Knowing how to use a pressure washer on a patio can be tricky, since patios are usually enclosed spaces and adjoined to a house by at least one doorway. Double the trickiness factor if the patio is made of material more easily susceptible to damage by a pressure washer. The difficulty of power washing a patio increases exponentially when other factors come into play, such as when lots of foliage is present or you have to contend with uneven, poorly draining surfaces. Follow along so you have a better understanding on how to use a pressure washer on a patio.
Remove everything that can possibly be moved off the patio, so that you can pressure wash the patio without hindrance. Whatever you move off the patio move far enough so that dirt that gets washed off the patio doesn’t get all over whatever it is you moved. Cover any remaining objects, such as immovable seat covers, that you don’t necessarily want to get wet, dirty, or sprayed with cleaning solution with re-usable painter’s plastic sheeting.
Locate any electrical outlets that will get wet and completely duct tape them. Tape across the outlet plug and its plate, whether it has an outlet cover or not, and whether it is a GFCI outlet or not, from left to right, starting from the bottom of the outlet to the top. Overlap each successive piece of tape on top of the piece below it. (This is to ensure no water from the electric pressure washer is sprayed or drips down into an outlet that may have unseen exposed wire, which could very well cause a fire when water contacts it.)
Tie back with string or twine plant foliage that overhangs close to or on the surface of the patio that is to be cleaned, so that it isn’t damaged while pressure washing. Cover remaining plants, whether potted or not, with painter’s plastic sheeting after first spraying the foliage. Give them a good drink of water at the base of the plant.
Identify any possible leaks into the house, such as doorways and windows. Tape painter’s plastic sheeting over any door openings, covering entire doorways and thresholds if they don’t look well-sealed. Put a towel behind doors as an added measure of protection. (Make sure the bottom of the plastic sheeting flushes beyond of gaps between the bottom of doors and thresholds, or else water will just flow under the door and into the interior of the house.)
Set up the pressure washer out of the way of the patio, if at all possible. This is so that you can pressure wash the patio without concerns for the electric pressure washer itself, such as repeatedly moving it or spraying it.
Identify how best to pressure wash the patio by checking the levelness of the patio surface and locations of drains, if any.
Pressure wash the patio surface surrounding the drain(s), so that if the drains are slow-draining you won’t need to stop at the end of the job to wait for them to drain before pressure washing the patio surface that was still covered by the slow-draining water.
Start pressure washing in the furthermost corner from the entrance of the patio, if it is an enclosed patio you are pressure washing, and progressively pressure wash back toward the entrance as you go. This may mean bypassing drains. Decide how to pressure wash the patio in such a way so as the job will move forward most efficiently.
Pressure wash the patio from highest level to lowest level, including a ceiling or overhead cover, except in cases where water will stand for an inordinate amount of time at the lowest level. Pressure wash the patio at the lowest level first in such a situation, so that once the water does recede, only a light wash is necessary to remove residual dirt.
Rinse down all surfaces that weren’t pressure washed but were dirtied by pressure washing the patio. Give the patio a final rinse down with the pressure washer on low pressure, starting from wherever you started and rinsing to wherever you finished.
Warnings and Conclusion
Electricity and water from pressure washing don’t mix. Not paying strict attention to where water from a pressure washer is going can cause a fire. Do not pressure wash celling fans, without at least turning off the circuit breaker to the ceiling fan. Dry off or let dry all things electrically connected that were sprayed with water from the pressure washer before running electricity to or through them again.
Knowing how to pressure wash a patio adjoined to a house means you recognize your margin for error greatly slims in an enclosed area compared to pressure washing in an open area. Almost every movement must be accounted for prior to making it, or things could get broke, ruined, even a fire could get started. Usually pressure from the pressure washer needs to be throttled or regulated way down, since too much pressure will be overkill in an enclosed patio. Lots of variables come into play in knowing how to use a pressure washer on a patio adjoined to a house, and the tips here are but a few of what may need to be considered.