, the deck, patio, siding, gutters, vehicles, etc.... When I bought it I really didn't know how much I would be dragging it out, but now there is always something that needs a good power wash.
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Old 05-24-2010, 11:00 PM
 
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you can renew the cedar fence by power washing too! even bamboo fencing
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Old 05-24-2010, 11:15 PM
 
Location: Tulsa, OK
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How long did it take for your house and drive to get dirty? You know you will use it that often. They are also handy for many cleanup projects around the house. Buy one, even if you never use it again your neighbors will be glad you have it.
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Old 05-25-2010, 06:25 AM
 
Location: Ashburn, VA
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If you plan to use it on a deck from the reviews I read on Amazon you want to be careful of using one with a lot of power. Too much power will take the stain or paint off! I was just browsing reviews of them and no one brand seemed to stand out - gas is noisier but more powerful than electric. Prices range from $140-600.
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Old 05-25-2010, 06:46 AM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
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We just moved in and the house was a foreclosure. So I have no idea how long it takes to get dirty.

Yea the reviews for the $100 ones are bad and the reviews for the $300 ones are a lot better. But we're not sure if it's worth spending $300 and it's just another thing to store.
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Old 05-25-2010, 06:53 AM
 
Location: West Michigan
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The low powered electric ones are a joke when it comes to having enough power to really clean. The gas ones are more expensive, but work a LOT better. Get one that comes with different nozzles and you can control how powerful it hits the surface. I use a wide spray pattern for the deck and a much more narrow one for cleaning the drive. I hardly ever use the 0 degree nozzle (jet) because if you are not careful it will etch anything softer than concrete (you can carve sandstone without even trying).
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Old 05-25-2010, 10:25 AM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
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A pressure washer is very handy to have. If you plan on keeping the house well-maintained, it will actually pay for itself in 2-3 years easily. (Depending on the area you live in, a pro would charge anywhere from $75-$200 or more just to pressure wash your driveway, which should really be done at least once a year). IMO, buy one.

If you decide to follow the majority here, I've got a couple recommendations on what you need to look for. You want high GPM (Gallons Per Minute) first of all. Minimum of 2.5, but if you can find a good deal on a 3 GPM or better machine, it's well worth it. For PSI (Pounds per Square Inch), a homeowner can get away with anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000. The trick to pressure washing isn't really about pressure, it's about water flow. Any dirt so caked on that it takes more than 3,000 psi isn't coming off, more than likely.

Stay away from the electric pressure washers. Aside from the fact that 110v+H2O=funny dancing, they just don't have the power to get the job done in a timely manner.

All that being said, assuming you are either renting or purchasing a pressure washer, let's talk about how to get the driveway clean. The following is the solution that many pros use (the others use straight pool chlorine).

Materials needed:
1 gallon JOMAX (sold at Lowes, HD, and most hardware stores)
2 gallons bleach (generic is fine, don't go buying brand name to put on the driveway)
1 Pump Garden Sprayer
1 5 gallon bucket

Mix the Jomax, the 2 gallons of bleach, and 2 gallons of water in the 5 gallon bucket (this is from memory, so read the directions for the exact mix). Carefully fill the pump sprayer and pressurize it. Knock off the loose dirt on the driveway with the pressure washer (don't spend a lot of time here, you're just after the loose stuff here). Using the pump sprayer on a fan setting, put a good coat of the Jomax solution on the driveway. Go get a drink. Come back in about 20-30 minutes (don't let the driveway dry out in the sun, but we want the Jomax to have a chance to work). Now it's time to actually pressure wash. For best results, work from the house to the street, using smooth, even strokes. You want to hold the nozzle of the pressure washer about 18" from the surface you are cleaning. With the Jomax, the dirt will flush right off the concrete, and you will be the envy of the neighbors. For that matter, you may make some extra spending money from them

Do NOT put bleach through the soap dispenser on a pressure washer. Ever. Bleach in a strong solution will turn rubber into plastic, and when you're talking about gaskets and diaphragms, that's a bad thing.

A weaker solution of the Jomax can be used on siding, wood, and even shingles. If you decide to chemical clean a shingle roof, do NOT use a pressure washer to rinse it. Just use the garden hose.

Remember to rinse off all plants in the area both before and after using chemicals. The chemicals are fairly eco-friendly, but they will burn plants pretty quickly.
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Old 05-26-2010, 06:01 AM
 
Location: Florida
21,132 posts, read 22,189,883 times
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For comparison purposes,check what it costs to hire the job out.
Where we are in Florida, $70 gets us the entire house, lanais and driveway (a good thorough job, too)
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Old 05-26-2010, 08:06 AM
 
1,474 posts, read 4,608,654 times
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I got the $200 electric Karcher brand from Sams club and it does a lot for me. it even removed paint/varnish drips on my concrete patio floor. its been 3 years now with lots of extended use like washing the fence and its still going strong. save a ton of water too and very compact. its powerful enough to remove the top layer of your skin - do not try at home.
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