The Easiest Method for Removing Oil Stains from Concrete Driveways

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Over the years I’ve had hundreds of common requests to power wash various types of horizontal concrete surfaces such as driveways, sidewalks, patios and pool-decks but every once in awhile I would also receive inquiries about the need to remove oil stains from some of these concrete surfaces. Most of the time the oil stains would be created as a result of people parking motor-vehicles with leaky engines, on their driveways. Other types of oily stains could come from transmission, brake or power steering fluid.

Now unlike trying to use a pressure washer to physically remove substances such as dirt, green algae, surface mold or mildew and hard-water depositing from concrete, oil stains will consist of at least 90 percent of the oily substance being below the actual surface of the concrete, where the water pressure coming from the power washing unit would have little to no effect in being able to remove the oily substance and if anything, may actually tend to drive a bit of the oil down further. The only oil that would be removed or dissipated would be the part that was on or above the concrete surface.

As I’ve found out through the years by doing a little bit of research, there actually are a few products on the market that usually do wonders when it comes to removing oil stains from concrete surfaces but before revealing these products I just want to go over what most people tend to believe or think of when it comes to trying to remove oil stains. For some strange reason so many homeowners think that degreasing products will save the day..   from ultra dish-washing liquid all the way up to industrial strength degreasers..  I’ve heard it all.

You can try scrubbing those types of cleaning products into your oil stains with a nylon or wire brush all day long with hot water (with or without using a pressure washer to do the final rinsing) and all you might get is a slight visual improvement along with a sore wrist and a really sweaty t-shirt. The only instance where those methods would have an honest shot of removal would be if the oil stain was just created only minutes before the removal attempt..  otherwise the oily substance must be extracted from the concrete.

So in the end, pressure cleaning has very little to do with properly removing oil from concrete. The most efficient and complete way to get rid of oil stains from concrete surfaces is to use products made for extracting. The extraction method provides a lot of Pro’s and no Con’s (that I can think of) and the best part is that the oil cleaning process can usually be performed by most homeowners for about $15 and a trip to their local home improvement store.

There’s a few companies that make similar oil extracting products but the one I typically recommend to my customers is called:  Pour-N-Restore

A 32oz bottle goes for about $15 at Home Depot, Lowe’s or Ace Hardware. With a  bottle that size you should be able to cover the removal of an oil stain that’s 3 to 6 square feet in size. In some cases you may have to repeat the process an extra time in order to reach complete stain removal.

The application process is simple. Be sure to remove as much of the oil from the top of the surface as possible without going to extremes..  it doesn’t need to be perfect. Once you’ve done that and that area is fairly dry, it’s time to apply a quarter inch thick coat of the product over the stained area. The product has the consistency of drywall joint compound and will dry overnight as long as it doesn’t get rained on.

By the very next day all you need to do is sweep the dry product into a dust pan and inspect to determine whether an additional application is needed in order to achieve the desired level of removal.

So as you can tell, the removal of oil stains is basically a piece of cake now due to having the option mentioned above..  most of the time if someone calls to tell me that they just have an oil stain or stains they need removed, I just tell them how easy & inexpensive Pour-N-Restore is to use and unless they feel a need to have me pressure wash the whole concrete surface, they usually end up doing the oil stain removal themselves in order to save money.

But for those of you that may be in the Port St Lucie Area and have an interest in having Bill’s Pressure Cleaning PLUS Barrel & Flat-Tile Roof Cleaning take care of your Pressure Washing needs, please visit my homepage for more info and general pricing by clicking on the link below. Thank You

Bill’s Pressure Cleaning  –  Port St Lucie  (772) 708 – 3969

See Our “Before & After” Cleaning Photos – Bills Pressure Cleaning

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Professional Pressure Washing Equipment & Accessories (Part 2)

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In part 2 of “Professional Pressure Washing Equipment & Accessories” I’m going to talk about some of the items that get connected to the end of the high pressure hose.

One of the most obvious items would be a wand and the spray tips that get connected to the end of it but before I discuss those items there’s one important object that should come between the wand & high pressure hose and that’s a matching pressure rated ball valve. The high pressure ball valve should be rated close to equal to or above what your power washing machines pump output is. Most people in the profession use the 3000 psi valves because they are less expensive, smaller and lighter than the 7200 psi valves.

