A material used for driveways and parking lots that pressure washing can remove dirt, oil stains, and tire marks.

Related terms: asphalt driveway, asphalt parking lot

Asphalt, Pressure Washing & Power Washing

Asphalt, also known as bitumen or blacktop, is a dense, dark-colored material commonly used for paving roads, driveways, parking lots, and other surfaces. It is composed of a mixture of aggregates such as crushed stone, sand, and gravel, bound together by a sticky binder derived from petroleum.

Properties of Asphalt relevant to Pressure Washing:

  • Porous: Asphalt is a porous material, meaning it absorbs liquids and allows them to permeate through its surface. This makes it susceptible to staining from oil, grease, and other substances.
  • Durable: Asphalt is a resilient material that can withstand heavy traffic and harsh weather conditions. It is also resistant to cracking and wear and tear.
  • Heat-sensitive: Asphalt can soften and become sticky when exposed to high heat. This is important to consider when pressure washing, as hot water can damage the surface.
  • Surface texture: Asphalt surfaces vary in texture, ranging from smooth and polished to rough and porous. The texture affects the effectiveness of pressure washing and the cleaning methods employed.

Pressure Washing Techniques for Asphalt:

  • Pressure range: An appropriate pressure range for cleaning asphalt falls between 2,000 PSI and 3,000 PSI. This range effectively removes dirt, grime, and stains without damaging the surface.
  • Nozzle selection: A wide fan tip nozzle is ideal for cleaning large areas of asphalt, while a turbo nozzle can be used for targeting specific stains or debris.
  • Cleaning solutions: Utilizing specialized asphalt cleaning solutions formulated to break down oil stains and remove dirt without damaging the asphalt is crucial.
  • Pre-wetting: Pre-wetting the asphalt surface before applying the cleaning solution helps loosen dirt and grime, enhancing the cleaning effectiveness.
  • Post-cleaning rinsing: Thoroughly rinsing the asphalt after cleaning removes any residual cleaning solution and prevents streaking.

Power Washing Considerations:

While power washing can be effective for removing stubborn stains and deep grime from asphalt, it is crucial to exercise caution due to the high pressure involved. Using excessive pressure can damage the asphalt, resulting in cracks, potholing, and other surface imperfections. Additionally, power washing can strip away the top layer of asphalt, exposing the underlying aggregate and reducing its lifespan.

Alternatives for Power Washing:

  • Soft washing: This approach utilizes lower pressure settings and specialized biodegradable cleaning solutions to gently remove dirt and grime from the asphalt without causing damage.
  • Commercial asphalt cleaning services: Professional asphalt cleaning companies have the experience and equipment to effectively clean large areas of asphalt using specialized methods and techniques.

Asphalt is a robust and commonly used material for paving surfaces. However, its porous nature makes it susceptible to staining and requires proper cleaning to maintain its appearance and functionality. Pressure washing can be an effective cleaning method for asphalt, but it’s crucial to use appropriate pressure settings, cleaning solutions, and techniques to avoid damaging the surface. For extensive cleaning or heavily stained asphalt surfaces, consider employing soft washing or professional asphalt cleaning services.