Last year I attempted a patio makeover. And while it was pretty dramatic, it’s nothing compared to the major outdoor overhaul I’m doing this summer for my patio makeover challenge! (<~~Sign up there!).
This summer, my hands ache from pulling 10,000 weeds…my back feels like I’ve been beaten with a pillowcase full of bricks…and my feet feel like I’ve walked to the end of the earth and back…twice.
For this challenge, I’ve been tackling the entire perimeter of my home, in addition to my patio. Which means, tons of bending, stooping, and carrying.
Trust me–I didn’t set out on this DIY project intending to do all this. But isn’t that how it goes? You start with one small sliver, and before you know it, you’ve eaten the whole damn pie. LOL!
I realized after jumping into challenge–isn’t it useless to have a beautiful patio with crappy landscape beds? Or an overgrowth of weeds littering the areas around the patio? Or gunk built up on every surface?
I’m itching to get started on decorating the patio, but I can’t even think of that step until everything is deep cleaned first.
Means it’s time to break out the pressure washer (eagerly rubs hands together).
If you’ve never used a pressure washer before, it’s time to get over that fear, my friend. Whether you’ve got a patio or a deck, I can guarantee you that your outdoor space won’t look the same once you’re done using a pressure washer.
I can also put money on it that you’ll find a new obsession with blasting gunk! 🙂
Why Do You Need a Pressure Washer, Anyhow?
You probably wouldn’t be asking that question is you’ve used one. 🙂
Once you experience the jaw-dropping awesomeness, you can find many reasons why you need one:
- Your patio is gross.
- Your deck is a disgusting gray.
- Your driveway is caked with dirt.
- Your fence is dull.
- Your car needs a good washing.
- You want to create doodle art in your driveway (lol)~~> Your neighbors will be envious!
I’ve used my pressure washer on my own patio, including the patio of a home we made over for the patio challenge (see the before and after pics below).
AFTER – Freshly cleaned!
Even if you did nothing else but pressure washed, your patio would look completely different when you’re done. This home we made over in South Carolina, you can see what a dramatic difference it was just from pressure washing! It looks fresher, doesn’t it??
The fact is that over time, this is simply what happens to patios, walkways, driveways–everywhere that’s exposed to the elements. I mean, it makes sense. All the grime and dirt just builds up. And most times, you don’t even realize it, until it starts to turn black like this:
My driveway has always taken a beating. It’s a light colored concrete and shows every little bit of dirt! (I think it would be easier to have black asphalt so that I could hide the gunk, but I do think light-colored driveways are prettier!).
You can see how the top of my driveway was pressure washed, but the bottom wasn’t done yet. Huge difference!!
I’ve also used my pressure washer on my fence, which has been the most dramatic! I thought over time that wood just magically turned gray and stayed that way. HA!
But appartently, underneath that gray, the beautiful, original wood is still there, and all you have to do is pressure wash it to bring it back to life, as you can see with my fencing. The lower corner of the door is pressure washed; the top part isn’t.
It was hard to see the dirt on my fence, but once the water hit it–BOOM! It was like magic.
If your deck looks this dingy gray color, pressure washing will help to restore it.
How to Use a Pressure Washer to Deep Clean
So I’m sure I’ve convinced you why you need one, right? 🙂
But you need to know how to use it. There are some things you want to keep in mind as you prep to use a pressure washer to deep clean.
Watch this video I shot with all you need to know for using a pressure washer to deep clean a patio (and other surfaces):
TIP: Take “BEFORE” pictures before you start! You won’t believe the difference when you compare the two afterward!
STEP 1: Blow off all the dirt first (and remove stuff).
I’ll admit that I haven’t always been good about doing this part. Usually, I just want to jump right into pressure washing because I can’t wait to see the gunk blasted. But you really shouldn’t skip this part.
The pressure of the water is so forceful that if you don’t sweep or blow away dirt, leaves, and sticks, that stuff can blow back up into your face or someone else’s face! We don’t need to take out an eye! Use a broom or RYOBI blower to clear it off.
Also, make sure that you remove anything that could get damaged or fly off towards someone.
STEP 2: Gas or Electric?
