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Power Washing Decks 101

Power washing decks is a great project for homeowners - and with the right advice you can get pro results - without paying for an outside contractor. So follow my expert tips to get the job done right!

Power Washing Decks
Before Sealing?

If you're thinking about sealing your deck, I really advise you to power wash before you put down any sealer. Never apply a stain or sealer to a dirty deck surface. And please, please don't try to power wash and apply sealer on the same day. Trust me, you'll end up with a huge mess and/or wood damage.

power washing decks

You really need to wait 24 to 48 hours, after power washing your deck, before applying sealer - if the weather is warm and dry.

And as you probably already know, you should never apply sealer unless the temperature is above 50F degrees. And I always advise homeowners to apply sealer only if there's no wind.

Power Washing Decks
 Like a Pro

After you've moved everything off your deck, you'll want to get your pressure washer & water hose hooked up.

Before you turn your power washer on, remember that any wood or laminate can easily be damaged by using too much water pressure - or by moving the power washer nozzle too close to the surface. If that happens, your wood or laminate can "fur", splinter or fray. Not good.

So, to make sure you don't fur or splinter your deck surface, begin pressure washing using the white colored nozzle. Try the white nozzle out for a few passes & check out the cleaning results.

Only change to a more aggressive nozzle (green, yellow or red)  IF you need to.

OR if you're using an electric pressure washer that has an adjustable wand tip, start by turning the tip so that the water comes out in a wide stream pattern. Work with the wide stream pattern for a few minutes to gauge the cleaning effect. Only adjust the wand tip to a more powerful & tighter flow if you need to.

How close should the nozzle or spray wand get to the deck? Always begin power washing by holding it 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 some good advice 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!

And take my advice, its a very good idea to start power washing decks in an inconspicuous corner! As you work, remember that a steady back-and-forth motion will give you the very best pro results. A little bit a practice will give you a perfect finish!


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Pressure Washer Reviews

Thinking about getting a new pressure washer? Before you buy, get my pro review of the best pressure washers on the market! My expert reviews will save you time & money. Just click on one of my photos, below, to get the information you need:

If you'd like more pressure washing tips, check out this great article at You'll learn the best tips to clean like a pro.

And to read a great review of Ex Cell pressure washers, check out the Ex Cell Washer 101 page.

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