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Is your wood deck a little dingy?

There are a dozen different brooms, brushes, and solutions at your local DIY center to help you.

Did you know some of them can do more damage than good?

How to pressure wash a deck is more than taking aim and blasting the dirt away. There are more than 30 million residential wood or wood-composite decks in the U.S. All decks have annual maintenance in common.

A thorough cleaning at least once a year makes a difference in the longevity and beauty of your deck. Although it looks easy and satisfying, a pressure wash needs a few precautions.

Read on to learn more.

Should You Pressure Wash Your Deck?

A pressure washer packs in 30 to 80 times the psi of your typical garden hose. If you are looking to speed up your deck maintenance this year, a pressure washer is a valuable tool.

With a deck in poor repair or damaged wood, a mishandled pressure washer can do some real damage. Start your project with a thorough inspection of the deck for insect damage, loose or decayed wood. Remove and cover any furniture or plants nearby.

Grab your safety goggles, long trousers, and closed shoes. When you start washing, the dirt is going to fly. And boy does it sting with you get hit.

How to Pressure Wash a Deck

If your deck is cedar, pine or other softwood, you want to choose the lowest pressure setting and the widest dispersion tip. Around 500 psi is about right. Harder woods or composites can tolerate more psi, but you may remove too much material at once that way.

Use a wide tip in a fan pattern or a rotating tip and move the spray pattern in a sweeping motion. Test your pressure and pattern out on a stair step or other small area that is easily replaced if you damage it.

Hold the tip above the deck more than a foot or so when you pull the trigger. Then lower the tip slowly at an angle to the wood to around 10-12 inches. Sweep slowly with the grain across the deck in small sections.

No Swirlies or Stripes

Avoid sudden moves. Try to keep your sweep consistent and straight with the grain. Watch out for overlaps and hotspots.

Work from the house outward. If you must start and stop, avoid straight lines. Stagger the boards where you stop so you can feather the wash lines in without leaving clear cleaning edges.

Follow up the cleaning with a water-based seal as recommended by your deck manufacturer.

Enjoy the Results

Explaining how to pressure wash a deck may take longer than actually getting the work done. The steps are simple.

  1. Prep your deck
  2. Wear your personal protective equipment
  3. Choose a low pressure and appropriate tip
  4. Use a smooth sweeping motion
  5. Seal and enjoy!

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How to Pressure Wash a Deck