Many people think pressure washing a deck is straightforward. You simply attach the pressure washer to a water supply, fill up the soap container, and blast away. However, pressure washing can go very wrong if you don’t know what you’re doing.
If you aim too close to the wood, you can cause permanent damage. If you don’t get close enough, you won’t remove the grime and will have to do it all over again. The task takes a certain level of knowledge and finesse.
Here, you can learn how to pressure wash a deck the right way, so you can keep your deck looking pristine for longer.
Identify When Your Deck Needs a Pressure Wash
Before you consider power washing a deck, you should decide if it’s necessary. Pressure washers are powerful, and you should only need to use one every few years for your deck. Unless you see serious grime, you can make do by applying some cleaning solution and washing it away with a hose.
That said, if you live in an area that experiences heavy winters or other types of inclement weather, you may need to power wash more often. Keep an eye out for mold buildup and staining from dirt. If it gets to a point where it’s not coming loose easily, it’s time for a power wash.
You should also learn how to pressure wash a deck before staining it. Your deck may not have grime on it, but the color of the stain may wear away. While you can apply a new layer of the stain without power washing, a pressure wash can help prepare the wood to absorb the stain.
It will last longer afterward, and you won’t have to worry about dirt getting stuck under the stain.
Prepare the Deck for Washing
Now that you’ve identified it’s time to power wash your deck, you should take some safety precautions. You may think you can turn on the pressure washer and start washing right away but deck power washing is dangerous. You shouldn’t underestimate the pressure at which the water shoots out.
With this in mind, you should put on some heavy rainboots or other footwear that will protect your feet. You should also wear safety goggles and gloves to protect against any loose debris that may come at your face while spraying. You should also wear pants to protect your legs for the same reasons.
Never point the pressure washer at someone else, and don’t operate it from a ladder. You should treat it as a serious power tool because it is one.
Next, you should prepare your deck by removing any and all objects from the area. Doing so will make it easier to maintain fluid motions and clean in an even layer. You should also cover any objects that can’t be moved, close the windows, and sand down any splinters.
Study How to Pressure Wash a Deck and Begin the Process
Now, you should take the time to scrub the wood before pressure washing, especially if you see grime. Most pressure washers come with a soap dispenser mode, so fill it up with a cleaner that will work for your wood. Switch to soap-only mode, and begin to cover any areas with grime.
Then, you should use a synthetic scrubbing brush to massage the sprayed areas. This step will loosen the grime, making it easier to blast away stains during the washing phase. Make sure you pay particular attention to hard-to-reach areas, like corners.
Now, you can begin the power wash. Switch to a wide nozzle and keep about a 2-foot distance from the wood while using the washer. This may seem far, but if you go too close to the wood, you may strip it.
While using the pressure washer, you should go from one side of the deck to the other for every plank. Use a sweeping motion as you go to ensure you’re cleaning off all the soap and gunk underneath. The sweeping motion will also help you cover each area with even pressure.
If you have a large deck, you may need to split the wash into sections, because you don’t want the soap to dry. Take it slow, and be methodical about your approach. If you need help, look up some videos online and study them prior to washing a deck on your own.
You may need to adjust the distance from which you’re spraying, depending on the strength of the pressure. You should never get closer than six inches to the wood, though. Try to stay consistent with the distance throughout the process, as well.
Maintain the Deck for Longevity
Once you’re done washing the deck, let it dry for 24 hours. It may look good while wet, but you’ll see the actual results after it’s had time to dry all the way. Inspect the deck and take stock of how it looks.
If you’ve done everything correctly, you should see a uniform pattern from the power washing. If you spot any residue or areas where the wash clashes with the grain of the wood, you may want to go over the spots with the pressure washer again. Taking your time is key to power washing a deck successfully.
Now that the wood has been cleaned and stripped of grime, you can sand it and apply your stain of choice. Power washing a deck before staining will allow the wood to absorb the stain better and deeper. After that, you can begin enjoying your deck, but you should inspect it about every year.
Look for damage or mold buildup during your annual inspection. It’s best to do this after winter, so you can reapply stain in the spring and get it looking good for the summer months. With regular care and maintenance, your deck will last for a long time.
Keep your gutters clean to prevent them from draining on your deck. Clogged gutters can cause a lot of damage to your newly stained deck, especially in the winter.
Turn to Professionals You Trust
With this short guide on how to pressure wash a deck, you can tackle the process with the information you need to know. Deck power washing isn’t easy, though, and you may want to turn to a professional cleaning service to tackle the job. An experienced team will understand how to quickly clean your deck and leave it in pristine shape.
Partnering with a professional cleaning service will save you time and effort. If you need help, you can learn more about our pressure washing services here. Our team can give your deck the attention it deserves.