Balconies are continuously exposed to grime and dirt and may become the dumping grounds for household junk and unused items. It may be so dirty that you just want to hose it down for a thorough cleaning. However, you need to consider whether you can actually hose your balcony.
You can only hose your balcony if it doesn’t inconvenience your neighbors with run-off water and complies with the building rules that prohibit the dumping of debris from the balcony. You also need to consider your safety when cleaning on a water-filled surface.
Use this detailed guide to figure out whether you can hose your balcony.
Is There Run-Off Water Down to Your Neighbors?
To homeowners and tenants, using a power washer or hose to clean the balcony may seem like a great idea. It’s easy, convenient, and cleans thoroughly.
However, as much as it’s a good way of getting rid of grime, your neighbors might not appreciate having water cascading over from the sides of your balcony into theirs. And, you may have to abide by specific restrictions by the building management on how to clean the balcony.
You may even face specific fines if your cleaning activities inconvenience your neighbors. This is particularly so if a powerful hose pushes off the debris onto your neighbor’s balcony right below yours.
Will It Ruin Your Concrete Floor?
Cement manufacturers generally caution against using power washers. That’s because water exiting the hose nozzle at high pressure may create voids and flakes on the balcony’s concrete surface.
Even a less pressurized hose can cause a bit of damage to your concrete balcony floor.
Therefore, advantageous as it may seem, hosing your balcony can eventually erode the cement surface.
Do You Need to Clean the Balcony Thoroughly?
Considering the potential for damage that a powerful water hose has, it may be wise to evaluate whether you actually need to use it.
Perhaps, the dirt you’re dealing with is only minimal, and you only need to sweep the floor. If sweeping doesn’t do the trick, you can accelerate it to a wet mop.
If you clean the balcony regularly, you might never need vigorous cleaning with a hose.
However, your precious balcony could also get a serious case of bird droppings. It may be hard to remove any other way other than a vigorous hosing down. But you can still limit it to the specific hard-to-clean areas, so you don’t have to hose the entire balcony.
If you intend to use a water hose on your balcony, first evaluate the potential safety risks involved.
Could a powerful water hose push off an object from the balcony and cause harm to someone below?
Your safety is also an important consideration when cleaning. Since there’ll probably be lots of water on the floor, you must ensure that you’re not at risk of slipping and sliding.
Also, make sure that you don’t have a pet around when you’re washing, which can pose a potential risk.
As you clean the balcony, at every step, keep safety at the center of everything. Ensure you are using the right tools. This is particularly critical if you’re cleaning a balcony on a high floor.
If you can’t ensure the highest safety standards when hosing your balcony, it may be wise to consider another cleaning method.
Do You Have a Concrete, Wooden, or Tile Floor?
The type of material used to build your balcony will greatly influence the cleaning method you use.
Even if you have a strong concrete floor, hosing it down may still not work for you, since it may ruin the delicate surface layer.
Maybe you have a tile floor that’s best cleaned with a wet mop rather than a powerful stream of water.
If you have a wooden floor, it likely has a sealer which you need to preserve, so it remains weather-resistant. Using a powerful hose on it regularly would then be counterproductive.
Will You Use Excessive Pressure or the Wrong Nozzle?
If you opt to use a pressure washer, you’ll first have to know how to use it properly.
You may cause unnecessary harm on your balcony floor and walls if you:
- use excessive pressure
- use the wrong nozzle
- spray too close to the surface
- hold the nozzle on one spot for too long
Therefore, you must first thoroughly read and understand the instructions that come with your cleaning equipment.
Do You Have All Cleaning Tools?
To do a good job, you need to use the right balcony cleaning tools and supplies.
When hosing your balcony, you need everything at hand during the job. That will not only save time when cleaning but also avoid hazardous situations. You certainly don’t want to start looking for a mop when the water is pouring on your floor.
If you need to use a pressure washer, you may have to consider hiring it instead of buying it. Buying it might be costly for a one-off job.
Most importantly, if you don’t have the right cleaning tools, you’ll just end up doing a shoddy cleaning job. That will then require more frequent cleaning that will waste more time and do more harm to your balcony.
Can You Remove Everything From the Balcony Floor?
Hosing your balcony would be much easier and less cumbersome when it is clutter-free.
If too much space on the balcony is covered by hard-to-move items, you would probably need to use another cleaning method like mopping instead of hosing. The mop would access low spaces underneath furniture that you can’t conveniently clean with a hose.
In some cases, you may have to combine different cleaning methods, like sweeping, dusting, washing, hosing, and vacuuming.
What to Do When Hosing the Balcony
Yes, you may hose your balcony if you can control the flow of water from your hose pipe. Remember, the water may cascade down to those living below your flat or apartment.
Check with your local authorities by-laws. In some places, there are specific types of cleaning methods and products that can and cannot be used.
If you are living on a higher apartment floor, the neighbors downstairs will thank you for not using a power washer or hose to clean your balcony. If you decide to hose anyway, be careful about the amount of water used so that it doesn’t cascade over.
Make sure that you are not spraying the water in a direction that will spill directly over the balcony.
Most importantly, it’s courteous to inform your neighbors below of your intention to hose or wash your balcony. If it’s a one-time activity, rather than a daily occurrence, they may have no issue with it.
If there’s no other balcony below you, you may have no problem with the neighbors.
How to Pressure Wash Your Balcony
If using a pressure washer for cleaning, you need to do it right, so you don’t harm your balcony or inconvenience your neighbors.
An important consideration is the pressure washer nozzle. You need to use the right size nozzle for your particular balcony surface.
Most concrete surfaces will be fine with a 25-degree nozzle. This can be used to both spray and rinse the surface. If you encounter grease stains, you can change to a finer nozzle.
Only use a 15-degree nozzle on tough material like iron. And never use a 0-degree nozzle, which is a safety risk.
It’s always safer to use the broadest size nozzle first if you’re not sure which one to use. You can then make your way down to the size that’s most effective.
If you are to keep your balcony neat, it needs a regular cleaning regime. In some cases, that may require hosing, or it may just need sweeping, dusting, washing, or vacuuming regularly.
Of course, the easiest way of keeping your balcony looking great throughout is simply by trying to prevent dirt from accumulating in the first place. This means not using it as a dumping ground or even enclosing it.