The reason why we need these valves is simple..  they allow us to change between output accessories without having to shut our machines down. Without being able to turn off a valve at the end of the high pressure hose while running it would be impossible to disconnect from an accessory such as a wand, in order to switch to another accessory such as a rotary surface washer (used to quickly pressure wash patios and pressure wash driveways). Being able to stop that water from coming out for just a few seconds buys just enough time to make the switch before opening the line of pressure back up again to continue working in a slightly different manner.

The wands we use are somewhat self explanatory so I wont say much about them except that they do make some that have what they call EZ-Triggers on them as opposed to the run-of-the-mill triggers that are slightly more difficult to pull on. The only other difference I can think of what be that some triggers are made to handle higher temperatures associated with using hot water set-ups. Of course the rod or lance extending from all triggers can be cut to what ever length the operator wants them to be. Some guys like to have a few wands on hand that are at different lengths in order to make specific tasks easier to reach which does bring me to our next accessory before I get into the spray tips.

Spray tips can go directly onto the wands lance or they can be attached to the end of an extension rod. An extension rod is exactly as it implies..  it’s basically a lance that can get added onto a wand to make it longer. There’s many applications that require an operator to reach to more distant objects such as to the top of an aluminum pool cage (as they span up & across a pool surface) or up to the overhang of the gable end of a house..  pressure washing pool cages and pressure washing houses are just a few examples.

Now onto spray tips. The tips originally come as a set with the machines but they can also be purchased later on either separately or again as a full set. Besides the fact that they can be left or lost on a job, they also become worn from usage as time goes on and should be replaced as needed. When I say they become worn, it’s the actual nozzle or orifice of the spray tip that wears down becoming larger than it’s original diameter. When the orifice becomes larger than intended for a specific pumps output volume, it will start to diminish cleaning effectiveness.

What the operator feels when a tip is very worn is that the machines output will seem like it isn’t producing as much pressure as it used to. It will seem like someone reached over and turn his un-loader valve down on him (but un-loader valves are a whole other story that I wont be getting into on these basic posts..  just know that their sole purpose is to limit a pumps output pressure without decreasing its water volume).

So as I was saying before..  the tips come in a set..  five tips and each of them are a different color. The colors helps distinguish between the nozzle angles they are produced in. The black tip is special by comparison to the four others because it always has a very large opening. The reason for such a large opening is that it’s made for spraying soap or chemicals at a drastically lower pressure than the normal high pressure tips. It’s basically spraying at around 60 psi which is just enough to distribute diluted soap or chemical onto objects.

The other four tips are:  0 degree, 15 degree, 25 degree & 40 degree  (red, yellow, green & white). These tips are suited for different high pressure cleaning purposes. The degree of angle represents the width at which the spray pattern comes out. The higher the number, the wider the spray pattern. The white tip (40 degree) covers more area than the other three tips but in doing so it will also concentrated less water in one particular area. It’s power will be less focused but as long as it’s still able to clean effectively, using a tip that covers a larger area would be like a bonus. Of course there will be a few instances that operators will need a more focused spray pattern and therefore opt for a green or yellow tip but I usually never find the need to use anything but my (40 degree & soap) white & black tips.

Hopefully I didn’t confuse anyone while discussing spray tips..  you just need to experience using the different tips on a commercial grade machine in order to get a feel for what they can do. Just remember this:  you will never need to use your red tip (that’s the 0 degree tip). Just know that it’s dangerous and will damage just about anything it’s pointed at while in spray mode. I have a feeling they made it red because it shoots like a laser..   lol

And on that note I think we’ll stop right here. In part three of the post I’ll talk about:  rotary surface washers, high pressure hose reels and anything else that comes to mind.

If you’re in the Port St Lucie Area and you’re interested in having Bill’s Pressure Cleaning PLUS Barrel & Flat-Tile Roof Cleaning take care of your Pressure Washing needs, please visit my homepage for more info and general pricing by clicking on the link below. Thank You

Bill’s Pressure Cleaning  –  Port St Lucie  (772) 708 – 3969

See Our “Before & After” Cleaning Photos – Bills Pressure Cleaning

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Professional Pressure Washing Equipment & Accessories (Part 1)

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Contrary to what some people may think about pressure cleaning..  “professional pressure cleaning” is just as serious and justified as any other trade out there. And just like all the other professional trades, this one is no different when it comes to having the right tools on hand in order to get jobs done better & faster. Having the right equipment, experience and know-how is what immediately sets the professionals apart from the general public when it comes to pressure washing.

