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DIY Tips for
Power Washing a Deck

Power washing a deck isn't as difficult as you might think. I know a lot of people hire someone to do the job, but I'd rather do it myself. So, if your deck is dirty, or needs to be sealed, you can follow my pro tips to power wash your own deck like a pro. And save yourself some dough!   

power washing a deck

Power Washing 
Before Sealing 

Yes, you'll need to power wash your wood deck before you apply sealer. Please take my advice and don't try to wash & seal in the same day! You should wait at least 24 hours, after pressure washing, before you apply sealer -- as long as the is weather warm and dry. And remember, don't apply sealer unless the temperature is 50 degrees or above. 

Prep First

For power washing a deck, you can use an electric or a gas pressure washer. You might find that you have to work somewhat slower with an electric unit (like a Karcher) than you would with a gas unit. But you can get excellent, pro results if you follow these tips:

Before you start power washing a deck, you need to get all of your furniture and accessories off your deck surface. Put your grill, chairs, tables, etc. on your grass, driveway or someplace out of the way. Nothing slows down deck pressure washing faster than having to move objects every few feet, as you clean.

Next, make sure all of your electrical outlets, jacks and unmovable fixtures are completely sealed from water. Also, just to be careful, I always like to cover any nearby shrubs to make sure they don't get accidentally damaged.

Power Washing a Deck Like a Pro

Keep in mind that wood and laminates can be easily damaged by using too much water pressure - or putting the nozzle too close to the deck surface. Different materials, including different types of wood, have different hardness factors. And if you use too much pressure or put the nozzle too close to the surface, it can splinter, fray or "fur". And you don't want that to happen!

So, I highly recommend starting with the white nozzle. Change from your white nozzle to a more powerful nozzle (green, yellow or red) only IF you need to. (If your electric pressure washer has an adjustable wand tip, not inter-changeable nozzles, turn the tip so that the water will come out in a wide stream pattern - not a pinpoint. You can adjust the wand tip to a tighter, more powerful flow only IF you need it.)

Always begin power washing by holding the end of your spray wand at least 3 to 4 feet away from your dirty deck surface. As you see the results, while you wash, you can move the end of your spray wand closer - if you need to.

Here's a good, general guideline for cleaning decks:

If your pressure washer's PSI rating is 2,000 to 3,000 PSI, don't put your nozzle closer than 12" to 24" from the deck surface!

If you pressure washer's PSI rating is 3,000+ PSI, don't put your nozzle closer than 18" to 36" from the deck surface!

Personally, I think its a very good idea to start power washing a deck in an inconspicuous corner! A steady back-and-forth motion gives the best results. A little bit a practice gives a perfect finish!


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