That’s kind of the big question sometimes when it comes to which tools you should buy. If you were to ask my husband, he’d swear by gas-powered tools. For me, I’ve used both, and I find the electric tools less intimidating (and…um…better for the environment–hellooooo!). I’ve had the experience of gas spilling and stinking up the garage, so if I can eliminate that annoyance (and hazard), I’m game!
I’ve used both the gas-powered RYOBI pressure washer and the RYOBI electric pressure washer and I’ve not noticed a difference in how they perform. Of course, the gas-powered one has more PSI (pounds per square inch, related to pressure) at 2,700 PSI or 3,100 PSI, but the 2,000 PSI electric pressure washer has done juuuuust fine for the many times I’ve happily used it!
Keep in mind the electric is cheaper than the gas-powered, too!
STEP 3: Whatcha Spraying?
This is something I learned when I started using my pressure washer:
You better choose the right nozzle, or you’re going to destroy something! LOL
Each colored nozzle is made especially for certain surfaces–gasp!
I had nooooo idea.
It’s no wonder that I almost ruined the rubber floor mats for my minivan! Little did I know, I used the most powerful spray pattern and ended up “eating” through the surface of one of my mats! HA!
Each nozzle has a spray pattern made for a certain type of surface.
The RYOBI electric pressure washer comes with a turbo nozzle (the big black one), and two other nozzles with different spray patterns. I believe the yellow one is for high pressure and the blue one is for low pressure that can be used with soap.
This is a great video to watch that explains each type of nozzle and when to use each!
STEP 4: Test It Out First!
Now that you know which nozzle to use, you definitely need to test it out first in an area that’s not visible. That way, if you ruin something (yikes!), it’s not going to be so noticeable. 🙂 Just choose an area that’s out of sight and make sure your nozzle works properly on that surface.
STEP 5: Getting It Done Faster!
If you’ve ever pressure washed a driveway or patio, you know know loooooonnngggg it can take sometimes, right?
The best way to tackle these large areas is with a surface cleaner to get it done faster.
It basically attaches in the same way a nozzle does, but because it’s about 11″ wide, you’re doing a larger surface.
You’re going to feel like you want to push this baby back and forth, like a scrubbing motion, but that’s not needed and won’t work. Just slowly pull it back towards you, letting the pressure washer and the surface cleaner do all the work.
In my experience, you need to go over it several times before moving on to the next spot, or else it will leave ugly swirl marks that look like crop circles. Trust me–I did this in my driveway when I had no idea what I was doing. . It was not pretty! HAHA
STEP 6: Aim High!
This is pretty common sense, but when you’re pressure washing, don’t waste your time starting low and working up. Aim high, and let the water clean the gunk as it drips off the wall or fence. Gravity is your friend!
STEP 7: Take AFTER Pictures!
Yep, show off what you’ve done! Seriously, it will look amazingly different! Post them on social media and get gasps from your friends and family. 🙂 They won’t believe the difference, either!
Safety: Be sure to “suit” up!
I can’t forget to include some safety info. 🙂 Just be mindful of these things when using a pressure washer:
- Always wear safety glasses so you don’t get things in your eyes.
- Always wear long pants and sleeves to protect your skin.
- Never put your fingers in the way of the spray! Sounds like common sense…but I’m sure people try to do this to rinse off their hands! BIG NO-NO!
- Keep the spray away from your toes! No flip-flops, you guys! Always wear closed-toed shoes.
BEFORE & AFTER!
And in case you missed it in other posts, here’s the finished Before and After of the patio makeover we did at the “pre” start of this patio makeover challenge!
Throughout the Patio Makeover Challenge, we’re sharing tips and tricks on how we created this gorgeous patio, so be sure to sign up for the challenge HERE!
A Little Pressure Washer Fun
And last but not least….before getting started with a pressure washer project, I always love to get a little creative with my pressure washer! I’m sure this isn’t recommended, but this is too good to not share! Before starting any project, I always spell out something fun! 🙂
Have You Ever Used a Pressure Washer?
What’s the most dramatic difference you saw when using it? If you’ve never used one, why not? Leave a comment below to chat about it!
P.S. Find out more info about how to store your pressure washer when it’s not in use, and other cool tips, on RYOBI Landscapes!