Tools and materials for the job
The list below contains all the tools and materials necessary to restore a driveway. Depending on the condition of your driveway, you may need all or just some of the items we’ve mentioned.
- Pressure washer. Concrete, asphalt and other hard materials should be cleaned with higher pressure and volume, so you’ll need a medium or heavy-duty gas pressure washer (3,000+ PSI). Brick and other soft materials should be cleaned with lower pressure and volume, so any type of pressure washer is suitable as long as you use it correctly.
- Detergent. Your cleaning solution should be specific to your driveway material and condition. For example, concrete driveways with tough oil stains will need a heavy-duty concrete degreaser, while brick driveways with light weathering simply need a general-purpose masonry cleaner. Remember, only use cleaning solutions that are pressure washer safe.
- Scrub brush. Any type of brush will work as long as it has stiff, synthetic bristles for durability.
- Broom. Any type of broom will work, but you’ll probably want a push broom for efficiency.
- Safety gear. Pressure washing can cause injuries, so you’ll need safety glasses, enclosed shoes, gloves and full-length clothing.
- Surface cleaner (optional). If you want to save time and effort, consider using a surface cleaner. This pressure washer attachment pushes like a broom and rotates multiple nozzles at high RPM.
- Plastic sheeting, painter’s tape (optional). If your driveway has any nearby doors, fixtures or gardens that could be dirtied or damaged, consider using plastic sheeting and painter’s tape for temporary protection.
- Sealant, paint roller, paint tray (optional). If you want to preserve your results after pressure washing, consider using a sealant. Your sealant should be specific to your driveway material, plus you’ll need a paint roller and tray for application.
Steps to pressure wash a driveway
If this is your first time using a pressure washer, learn the basics in our article, How to Use a Pressure Washer. When you’re ready, continue with the steps below to pressure wash your driveway.
- Prepare your operating area. Remove any objects that are blocking the driveway or could be damaged by high pressure or debris, like cars or pottery. Use your plastic sheeting and painter’s tape to cover any unmovable objects, like doors or fixtures.
- Sweep the driveway. Use your push broom to sweep away as much loose dirt as possible. This ensures the detergent can soak directly into the surface with no wasted absorption.
- Start your pressure washer. If you haven’t already, put on your safety gear. Set up your pressure washer by connecting your garden hose and accessories and filling your detergent tank, then start it.
- Apply detergent. Concrete, asphalt and other hard materials can have detergent applied while dry, but brick and other soft materials should have detergent applied while wet (so pre-rinse). This keeps the detergent at the surface, loosening grime, instead of absorbing into the material itself. When ready, connect the 65° nozzle and apply detergent to the entire driveway. Allow the solution to soak for 5-10 minutes, but do not allow it to dry (rewet as necessary).
- Rinse the driveway. Connect the 25° nozzle or surface cleaner and rinse the detergent from the driveway using plain water. Be thorough to avoid leftover residue.
- Check for leftover stains. Battered driveways may require extra effort. Reapply detergent to any remaining stains and use your scrub brush for added force, then rinse again. If the stains still aren’t washed away, repeat these steps with stronger detergent or talk to a professional.
- Apply sealant (optional). Allow your driveway to dry for up to 24 hours after pressure washing. Fill your paint tray with sealant and use your paint roller to apply two coats, waiting 1-2 hours in between coats. Allow the sealant to dry for 24-72 hours and do not use the driveway during this period.
Frequently asked questions about pressure washing a driveway
Some of the most common questions about pressure washing a driveway are answered here. If you need additional help, you can reach out to us at any time. For questions about specific products, we’re happy to offer advice, but depending on the question, you may receive better information contacting the manufacturer.
How much does it cost to pressure wash a driveway?
This depends on your location and the size, material and condition of your driveway. Generally, the cost to pressure wash a driveway is between $0.25-0.50 per square foot, which includes labor and supplies. This equates to $125-250 for the average two-car driveway, assuming the size is around 500 ft2.
Compare the professional cost above with the cost of doing it yourself. Based on the tools and materials we listed earlier, the cost would be between $300-400, assuming every item is purchased brand new. If you already own any of the items on the list, or you plan to rent or borrow a pressure washer instead of purchasing one, the cost could easily reduce to under $100.
Can a pressure washer damage concrete, brick, etc.?
Any driveway material can be damaged by a pressure washer without careful use. The pressurized water can etch lines, dig pits and degrade joint sand. To prevent damage, use the right nozzle and don’t spray too close to the surface (not closer than 6”) or hold the stream in one place for too long.