When it’s time to clean your wood deck in preparation for refinishing, a chemical deck brightener applied by hand-scrubbing may not do the job of deep cleaning, but a pressure washer will.
Steps To Pressure Washing Your Wood Deck
1. Choose a Tip and Pressure Setting
Select the suitable pressure setting and spray tip for your cleaning project—
- Apply the least possible pressure that is still capable of properly cleaning your surface. Pressure for softwood (such as pine or cedar) should be around 500 to 600 lbs per square inch (psi). On the other hand, harder woods may withstand more pressure, but you should avoid going higher than 1,200 psi.
- Utilize a fan tip with a 40- to 60-degree spread. A rotating tip is also applicable if you use it cautiously.
2. Test the Pressure Washer Settings
Handling a pressure washer requires a little practice. Test your machine’s pressure and effectiveness in an unnoticeable area, such as a stair tread.
Begin with a pressure of 500 to 600 psi. Raise the pressure steadily until you find the appropriate setting for proper cleaning.
3. Power Wash the Deck
Engage the trigger while maintaining the wand tip a few feet away from the deck, then lower it as needed. Try not to get closer than 6 inches or you could damage the wood.
Wash the deck with a full and wide motion, and avoid pivoting with your arm, which will cause an inconsistent distance between the spray tip and the deck surface.
Wash the deck boards from your house outward. Work with its natural grain by feathering the spray lengthwise, parallel to the deck boards, and overlapping each area slightly. The goal is to achieve even cleaning with no “hot spots” or visible cleaning edges.