In reality there’s lots of power washing equipment & accessories available, but in this 3 part post I’ll only be going over the items that are most commonly used or else the post would go on & on, especially becoming endless if I also included items for soft-washing.

So to kick things off it’s only fitting to start with the single most important piece and that would be a professional grade power washer. And for those that do not know..  there’s many differences between commercial grade and residential grade machines. Without getting into the mechanical aspects of both grades, the bottomline is that you get what you pay for. More specific differences between both grades will be: mechanical longevity, water pump volume & output pressure.

For example, most residential machines have pumps that just aren’t designed to last very long when compared to the pumps used on commercial grade units. The residential pumps are prone to easily overheating, which causes long or short term damage. They also require having their pump-oil changed out after every use do to their inferior pump seals, unlike the commercial pumps, which are also less prone to overheating due to mechanical & material design differences.

And besides the fact that commercial units have larger engines to power their higher output pumps, those engines are also more dynamic and reliable. The difference in engine output range between residential and commercial units is quite a lot but in this post I’m only going to cover the differences in their pump output range.

Residential pumps generally start at (2000 psi / 2 gallons per minute) on the smaller gas powered machines but can go up to as high as (2700 psi / 2.7 gallons per minute) on the slightly larger units. Commercial pumps on the other hand can start as low as (2800 psi / 3 gallons per minute) and go as high as (4500 psi / 4 gallons per minute) or (3000 psi / 10 gallons per minute).

With the commercial units there’s many output configuration options available, some for one man operations and some for two. The 10 gallon per minute pump mentioned above is for up to two people. Common commercial pump outputs for one person would be (4000 psi / 4 gal per minute) up to (3000 psi / 6.5 gal per minute). Higher the output, larger the engine needed to power the pump.

OK enough about the machines..  now on to the high pressure hoses that allow the water to get from the output of those commercial pumps (through their un-loader valves and chemical injectors) all the way out to a high pressure ball valve that connects to either a wand or a rotary surface washer, which I’ll talk about within the next few posts.

High pressure hoses are made in various lengths..  50ft, 100ft, 200ft are the most common. The hoses are also designed and produced to handle different maximum pressures and temperatures. Some pressure washing companies have set-ups that utilize hot water furnaces on the back-end and because of this, they would need hoses that can handle higher than normal temperatures. And as you may have guessed, the wands they use would also have to handle higher temps than the standard wands most machines come with.

The commercial grade hoses start at around 3300 psi and go up to 5400 psi. Their construction is similar to a garden hose in the fact that they are multi layered, but the materials used within each layer are typically much stronger & durable. For example: Garden hoses always have nylon braiding to strengthen them..  the high pressure hoses must use at least one layer of STEEL braiding in order to withstand the kinds of pressure their subjected to over and over.

When it comes to the inner construction, these hoses have to hold up to constant wear & tear from not only the water but also from the many times that chlorine gets introduced by means of the machines chemical injector. The outer construction of the hoses are made from a very durable vulcanized material that’s main purpose is to withstand being constantly bent and dragged around on not only grass but also on harsh pavement. It’s other purpose is to shield the operators hands from the sharp feel of the steel braiding directly underneath.

As strong as these hoses can be, unfortunately they don’t last forever. As they wear out in certain places over time, they become prone to failure and often burst. They can usually be repaired but a failure often signals that it will soon need to be replaced. And on that note I will end part one of this post. In part two I’ll talk about:  high pressure ball valves, wand & spray tips and extension rods.

