Ahhh, spring is in the air and everything looks nice and fresh outside except for your wood deck. In most cases with routine maintenance and a little elbow grease, you will never need to pressure wash your deck. Granted, pressure washing your deck maybe the fastest way to clean it, but it can also do the most damage if you are not careful. In some cases though, your only option is to pressure wash it, so let us take a look at the basic steps required.
Before you start
- Remove everything located not only on the deck, also from around it like the furniture, potted plants, wind chimes, etc…
- Cover any plants near the deck to protect them from the overspray & any chemicals you may use.
- Gather all the tools, safety equipment and materials that you will need. Take time to read the directions for the pressure washer.
- Removing any large debris by hand and sweep the deck off
- Spray the deck down with a garden house, paying particular attention to the area’s between the deck boards (This is not an area to clean out with the pressure washer)
Setup & Use
- Select the appropriate tip
- White Tip (40 Degree) Widest Fan, Least Aggressive, the best one to start with
- Green Tip (25 Degree) Wide Fan, Somewhat Aggressive, depending on distance from the spray tip to the deck – this is one of the best ones to use when you can handle the sprayer properly
- Yellow Tip (15 Degree) Narrow Fan, Very Aggressive, be very careful using this one
- Red Tip (0 Degree) Almost No Fan, Most Aggressive, if this is on your wand you are wrong
- Follow the manufacturer’s directions to start the pressure washer after putting on appropriate safety gear like safety glasses & hearing protection.
- Do not point the pressure washer at anything except the area’s to be cleaned.
- Test an inconspicuous area first to make sure everything is setup properly, and you are not damaging the decking.
- Cleaning Chemicals / removing mildew or other stains
- While bleach is a great for removing mildew, it should not be sprayed through the pressure washer, it can damage the seals
- You should use a commercial cleaner specifically designed for pressure washers if you wish to utilize the pressure washer to apply them.
- One of the best methods involves using a little elbow grease – turn your pressure washer off, use a still brush & your favorite cleaning compound to scrub the area’s that did not come clean with the pressure washer
- Once you are done utilizing any cleansing agents, make sure you rinse the deck off completely.
A few other tips & reminders
If you are not very experienced with a pressure washer, make sure you use the White 40 degree tip. You want to use a smooth steady motion over the entire length of the boards. You want to keep the wand perpendicular with the boards the entire length of the board and keep it at a nice even speed. You do not want to start and stop in the middle of the board or you will leave lines that will look bad. Two other quick reminders; do not point the nozzle at anything you do not want to spray (even with the machine off); the pressure built up can easily take an eye out or cause major damage. Do not leave the machine running for more than a minute without using the wand; you can damage the pump &/or motor.
As always, please stay safe; if you feel uncomfortable, do not understand how to complete a task, etc… please call in a professional.