How to Safely Power Wash Your Deck

Published On: October 26, 2022

It’s spring, which means it’s almost that time of year to lounge on the deck and BBQ with friends. Chances are, though, after a long and dreary winter where your deck has been covered in leaves or snow or simple neglect, it’s looking a little care worn. It may have been a season or two since your deck got some TLC. Thankfully, it’s easy to revive your deck with a good power washing; however, it’s also easy to destroy your deck with an uninformed power washing. Learn how to safely power wash your deck to get your outdoor space pristine for spring.

Why Your Deck Needs Power Washing

First, let’s quickly touch on one important aspect of this conversation: why your deck needs power washing. A well-maintained deck can last 30-plus years, very important when you consider the cost to build or to rebuild a deck.

Power washing removes mold, microbes, and mildew that invariably implant and grow in the ever expanding and contracting wood grains of your deck. A good power washing will remove these agents, which can lead to a more rapid deterioration of your deck’s appearance, safety, and structural integrity.

If you’ve not cleaned your deck for a while or if you purchased a home with an aging deck, don’t panic…power washing can work wonders in restoring your deck to a safe, former glory.

Step 1: Clear Off Your Deck

Just as when you refinish hardwood floors in your home, your space needs to be completely clear of objects and obstacles. You’ll need to move any furniture, plants, grills, etc. sitting on the deck before getting started. Take off hanging plants and iron railings as well. Remove hardware for these features as well.

Step 2: Prep Your Deck

Prep the deck for power washing by sweeping it off. Free it of debris and hammer in any loose nails or tighten any screws that have popped up.

Cover any electrical outlets or light fixtures that could be in range of getting sprayed as well.

Step 3: Pre-Treat the Deck Area

Every deck is different, but it’s generally a good idea to clean the deck off with deck cleaner before power washing. If it’s a warm day, you’ll want to wet the deck prior to applying the deck cleaner. Why? Dry wood absorbs the cleaner, which means that when you go to rinse it off…nothing will happen!

You can use any kind of cleaner; some you can apply with a brush and rinse with the hose. Others, such as the Briggs & Stratton multi-purpose cleaner, can be used in the power washer. A cleaner used in your pressure washer can help lift mold and mildew that’s really settled in.

Follow instructions on whatever pre-wash you use and rinse when it’s time (usually after about 10 minutes). Don’t let the cleanser dry on the deck.

Step 4: Power Wash the Deck

While you can pressure wash with water, you should pressure wash with an actual pressure washing solution that is intended for your type of decking. Here’s where it helps to know a few things.

  • Too much pressure can tear your deck up. Even the right amount of pressure can cause the wood to splinter or can damage it.
  • You should keep the pressure washer wand moving at all times.
  • Never exceed a pressure of 1200 PSI. Softer woods like cedar or pine should never have more than 500-600 PSI applied to them.
  • Use a fan tip (many prefer a 25-to-40-degree tip) to pressure wash the wood.
  • Go with the grain of the wood.
  • Keep the wand 6-8” from the surface of the wood. Any closer and your risk causing serious damage.

Step 5: Rinse the Deck

After the cleaning agent has sat for an appropriate period, rinse the deck. Your deck should be clean and ready for staining and sealing after it’s been power washed.

Note that there is a difference between power washing and pressure washing. Power washing involves using hot water, which is more effective at removing mold and mildew and related agents.

If you’re not sure whether pressure washing or power washing is best for your deck, what kind of wood you have or what you’re doing, call the experts.

Unless you own a power washer that’s got the right low intensity for decks (or is adjustable) and unless you’re experienced in using a power washer, you can end up spending more trying to DIY the project. Consider the time, effort, and resources it takes plus the risk of damaging your deck due to inexperience when deciding if you should power wash your own deck or hire someone to do it for you.

Regardless, you want a clean deck for summer. Eliminating mold and mildew and keeping your deck in working order is important for deck safety and integrity. You’ll get more out of your deck if you power wash it at least once per year.

It’s very rewarding to power wash your deck. Not only are you preserving your deck’s life span, but you’re also enhancing its presentation and safety. For a great Crossville cleaning company, contact us, Advanced Cleaning. We’ve got the time, equipment, and talent to pressure wash your deck this spring!

Advanced Cleaning Cookeville, Algood & the Upper Cumberland

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