Starting with my parent's concrete - can this even be cleaned?

Hello everyone! First post, so be gentle :slight_smile: I want to start a pressure washing business, and bought a Simpson 4,200psi 4gpm washer, as well as a whirl-a-way 16in surface cleaner. Before I start bidding out jobs, I’ve been trying my new equipment out on family members concrete to learn as I go. This forum has been an amazing resource, thank you!

Question - is my parent’s pool deck below beyond cleaning help? It looks like the dog’s breakfast and is likely the worst looking “newish” concrete I’ve seen. My parents said I can play around with it because they are planning to get it replaced, so I tried a few things. Looks like the cream layer is mostly gone, the moisture barrier is buggered, etc.

Background - the concrete is 7 years old, poured by a professional company that is still in business. The look of the concrete after the pour was poor, including a lot of mottling. The company that poured the concrete said it was normal. My parents hired an independent concrete guy to come look at it, and he said it was a bad pour, they used shoddy materials, the cream layer was non-existent, etc. Working with the company to address the issue is a rather short story - they told my parents to pound sand. Such is life.

Anyway, fast forward to today when I decided to try pressure washing the concrete. I pretreated the areas with some SH and put down a light surfactant. I also installed a pressure gauge and set my washer at 3,000psi. The picture results are below, as you’ll see the problem areas are unchanged, and the concrete looks damaged.

I fully understand the tiger stripes are from moving the surface cleaner too fast. I can re-do those areas.

My question is this - can concrete like this even be cleaned? Is this a job you should always pass on?

Correct me if I’m wrong but it really looks like painted concrete. I did a job like this at the beginning of the summer and used low pressure. I pretreated with about 1% to 2% and put bigger nozzles on my surface cleaner. To me this looks like paint is coming up. I know it’s common to paint concrete around the pool.

After thinking about and re reading your post sounds like you know it’s not painted. Someone else will probably have an idea about a chemical or way to fix it.

Thanks for your reply. Correct, the concrete has not been painted. I’m really hoping there is some way to clean it and make the color more uniform.

Those lines look like you completely took the cream off the concrete

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You don’t set the washer, you change out the nozzles for the pressure you want. I’m fond of 2500psi on the surface cleaner.


To answer your question, NO. They’re best bet is to apply like a Kool deck ( ) or epoxy finish over.


Thanks everyone for your replies!

@Racer - I’ll have them look into kooldeck. From my initial research, it seems if you get it done by a professional contractor, you can get some great results. Cheers!

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