Tips For Pressure Washing Decks

The importance of pressure washing your deck carefully so that you don't destroy the wood deck boards.

There is nothing like a good pressure washing of your deck and railings to quickly and effortlessly clean it.

But before washing be sure to give your deck a good sweep with a stiff broom to remove all surface dirt.

Pressure Washing Tips

A proper pressure washer for cleaning decks should provide at least 2000 psi but perferably 2400 to 2500 psi.

Otherwise you'll spend much more time trying to remove the grime and dirt than required.

Man power washing a deck

Be careful not to damage the deck boards, as water under pressure can be very destructive.  That said, no matter what you do some of the wood fibers will get a bit fuzzy and raise up a bit due to the force of the water.  

You can minimize this by keeping the wand between 6" and 9" from the deck surface in a flattened pendulum motion.

  • For a good cleaning use a 15-degree tip.
  • If you just want to remove light surface dirt, the 25-degree tip is best. Anything wider would be like using a garden hose under thumb pressure.
  • Follow this routine and your deck will be clean and protected from extreme water pressure.  Other aspects to properly cleaning a deck surface that completes the deck maintenance process are explained more thoroughly in this deck finishing article.

But for now, this is what you need to know about properly pressure washing decks.

Deck Cleaners

Wood cleaning product for decks

Now that you have removed the easiest dirt...

Apply a cleaning product to the decking boards by either spraying it on or using a roller.

A good deck cleaner will remove oxidation and dissolve "hard to remove" dirt. It also kills mold and bacteria which is great if you live in a wet climate.

Here are two good cleaning products as an example. The first is called Deckwash made by Sherwin-Williams.

Wood washing product

The other is called Simple Wash by

 Apply the cleaner and allow it to soak in for a few minutes. Then give it a light pressure wash. Don't go crazy on the pressure washing and follow the techniques mentioned above. There is no need to remove a layer of wood!

While you are spraying, don't forget to go underneath and give the bottom of the deck a nice spray as well.

Apply a Brightener to the Deck

Wood brightening product for wood deck surfaces

You do not have to do this... but applying a deck brightener really revives the look of the wood.

And since you are doing a full maintenance regime, in my opinion, it is well worth your effort to consider this extra step.

Use an inexpensive garden sprayer to apply the brightening agent and let it sit on the deck surface for 20 minutes before gently spraying it off with the pressure washer.

 Remember: Don't use a wood brightener unless you have used a stain and sealer remover first!

Sherwin-Williams has a good wood brightening product called Revive

A Clean Beautiful Deck Awaits You

Safely pressure washing decks is easy if you follow the above precautions.

Combine a good annual washing with a cleaner and a brightener and you will have a long lasting deck. It will be sparkling clean and look practically brand new.

You are finished the deck cleaning aspect of your maintenance program. The only thing left to do is to apply the finish and then you can start to enjoy your backyard for another great season.

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