A well-maintained deck can provide a great outdoor space for relaxation and entertainment. Over time, however, decks can become dirty and discolored due to a buildup of dirt, grime, algae, and other residues. Regular cleaning with a pressure washer can help keep your deck looking its best. Here’s an all-inclusive guide on pressure-washing a deck, including top tips and considerations to help you choose the right pressure washer.
Understanding the Importance of Pressure Washing Your Deck
Pressure washing your deck does more than improve its appearance. It also helps to protect the wood from damage caused by the buildup of mold, mildew, and algae, which can cause the wood to become slippery and unsafe. Plus, regular cleaning can prolong the life of your deck stain or sealant, saving you money on refinishing costs.
Choosing the Right Pressure Washer
Selecting the right pressure washer can make all the difference in effectively cleaning your deck. Here are some options to consider:
- Best Electric Pressure Washer: Electric pressure washers are great for light-duty jobs, like cleaning decks and patio furniture. They’re quiet, easy to handle, and require less maintenance than gas models.
- Best Gas Pressure Washer: A gas pressure washer can provide the extra power you need if you’re dealing with a large deck or heavy buildup. However, they can be overkill for smaller, less dirty decks and may potentially cause damage if not used properly.
Step-By-Step Guide to Pressure Washing Your Deck
Now that we’ve covered the importance of pressure washing and how to choose the right pressure washer, let’s go through a step-by-step guide on how to pressure wash your deck:
- Prepare Your Deck: Remove all furniture and other items from your deck. Sweep away loose debris, and inspect the deck for damaged or loose boards.
- Choose the Right Nozzle: Use a wide spray nozzle to avoid damaging the wood. The pressure washer nozzles guide can help you select the right one.
- Apply a Deck Cleaner: A pressure washer-safe deck cleaner to help lift stubborn grime. Our pressure washer soap guide can help you find a suitable product.
- Start Pressure Washing: Start at one end of the deck and work across, holding the nozzle about 2 feet away from the deck surface and spraying toward the wood grain.
- Rinse and Dry: Once you’ve pressure washed the entire deck, rinse off the cleaner and let the deck dry thoroughly. This usually takes at least 24 hours.
- Inspect and Refinish: After your deck is dry, inspect it for any remaining stains or signs of damage. Depending on the condition of your deck, you may need to re-stain or seal it to protect the wood and prolong its lifespan.
Essential Tips for Pressure Washing Your Deck
To get the best results and protect your deck from damage, keep these tips in mind:
- Don’t Use Too Much Pressure: More pressure isn’t always better. Too much pressure can damage the wood, especially if it’s softwood. Start with lower pressure and gradually increase if needed.
- Keep a Consistent Distance: When pressure washing, keep the nozzle the same distance from the deck. This helps to avoid streaks and uneven cleaning.
- Work in Sections: Working in sections can help ensure you thoroughly clean the entire deck and that the cleaning solution doesn’t dry out before you can rinse it off.
- Take Care Around Plants: If plants are around your deck, be careful not to damage them with the pressure washer. You might want to cover them with plastic before you start cleaning.
Winterizing Your Pressure Washer
Remember to winterize your pressure washer if you’re not planning on using it for a while, especially during the colder months. Winterizing helps to prevent damage to the pump from freezing temperatures.
Pressure washing your deck can greatly improve its appearance and extend its life. With the right pressure washer and these tips in hand, you can effectively clean your deck like a pro. Check out our other guides on the best pressure washers and how to use them for various applications. Happy pressure washing!