Buy­ers’ Guide

Give your pa­tio a good clean this au­tumn. Ge­off Hodge gives a round-up of the gear you’ll need

Garden Answers (UK) - - Contents -

Brighten up the pa­tio with a pres­sure washer... here’s our pick of the clean­ing kit

As­parkling clean pa­tio can brighten up the whole gar­den. Spot­less pavers and gleam­ing deck­ing boards cre­ate a light and well-cared for ap­pear­ance, trans­form­ing a shabby eye­sore into a sunny seat­ing area. Con­versely, moss and weeds be­tween paving gaps, stains, al­gae, lichens and liv­er­worts will all de­tract from the over­all look. And poor main­te­nance can make all hard sur­faces in­cred­i­bly slip­pery – turn­ing them into a haz­ard for young and old. If your pa­tio looks a mess there’s noth­ing for it – it’s time to get out the clean­ing kit to re­store it to its for­mer glory. But does it need to be hard work? The sim­ple an­swer is: not at all! In fact it can be fun.

Un­der pres­sure

As long as there’s a source of water and elec­tri­cal power close by, us­ing a pres­sure washer will get any clean­ing tasks fin­ished in no time, with zero fuss. Most house­hold mod­els are pow­ered by elec­tric­ity, are rel­a­tively light and quiet, need lit­tle up­keep, and don’t pro­duce any emis­sions. They start and stop quickly and eas­ily, and are sim­ple to con­trol and main­tain. Good qual­ity pres­sure wash­ers have in­duc­tion mo­tors, whereas cheaper mod­els may have a plas­tic pump and brush mo­tor, which are less ro­bust over time. How pow­er­ful? If you only need a pres­sure washer for clean­ing bikes, cars and out­door fur­ni­ture, you won’t need a top-of-the-range model. Un­less you want ad­justable water pres­sure out­put and other ad­vanced fea­tures, a com­pact, en­trylevel model with low-wattage mo­tor (around 1200W) and water pres­sure out­put of 90–100 bars will suf­fice. More ex­pen­sive, mid-range mod­els (1600–2000W mo­tor and water pres­sure around 110–120 bars) are a much bet­ter choice for pa­tios – as well as a wide range of other clean­ing tasks. Larger mod­els (with pow­er­ful 1800– 2500W mo­tors and water pres­sure out­puts up to 150 bars) will tackle large ar­eas of paving and very in­grained dirt. How much water will I use? Water out­put is mea­sured in litres per hour (L/h); a larger out­put gives quicker clean­ing, but your house­hold water pres­sure de­ter­mines the ac­tual out­put. If you don’t have an out­door tap handy, most pres­sure wash­ers will work from an al­ter­na­tive water source, such as a water butt, but check first. What size should I go for? Size and weight are key fac­tors if you have to move the ma­chine around a lot and if you’re short on stor­age space. Also check the water hose and elec­tric­ity cord are long enough for your needs, and con­sider how com­fort­able the noz­zles and trig­ger are to hold. This will be a fac­tor over long pe­ri­ods. Do I need a turbo lance? A ro­tary jet lance that spins the water jet as it leaves the noz­zle is more ef­fec­tive at re­mov­ing stub­born dirt. Some lances also of­fer vari­able-pres­sure. How­ever, use these with care as very high pres­sure, and os­cil­lat­ing, ro­tat­ing or ‘turbo’ spray lances could dam­age pol­ished or fine sur­faces. What hap­pens to all the muck? When blast­ing dirt and de­bris from your pa­tio, there’s noth­ing worse than look­ing around and re­al­is­ing all you’ve done is spread it over the rest of the gar­den! A spe­cial­ist pa­tio clean­ing head to ‘con­tain’ the de­bris is very handy. These have a plas­tic cover over the noz­zle that helps to stop dirty water spray­ing ev­ery­where. This makes pa­tio clean­ing much quicker and eas­ier. They’re par­tic­u­larly use­ful for clean­ing block paving and some­times are in­cluded in the washer kit, or sold as a sep­a­rate ac­ces­sory.

GOOD CLEAN FUN The Spear & Jack­son Power Tools PW1800, £119.99 with 1800W mo­tor and 130 bar pres­sure (see over)

The Stihl RE 109 Pres­sure washer, £240 with 1700W mo­tor and 110 bar pres­sure

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.