Pressure-Washing a Deck
Get the expert knowledge you need for power washing a deck.
By: Sean McEvoy
Power washing a deck seems like a simple task. Just point and shoot, right? But the reality is that without the right equipment and knowledge, power washing your deck can potentially cause costly or even irreparable harm to the wood.
Choosing the right power washer and operating it at the correct pressure setting are the first keys to correctly power washing a deck. Power washers can be powerful enough to carve into brick or gentle enough to remove a few cobwebs.
For cleaning a wooden deck, you'll be best served by using the lowest pressure setting that's still effective. For soft woods like cedar or pine, this is usually about 500 to 600 psi. For harder woods, it can go up to 1200 to 1500 psi.
Choose the right tip to use as well. For wood cleaning, generally a fan tip or rotating tip (used carefully) will work best. Remember to always start the water pressure in a safe area pointing away from people and glass windows, and start at least two feet from the wood deck, then feather the pressure into range from about a foot to 18 inches from the deck. Never get closer than 12 inches from the deck unless you're using low pressure.
Remember to start in an area that would be easy to repair or replace. For example, try starting on a stair tread, which would be simpler to replace than an entire deck board. Once you're sure you've got the right pressure setting, work from the house outward and be sure to keep a consistent distance as you hold your arm steady and sweep, working with the grain of the wood. If the washing results in raised soft wood fibers, you will need to sand before staining your newly cleaned deck.
See also: Deck and Patio Design Ideas
Outdoor Furniture Options and Ideas
Discover new options and ideas in furniture for your outdoor space.
Decking Materials: Composite Decking
Get all the info you need about one of the most cost effective and low maintenance decking materials: composite decking.
Outdoor Patio Furniture Options and Ideas
Discover new options and ideas in furniture for your outdoor patio space.
Patio Materials and Surfaces
Learn about the different options for patio materials and surfaces.
Outdoor Fireplace Design Ideas
Learn about the different options for outdoor fireplace designs.
Hiring a Deck Builder
Get tips on hiring a deck builder, from researching local contractors to pre-planning for your deck project.
How to Plan for Building a Deck
Get ready for your deck project with these helpful tips on how to plan the building process.
Deck Cleaning: What You Should Know
Learn how to clean your deck the right way.
Decking Materials: Know Your Options
Learn about decking materials and the options available for your deck project
Learn how you can find deck plans—often for free—online or through various offline resources.
Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest trends and expert advice delivered to your inbox.
We're serving up the latest news, gorgeous style, crafty DIY projects, clever entertaining tips and more. Consider these your design digests.