Regardless of the size of you home, you’ll have at least 100 square feet of hard surface around the outside.  This could be decks, patios, walking paths, or your driveway.  For the most part these surfaces are made of materials meant to withstand nature’s elements, but not forever!

​Over time, organic growth matter and other debris will begin to diminish the original beauty of these areas, causing them to look gross and wore out.  In my experience, I’ve found that the organic growth happens first in the areas of the northside of the home, as this area typically receives the least amount of sunlight, preventing areas to dry.    If left long enough, the surfaces will become stained and unable to be restored back to it’s original beauty.

​To achieve the best results, hire an exterior cleaning company, but if hiring a pro just isn’t in the budget, take the DIY route, by following these three hacks and get the job done right.

​Tool Round Up
​Even through you are saving some money by doing the cleaning yourself, you’re going to need to invest in a couple of tools in order to best clean it yourself. I’m going to get you a list of 5 essentials from most expensive to least.  The first is a nice to have, but 2-4 are a MUST to get the job done.

  1. Pressure washer with surface cleaning head – $200
  2. Aggressive Cleaning Brush – $40
  3. Simple Green & Outdoor Bleach – $25
  4. Pump Sprayer – $15
  5. Garden hose multi-sprayer – $10

​Using cleaning chemicals
​Here’s a little secret, most pros use chemicals to achieve their best cleaning results.  With that, many homeowners are scared to use cleaning chemicals (rightfully so), as they are seen as too dangerous or harmful to their plants and animals around their home.  This is true, to a degree, although when used in the correct dilutions and in a specific way, they are the path to the results you’re seeking.  The two chemicals I’ve suggested have broad uses and are inexpensive to keep on hand.  First, Simple green is a universal degreaser.  This is great for instances where there isn’t organic growth, but instead oil, BBQ grease, or other grim.  Be sure to follow the dilution ratios closely and heavily water the plants surrounding the areas.  Apply solution with your pump sprayer, scrub vigorously with your brush, and rinse thoroughly with your garden hose attachment.   In areas where there is organic growth happening, use the outdoor bleach in the same manor as the simple green, expect you will need to be even more cautious, making sure to water plant areas even more.  Importantly, always thoroughly rinse off any solutions, before they have a chance to dry on the surface.

​Pressure Washer 101
​Should you decide to purchase the pressure washer I linked above, or one similar, there are some basic knowledge and rules to abide by.  First and probably the most important is to familiarize yourself with the different tips that attach to the spray wand.  They are colored to indicate the type of spray they preform.  Red is the straight line spray – BE CAREFUL with this one as it is very strong and can cause damage to most areas, if not used properly.  Green is a 25 degree spray and is for more close up aggressive spraying.  White is 40 degrees and is for light spraying and rinsing.  Black is for soap or detergent applications. If you purchasesd the surface cleaning head also, you’re going to be able to really extend your surface cleaning capabilities significantly. The 12 inch round head is able to make light of any concrete cleaning, giving you a professional result in a short period of time.

​If your decks, patios, walking paths, and driveway are beginning to show their age, follow these hacks to revitalize your hard surfaces and bring value back to your outdoor living spaces.

​                                      -W.M.