How to Pressure Wash a Wood Deck

Nothing can add more value to your home than a beautiful outside deck, as this will form an extension of your home’s living area. With time, however, your wooden deck will begin to show age from the weather and tracked on dirt, and require maintenance to bring it back to its original beauty. This is when cleaning with a good pressure washer can have a amazing effect, and doing so on a regular basis, will preserve the beauty of your deck for years to come. Whether you just want to remove dirt or other debris, or prepare the deck for a new finish, your pressure washer is the perfect tool for the job.

The first thing you want to do is to remove all furniture items from the deck, so that you can work on the entire area unobstructed. Then attach the 25° nozzle to your pressure washer and go ahead and spray away any loose leaves and dirt. Next up, you need to apply a detergent for the best and quickest cleaning results. To do this, attach the detergent nozzle to your washer and fill the detergent tank with an environmentally friendly deck and patio cleaner. Apply the detergent to the surface and allow it to soak for three to five minutes. The detergent will break down any oils and surface film for more effective cleaning. It’s important that you do not allow the detergent to dry. Particularly, if you’re working in full sun, keep wetting the surface so that the detergent will have time to do its job. Bleach is never recommended for any wood surface. It will cause the wood to lose color and to bloat, plus the bloating will stop sealers from penetrating the wood. Also be careful not to go above 1500 to 2000 psi, as too much pressure can cause splinters or leave actual gouges in your deck. Be especially cautious around any corners, so as not to damage the wood. Once that is done, you want to re-attach the 25° nozzle, and ensure your pressure washer is switched out of detergent mode. Start at one end and continue cleaning, using a side-to- side sweeping motion. Make sure to keep the nozzle moving constantly and at a consistent distance from the surface to prevent uneven cleaning.

As a tip, if you want professional results, you might want to check out a specialized surface cleaner. These are available as an accessory to most pressure washer makes and models. Once you’ve completed cleaning the deck, go ahead and give it a final rinse with the 25° nozzle. This will flush away any remaining detergent or dirt. Now that the hard work is out of the way, you can sit back and allow the deck to dry for 24 to 48 hours before staining or sealing. And remember, as with all pressure washer cleaning projects, be sure to test a small less obvious spot, before cleaning the entire area.