Pressure Washing a Deck – The Do’s and Don’ts

pressure washing the deck

Weather, especially winter weather, can take a real toll on your patio deck. The combination of ice, snow, rain and changing temperatures can take away some of its original lusters. This may have you wondering, “Should I pressure wash my deck?”. “Will pressure washing restore its original look?”

Maintaining your patio deck to keep it looking good may seem like a relatively simple task, but there is a little more to it than you might think. Knowing how to properly clean your deck will not only improve the overall appearance, it will also help it last longer too! This means you can get more hours of enjoyment out of it.

The Proper Way to Pressure Wash a Deck

One of the best ways to clean your deck and restore its original beauty is by pressure washing. Although using a power washer is not complicated, using one effectively to clean your deck does require some skill and safety precautions.

Getting Started

Depending on the type of machine you are using (gas or electric) make sure both the water supply and electricity (if electric), are securely fastened. It’s also important to make sure you have water flowing to the machine before you start it up.

Applying Pressure

Some pressure washers can produce up to 4,000 pounds of pressure per square inch (PSI). Although highly effective for cleaning concrete, applying this much pressure to your deck can cause irreversible damage. To clean a deck effectively, about 1,500 pounds of pressure will do the job nicely, without causing permanent damage.

Safety Measures

It’s also important to maintain a certain distance from the surface you’re cleaning. Too close and you could etch into your deck, not close enough will result in a less than a thorough cleaning. Depending on the amount of pressure (PSI) being applied, most manufacturers recommend a distance of about 3-6 inches away from the surface you are washing.

When it comes to your personal safety, protective eyewear is a must. Regardless of how careful you are, using highly pressurized water to clean a surface can result in blowback as dirt and debris are loosened by the force of the water. It’s also best to wear some type of waterproof, non-slip footwear. This will not only protect your feet, it should also help minimize the risk of slipping on the wet surface as you clean.

Should I Pressure Wash My Deck Before Staining?

Yes, pressure washing your deck before applying a new stain is a good idea. This will provide a much cleaner surface to work with, which should prolong the life of the stain. Clearing away the old finish, grime, mold, mildew, and other impurities in the wood—as well as the graying layer of the wood that was exposed to the sun—will allow the stain to absorb evenly into the wood.

After you power wash, allow the wood to dry for at least 48 hours before you begin applying the new stain. This will allow the wood to dry completely and ensure the water doesn’t affect the even application of your stain. If your deck or porch doesn’t get much sun, you may want to extend the drying time by an extra day.

Should I Pressure Wash My Deck in the First Place?

Pressure washing your deck on a regular basis can improve the overall appearance. Over time, exposure to the sun grays the wood on your deck and an occasional power wash can brighten the boards back up, as well as clean off any accumulated grime, mold, or mildew. Because pressurized cleaning can effectively remove the mold before it sets into the wood, it also protects your boards from needing to be replaced as often. Cleaning once or twice a year can keep your deck in prime condition.

Pressure washing also increases the longevity of your deck stain and protects the wood from mold. More than brightening the look of your deck or porch, regular maintenance can reduce the need for replacing boards and allow you to enjoy your space longer with fewer repairs. As mentioned, using a pressure washer is not complicated, but it is a powerful piece of equipment that requires some expertise to use effectively and safely

Schedule Regular Cleaning

Your patio deck is just one area of your home that can benefit from a regular pressure washing schedule. Other areas like your roof and walkways can also benefit from regular cleaning. If you find it hard to maintain in all or would prefer to have a professional do the job, your local Window Genie can help. We have over 20 years of experience helping homeowners keep their decks and other areas of their homes looking good. To set up an appointment, call 877 243-8624 today or request a quote online.

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