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Pressure Washing: Yay Or Nay For An Asphalt Driveway?

Key Takeaways:

– Too much pressure washing can damage asphalt paving by stripping away sealant.

– Pressure washing may temporarily improve appearance, but it is not a long-term solution for maintaining an asphalt driveway.

– Experts recommend using a gentle cleaning method or hiring a professional for asphalt driveway cleaning.

– You must know the correct technique to pressure wash an asphalt driveway to prevent damage.

Whether or not you’re a cleaning freak, everyone likes their driveway clean and shiny. And pressure washing seems like the quickest, easiest solution for that. However, a few things to consider before pressure washing your asphalt driveway.

Atkins Paving, your trusted asphalt paving company, will tell you about the actual impact that pressure washing entails and whether or not you should do it.

Let’s begin by looking at why you should NOT pressure wash your asphalt driveway.

Reasons Not To Pressure Wash Asphalt

1. You can end up damaging your asphalt

Water, the main component of pressure washing, can easily cause your asphalt driveway to lose its top coating. This will result in losing the smoothness and longevity of your asphalt driveway.

2. Causing cracks and potholes

You heard it right. Wear and tear is not the only reason you make your driveway susceptible to cracks and potholes. Excessive water pressure splash through pressure washing makes your asphalt driveway weak and prone to damage. The top layer may appear clean, but underneath lies a weakened structure.

3. It can strip away the sealant

Sealant breathes new life into your driveway, but if you’re unable to help yourself with the pressure washing temptation, you risk stripping away the sealant. A sealant job can cost you a pretty penny, so it’s best to avoid pressure washing altogether and opt for a gentler cleaning method.

4. It can wash away loose gravel

The layer beneath your asphalt driveway is made up of loose gravel. The integrity of your driveway relies on this loose gravel, and pressure washing can wash it away. With water seeping in and washing away the support of your driveway, you may experience sinkholes and cracks.

5. It can create a slip hazard

Pressure washing can create a slippery surface for a residential asphalt driveway, where you may not be concerned about heavy machinery. This poses a safety concern for you, your family, and visitors. Water of any form can create a slip hazard, but the high pressure of pressure washing can amplify this risk.

6. Make potholes reappear

Excessive pressure washing contributes to forming potholes and can make your older, already repaired potholes reappear. How? The pressure washing can push water underneath the asphalt, weakening the foundation and causing instability in that area. The already-filled gravel and asphalt can sink, leaving a pothole once again.

Now, we shall move to see the reasons for pressure washing your asphalt driveway, if any (hint: there could be plenty!).

Reasons to Pressure Wash Asphalt

Help remove stains

Time can make your asphalt driveway stained with oil, grease, and dirt. Now, these stains (due to some very scientific reasons) can be a pain in the butt to remove with just soap and water. If done correctly, pressure washing can help you achieve this goal.

Make your asphalt driveway look clean.

Dirt accumulates on everything but does so with much vigor on an asphalt driveway. And let’s be honest, we all want our driveways to look nice when guests come over or when we leave for work in the morning. Pressure washing can give your asphalt driveway a facelift and make it look (somewhat) brand new.

Make your asphalt driveway look clean.

An eco-friendly method

You’ll find a range of chemical cleaners that apparently work wonders on asphalt driveways, but pressure washing is a more environmentally friendly option. Sure, it may require a bit more elbow grease, but it’s worth it for Mother Nature.

Highly convenient

As a cleaning method, pressure washing is also incredibly convenient. All you need is a pressure washer and access to water, and you’re good to go. Plus, the task can be completed in just a few hours, as opposed to the days or weeks it may take to clean with chemical solutions.

How to Correctly Pressure Wash Asphalt Driveway

Having a list of reasons for why you should or shouldn’t pressure wash your asphalt driveway is all well and good, but it’s essential also to know how to properly pressure wash if you do choose to go that way. Here’s how:

Properly clean the surface.

Start thoroughly brushing and sweeping the asphalt to remove loose debris or dirt. We recommend using a stiff brush or push broom for this task. With gentle movements, set aside any heavy objects that may be sitting on the asphalt.

Degrease your asphalt driveway

Don’t expect pressure washing alone to do the job of removing oil or grease stains. First, use a degreaser to target those tough spots and let it sit for the designated amount of time suggested on the product label. You should find a good quality degreaser at your local hardware store.

Choose the right pressure-washing equipment.

Asphalt driveways are delicate and can easily be damaged by too much pressure. Use a pressure washer with an adjustable pressure setting and opt for a 25-degree or 40-degree tip.

Pressure wash in the right direction

Avoid pressure washing back and forth like you’re mowing a lawn. Don’t forget to use a detergent to get that deep clean.

Be careful around edges and seams.

The edges and seams of your asphalt driveway are weaker and more prone to damage from pressure washing. Be extra cautious and use a lower-pressure setting in these areas.

Use caution and a lower-pressures setting

One of the essential tips for washing your asphalt driveway is to use caution and a lower-pressure setting. Aggressive pressure washing can chip or crack the asphalt, leading to costly repairs.

Always put it to dry.

As the final step, allow your asphalt driveway to dry thoroughly before walking or driving on it. Without letting it fully dry, you risk the water seeping in and weakening the asphalt foundation.

Ending Note:

Atkins Paving, serving Myrtle Beach, SC, and surrounding areas, advises caution when pressure washing your asphalt driveway. For any asphalt maintenance, we got your back. Our experts can breathe new life into your driveway with sealcoating, crack filling, and asphalt repairs. 

Get a free estimate now!