7 Tips for Pressure Washing a Wood Deck

Feet with an iced coffee on wood

Having the nicest patio on the block doesn’t come easily. If your outdoor gathering area is built from wood, instead of standard turf or concrete, there are a few things to consider. If you’re finding that a regular old garden hose isn’t cutting it, pressure washing your wood deck is a great way to both give it a more thorough cleaning and save a bundle on your water bill.

Pressure washers are still a relatively uncommon household appliance, and many of you may not be sure how they’ll work on your patio. If you want to get your deck clean with fast, effective pressure washing but aren’t sure where to start, we’ve got the perfect guide for you. Read on to learn seven great tips for pressure washing a wood deck.

1. Check the Pressure

Pressure washing is a powerful and effective cleaning method, but you don’t want to go overboard and ruin your deck’s veneer. Having your patio pressure washer on a setting of 500 to 600 PSI (short for Pounds per Square Inch) should do the trick for most types of wood.

2. Pick the Right Nozzle

Like we discussed when it comes to washing your car, you shouldn’t use too narrow of a nozzle. This will concentrate the water into a burst so intense it could potentially ruin your wood! A nozzle with a fan-tip of 40-60 degrees of spread should be sufficient for pressure washing wood.

3. Keep Your Distance

There are a few common-sense safety precautions you should implement when you begin your project. First, start your spray a couple of feet away from the deck. Then, lower the spray to about a foot once you’re comfortable with the amount of pressure emanating from the nozzle. Finally, double-check the amount of pressure you’re using before you start washing. You don’t want to get hit with any blowback!

4. Be Light, But Thorough

Don’t blast the water at your deck like you’re trying to strip away paint; instead, move your arm laterally, and make sure you cross every spot from different angles. This will ensure that your deck gets the thorough cleaning it needs without ruining the surface or finish of the wood.

Wood chairs on wood deck in the country

5. Using Chemical Stripper

For messier spaces, or when your wood deck has been more badly damaged due to Mother Nature, you can use a chemical stripper or bleach. This will remove any present bacteria, and add a brighter sheen to your wood. Make sure you’re using a pressure washer that is designed to work with chemical supplements, and take any plants off the deck before you clean it this way (as most chemical strippers are toxic to flora).

6. Sand Your Deck

Once you’re done with pressure washing your wood deck, sanding it is the best way to smooth down some of the rough fibers that may have been raised during the cleaning and to give your space a dapper, uniform look. Make sure you use sandpaper that isn’t particularly fine and invest in a good orbital sander to make sure your deck is getting the coverage it needs.

7. Clean as Needed

Now that you’re an expert when it comes to pressure washing your wood deck, you should undertake this project about every two to three years to make sure your deck is consistently clean and in good condition. This will make your cocktail hours that much nicer, and it’ll be a boon to the resale value on your home as well!

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