How to choose a contractor to pressure wash your driveway

If you’re tired of the dirty mold, mildew, and oil stains on your driveway, then listen closely…

For this article, we interviewed Jared Harris of Blue Monkey Pressure Washing to get his tips for how to choose someone to pressure wash your driveway. We talked about:

  • How dangerous a pressure washer can be in the wrong hands.
  • Why your driveway will look AWFUL in only 3-4 months if the contractor you hire to pressure wash it skips any of these four steps.
  • The minimum amount of liability insurance you should require from your driveway washing company.
  • What important department do 99% of pressure washers not have for their business?

Jared begin pressure washing back in 1995 and selected the name “Blue Monkey” because he says it’s easy for people to remember! We asked Jared to tell us what our readers should look for in a service that will clean their concrete driveways.

He listed a few tips:

  • Check that they have proper insurance
  • Look into their customer service record
  • Ask them about their process – insist on an experienced technician
  • Research the company

1. Let’s talk about the importance of proper insurance.

Jared advises that pressure washers should have a $1 million liability policy for their business. In fact, he said it’s the standard for the pressure washing industry. He also suggested looking at a copy of the insurance policy to make sure it’s valid and up-to-date.

Why is insurance so important? Here’s a list of possibilities that could happen to your house when you hire the wrong driveway pressure washing company. A pressure washer in the wrong hands can:

  • Blast paint off your siding and trim.
  • Blow stucco off your exterior.
  • Blow your brick mortar joints out.
  • Kill the plants in your garden.
  • Cause streaks on your finish.
  • Remove the sand face from your bricks.
  • Remove the finish from fancy doorknobs.
  • Wreak havoc inside your house if there is an open window.
  • Hurt your pets or children.

What about accidents with ladders? “Thankfully you don’t need a ladder to power wash a driveway,” Jared said. “However, sometimes a homeowner will ask you to wash their roof while you’re there already. The good news is that 95% of the time no ladders are required to wash a roof. This limits the danger of someone falling off a ladder, or a ladder falling on a car or your house. But an inexperienced power washer may not understand this. Take the time to hire an experienced contractor.”

“The chemicals used to clean your driveway and decks are very slippery,” Jared said. “That’s why we always place caution signs when working at the customer’s home. All it takes is a visitor slipping or one of your children slipping and [they could] fall down the stairs.”

This is another reason to make sure that the service you use to pressure wash your driveway has liability insurance.

2. Ask them about their method for cleaning your driveway.

What chemical will they use? “If they are not excited about telling you, then be wary about hiring them,” Jared said. Being an educated consumer is your best defense when working with contractors.

Jared continued, “Did you know that concrete can be damaged with a high-pressure water stream? Some concrete is softer than others depending on the concrete, sand, and water combination. The problem with do-it-yourselfers that use a Home Depot pressure washer is that a 3000 psi,  three gallons of water per minute machine does the exact opposite of what you want your machine to do. For example, let’s talk about mold. Inexperienced concrete washers will try to blast with a high-pressure stream of water. Mold is not killed with power but by bleach chemicals. You want to provide a high volume of water with low pressure to get your driveway clean. You want to kill the mold… not blast it.”

Another question you should consider is the temperature of the water they’ll be using. “While hot water is usually not necessary to wash your house when the temperature is 60° to 70°F, hot water does come in handy when cleaning concrete,” Jared said. “Your concrete is full of mold, mildew, and dark oil stains. Hot water allows us to use less chemicals.”

Jared explained, “Most people think of concrete as being hard. Did you know that concrete actually acts like a big sponge? Mold spores collectively darken your concrete, turning it gray, black, and green. It’s embedded in your concrete so it cannot be blasted out by water. If you try to do so, it’ll damage the surface of your driveway.”

Jared shared four key pressure wash steps to clean a concrete driveway properly:

  1. Pre-treat the driveway with hot water, then apply chemicals and let them sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Surface clean the driveway and check for mold spores.
  3. Rinse with water.
  4. Post-treat any mold spots that are giving you trouble.

Why is it important to do all the steps? “Either take your time now or your driveway will look bad again within three or four months from now,” Jared said.

That leads us to the next question.

3. What kind of customer service do they offer?

“Most power washers are a one-man show,” Jared said. He explained that many people just pressure wash for some extra cash. What are the odds you’re going to be able to get someone to talk to you when you have a problem then? What are the odds of getting them to come back to fix something that was not done correctly?

“That’s why we have a real customer service department. They address all customer problems and concerns. You get to talk to a real live person that will return your phone call. So, you should hire a driveway pressure washing company that has a customer service department.”

4. Take the time to research the company.

Look for their online reviews. Check Google, Yelp, or Angie’s List. What you want to look for is how attentive they were to detail. Did they follow through on what they said?

5. Any tips for those that might be inclined to do it themselves?

Jared warned, “Remember to use eye protection since you’re working with caustic chemicals. Wear safety boots so that the chemicals don’t leach through your sneakers and burn your feet. Never point the pressure washer at someone else. Water at high pressure speed can act like a knife and cut through your skin.”

It’ll cost you $85 to rent a pressure washer from Home Depot. Then you’ll have to buy the right chemicals. After learning the facts and dangers associated with it, many see the value in hiring a professional driveway cleaner to pressure wash their driveway. If you would like a free quote to power wash your concrete driveway in Atlanta, please feel free to contact Jared through his website.

We hope you have found these tips helpful! Look out for more articles in our pressure washing series on our blog.

Need insurance? Great! We’ve got a lot of it. Home, auto, renters, business, life – take your pick! Just fill out our quick quote form or give us a call today and we’ll help you get the coverage that you need at the best possible rate. We’re here to help!