Your backyard deck is exposed to a lot of weather elements and dirt over the course of its life.
As it ages, you might notice your deck getting dull and dingy from the dirt that it accumulates. When this happens, it could be time to break out the pressure washer.
Pressure washers are a valuable tool for anyone who wants to keep their outdoor features clean. It can save a lot of scrubbing and elbow grease and usually gives a sparkling end result.
Pressure Washing a Deck: Basic Idea
It may seem like pressure washing a deck is a simple enough job. However, there are some steps you need to be sure to take if you want it to be professional quality. These steps are:
- Scrub and prepare the surface
- Wash with the power washer
- Apply a renewer or brightener
- Sand the entire deck
Why Pressure Wash Your Deck?
When a piece of furniture or a structure sits outside for a long time, it accumulates dirt. This may seem obvious enough, but it gets dirty in a different way than something like a floor or counter.
Because a deck is exposed to the elements, it is susceptible to a wider variety of debris.
Dirt from the rain, tracked dirt, vegetation, and dust all land on the deck and sit for long periods. On top of this, you walk on your deck and this embeds the dirt into the pores and grain of the wood.
On top of the effectiveness, it is also much easier to use a pressure washer than to clean manually. Your shoulders will thank you for the break.
Clean the Surface
Before you begin, you are going to want to sweep and lightly scrub the deck with a broom and mop.
While this might seem counterproductive, it is actually very important.
Loose dirt can be pushed into the pores of the wood with the pressure washer. Because of this, you will want to remove it and make sure the deck is free from loose dirt and dust.
Once you have cleared and cleaned the deck surface, you are ready to start washing. Set the power washer between 500 and 600 PSI at first to be sure it won’t be too powerful.
Before you start blasting away at the deck, do a couple of test strokes. Keep the nozzle a few feet away from the deck and slowly inch it closer.
It is best to try and keep the nozzle at least 6 inches away to avoid damaging the wood.
Start close to the house and work your way outwards. Use long, smooth strokes and keep with the grain of each deck plank.
Apply a Brightener
After you have cleaned the entire deck, you can then apply a chemical brightener to finish it.
Apply the brightener with a brush or roller and then rinse it away with the pressure washer.
This will give the wood that “like new” color and vibrancy that you are looking for.
Sand the Deck
The combination of pressure washing and brightening solution will cause the wood to have a rough texture. Because of this, you will then want to sand down the deck and smooth it out.
Sand the entire surface and be sure to remove any rough pieces that have broken off. These are a guaranteed splinter waiting to happen.
Sanding will also help remove any remaining mold or mildew that the brightener and washer missed.
Sand until you are satisfied that every splinter and rough spot is removed. Then, you can give the deck a final rinse with the pressure washer.
- Is it better to paint or stain a deck?
In general, it is better to stain a deck than it is to paint it.
Paint will only sit on the surface of the wood, leaving it vulnerable to cracking and damage. Stain gets down into the pores and seeps into the wood itself for a longer-lasting finish.
- Can you power wash a pressure treated deck?
You can power wash a pressure treated deck. However, you should make sure that you do not use the higher power settings and always start low.
Pressure treated wood tends to be softer. This makes it more likely to be damaged by heavy-duty power washing.
- How often should you pressure wash a deck?
To ensure that your deck stays clean and mildew-free, pressure wash it once a year.
This routine will keep problems like deterioration and damage due to mold from occurring. On top of that, your deck will stay looking new for much longer.
By following the above steps, you can easily pressure wash your deck and keep it nice for years. Keeping up on regular cleaning is a great way to not only make it look nice, but protect it.
Regular upkeep is the best defense against damage from mold and other deterioration. Plus, it’s an easy and satisfying job to do.