Your pressure washer may be destroying your patio and vegetation – here’s why

Pressure washers may seem like the obvious choice for cleaning your exteriors – but they come with a warning

person cleaning a patio with a pressure washer
(Image credit: Imagesine/Getty Images)

When it comes to cleaning your patio, pressure washers may seem like the obvious choice. However, despite its undeniable power and convenience, experts have warned against overusing this appliance on your patio – as you could be doing more harm than good. And, the damage doesn’t end with your paving. 

If you’re looking for how to clean a patio, you may need to rethink your tactic, as a pressure washer can also cause damage to nearby vegetation. So, it’s important to get your technique right. 

Here’s what you need to know before dusting down your best pressure washer ahead of garden party season. 

Why you should avoid overusing your pressure washer – according to the experts 

person cleaning block paving with a pressure washer

(Image credit: Ogre64/Getty Images)

‘While cleaning your patio, many people apply too much pressure. When a lot of pressure is involved, you may leave permanent marks or destroy nearby vegetation,’ says Fantastic Services (opens in new tab) gardening specialist Pol Bishop. ‘Different surfaces tolerate the stress of pressure cleaning differently. For instance, your roof needs the bare minimum, while your driveway requires a high-pressure setting.’

And Pol is not exclusive in his warning. As unconventional as this patio idea may initially sound, the digital director at Paving Direct (opens in new tab), Cass Heaphy, re-iterates the gardener’s warning. 

‘This might come as a surprise to some people, but you should avoid frequent use of pressure washers,’ he says.‘As satisfying as they might be to use, they can actually damage the face of the paving if concentrated on an area or if the water jet is too strongly pressured.’ 

A green and black painted garden boundary with an outdoor fire and deck chairs

(Image credit: Sadolin)

While the experts are not urging you to neglect your pressure washer entirely, they suggest you use the appliance in moderation, as this will lead to a clean patio – without the damage. But what can you do to prevent the problem? 

How to prevent over-washing 

urban garden with paved patio and brick pathway

(Image credit: Chris Tubbs/Future)

Before experimenting with your pressure washer, Cass explains that you should ‘always test on an unobtrusive area’ so you can assess its power before tainting your patio and paving stones. 

‘You should also make sure you check the materials of your patio before purchasing a pressure washer,’’ he adds. Pressure washing natural stone is not recommended as it may damage the joint pointing. [It] may also damage the face of reconstituted stone and concrete paving.’

Is it time to rethink your modern paving ideas? We’re treading with caution from now.  

Megan is a News Writer across Future Plc's Homes titles. She has a background in national newspapers in the UK, but her adoration for fashion and travel has previously taken her to Paris and New York, meaning she particularly loves writing about trends from around the world. Megan's favourite plants are her beloved cactuses, but she also loves to observe the vast wild nature of her home county, Yorkshire.