If you’re in the Port St Lucie Area and you’re interested in having Bill’s Pressure Cleaning PLUS Barrel & Flat-Tile Roof Cleaning take care of your Pressure Washing needs, please visit my homepage for more info and general pricing by clicking on the link below. Thank You

Bill’s Pressure Cleaning  –  Port St Lucie  (772) 708 – 3969

See Our “Before & After” Cleaning Photos – Bills Pressure Cleaning

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3 Important Reasons to Continually Pressure Wash Your Driveway and Patio Surface

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Almost everywhere you go in the Port St Lucie area you’ll see houses and along with those houses you’ll see driveways. Driving through all the neighborhoods in the area over the years has led me to see many driveways but it’s always been the ones that looked dark grey, dirty and weathered that really stood out the most. Unfortunately that’s not something you would want your driveway or property to be known for but surprisingly enough there’s so many driveways out there that fit that description. Pressure Wash

Fortunately there’s a quick and cost effective solution to this issue but first let’s go over what usually makes driveways look that way. Aside from actual dirt, rust & other minerals depositing from untreated sprinkler systems, most of the time you’ll eventually end up with some combination of black mold, mildew and possibly a few patches of green algae.

Depending on the type and how much foliage resides near these concrete based surfaces helps determine how fast and how much the potential growth of black mold, mildew or green algae there will be. There are many potential contributors to these micro organisms but most of the time it tends to start by spreading from the different forms of tree, grass, weeds and plant life nearby. Wind and rain usually help with the process of spreading but other factors often come into play as well.

There are many important reasons why it’s essential to maintain your driveway and other concrete based surfaces such as your sidewalks, patio and pool deck  through pressure washing. The most obvious reason for having and keeping your driveway surface clean should be the simple fact that clean driveways generally tend to look better than nasty, dirty looking ones. Hands down curb appeal is a no-brainer. Not only would your neighbors and other thru-traffic observers appreciate seeing clean, newer looking driveways, wouldn’t it also make you feel better knowing that you keep it clean for quite a few reasons?

Most people never truly think about it, but leaving black mold, mildew and green algae has a high potential of being a safety risk and health hazard. Besides the fact these micro organisms tend to look darker and a bit thicker each time it rains and they soak up water, they also tend to become slippery. The situation is a “slip & fall” just waiting to happen on your property..  so whether it was to happen to you, a family member (young or old), a friend or even a public service worker such as a delivery person walking up your driveway & walkway to get to your front door, it’s no laughing matter once it’s too late. Pressure Wash

Before I even get to the next important reason for keeping things clean, the bottom line is this..  at the time of this posting (2015) the going rate here in St Lucie County & Martin County to have a professional power washing service come out to clean a 4 car capacity, solid concrete Driveway, which is the average size of a driveway setting in front of a 2 car garage, would be between $55 to $75 depending on the exact condition of that surface and the location / distance of the job site.

Obviously if the cleaning service has to use more detergent and/or spend more time than average to complete the project, the price charged would be on the higher end of that range. The same holds true for job sites located further away from company home-base. Either way $55 to $75 spend every 1 to 2 years is a wise investment to make considering the alternative. Pressure Wash

In most cases, driveway and sidewalk surfaces should be professionally cleaned between every 12 to 18 months but I have seen a few exceptions to the rules. Generally speaking the idea isn’t to wait until it starts getting bad..  it should always be maintained in order to avoid those bad situations. It’s all about maintaining and preventing.

Before wrapping up this post, there is one more reason for maintaining your concrete based surfaces and I bet almost no one really thinks about this, but anywhere you see mildew or black mold it’s a possible health risk. The potential to cause respiratory issues is definitely there for everyone and should be most concerning to the elderly and those that already have related issues. One more thing to note when it comes to these micro organisms is that can spread quickly and easily from outdoors to indoors just by walking on them so again it can’t be stressed enough how important it is to keep those outside surfaces clean and sanitized as much as possible. Pressure Wash

So whether you have me come out to clean for you or you find another qualified, local company do the job, now you know how important it is to have your outdoor surfaces properly cleaned and regularly maintained.

In my next few posts I’ll be talking about the type of equipment pressure cleaning companies use to do typical tasks such as cleaning concrete surfaces, cleaning home exteriors and cleaning screen enclosures. Without discussing specific brands of chemicals or detergents I’ll also go over basic cleaning processes & applications.

If you’re in the Port St Lucie Area and you’re interested in having Bill’s Pressure Cleaning PLUS Barrel & Flat-Tile Roof Cleaning take care of your Pressure Washing needs, please visit my homepage for more info and general pricing by clicking on the link below. Thank You

Pressure Wash

Bill’s Pressure Cleaning  –  Port St Lucie  (772) 708 – 3969

See Our “Before & After” Cleaning Photos – Bills Pressure Cleaning

 

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