Should you use the wrong cleaning methods, you can in some cases do irreparable damage to the wall itself, negating all of your hard work along the way.
If you’re ready to make your concrete wall sparkle and shine, here’s how to make it happen.
Be Wary of the Power Washer
When it’s time to clean a retaining wall, many people automatically grab the power washer, turn it up to the highest setting, and start spraying. However, that’s usually the worst thing you can do.
While you can use a power washer with a broad, low-pressure nozzle to clean a retaining wall, trying it with a narrow, laser-like stream of water will probably have the water cutting into the concrete block, causing extensive damage.
Often the damage done to a concrete retaining wall by a power washer will be irreversible and might mean that you need to have the entire wall replaced.
If your retaining wall is somewhat high, you may find trying to clean some higher spots to be virtually impossible. But rather than be stuck with parts of your wall that remain dirty, you can use vertical concrete polishing.
Performed by professional technicians, this technique can not only grind all deviations from the wall’s surface, but also hone, polish, and seal the wall’s surface to keep it sparkling. Afterwards, your retaining wall will be easier to clean and last longer, making this cleaning method a very cost-effective option.
It is not recommended that you try to polish your concrete retaining wall on your own, as the process can be difficult, and the materials can be finicky to work with. For this option it is always advisable to hire a professional instead.
some retaining walls to consider
Should your retaining wall have stains that are not water-soluble or have perhaps been caused by various types of air pollutants, you may be able to get your wall shining by using specialized detergents specifically made for cleaning concrete.
Often available in local hardware stores, be careful to read the label of any detergent you select to make sure it won’t cause harm to any nearby plants or bushes.
Remember when you spray the detergent off to use a low setting. Using a water setting that is too high will be akin to pressure washing your concrete and could cause serious damage to the wall.
Ammonia and Dish Soap
When your retaining wall has only mild stains, using a standard dish soap and water can usually get the job done. But should the stains be worse, you should combine a stronger dish soap with ammonia.
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By first applying the ammonia to the wall’s surface, scrubbing it down with soap, and then letting it dry 24-48 hours before filling in any cracks or holes, your wall should look great.
A simple solution like this works well if you have time to clean your wall regularly, particularly after a rain or dust storm made your wall just a little dirty. It can be difficult to remove heavy stains, however, so other methods should be used in those circumstances.
By utilizing concrete polishing and other cleaning methods, it should become much easier to keep your retaining wall looking like new year after year.
If you have cleaned your wall in some time, call in a professional to do the job for you and get you back to having a clean wall again.
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Image credit: making a retaining wall by twenty20.com
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