Cleaning Decks With Power Washers

By Todd Fratzel on Decks & Porches, Maintanence

Pressure Washing Decks

Pressure Washing DecksCleaning decks with pressure washers is a very easy home improvement project that doesn’t take much skill. The best part is you don’t have to own an expensive power washer to do the job. Almost all rental centers carry pressure washers.

Today I rented a 3,100 psi gas powered pressure washer from the local lumber yard. I have a very large farmers porch and a good size deck that I needed to clean. The deck was especially dirty from two years worth of weather. It seems as though we get a nice dark almost black colored soot all over the deck each year and I wanted to power wash off so I can seal the decks again this summer.

Cambara Decking Cleaned with Pressure WasherMost pressure washers come with several different tips that chance the angle of the water spray. You can have a water jet that’s almost a single narrow stream or you can have a very wide spray profile. You want to try different tips on a piece of scrap material so that you don’t damage your deck. You can easily cut through wood with some of these pressure washers so it’s important to take your time. Typically one of the mid-range tips will work quite well for cleaning a deck.

Once you fire up the pressure washer, put on your safety glasses and hearing protection then it’s time to start cleaning. Power washers work best when you use a nice slow steady movement. Start with the tip a good distance from the surface you’re trying to clean and slowly move it closer until you get the desired effect. For my power washer the best results came from holding the tip about 4 inches from the deck surface.

Dewalt Pressure WasherAs you can see from the photos the pressure washer made a significant difference in the appearance of the deck. Previously I tried cleaning the deck with a garden hose and a standard nozzle. Obviously the power washer is the best way to get a deck clean. I’ll let the deck dry for a couple of weeks then apply a new coat of sealer. Stay tuned for a future post about sealing the decks.

Pressure Washers For Sale At Amazon:

Karcher 3,000 PSI 2.5 GPM Gas Pressure Washer G 3025 BHR
Blue Max 2,200 PSI 2.4 HP OHV Gas Powered Pressure Washer

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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  1. James says:

    I’ve tried to clean decks through numerous methods over the years. Hands down, pressure washing is the easiest. By the way, what is the best sealer that you would recommend on these older wooden decks? I’ve also recently heard more about these latex stains but never had any personal experience with them. Would love your feedback.

  2. Jason says:

    I dread having to clean and re-seal my deck each year, because the dog sleeps on it and all her hair gets between the deck boards, I’ve even tried a vacuum to get the hair out with much frustration. But I recently bought a pressure washer and it makes the job so easy jobs done in no time.

    I am not a fan of the acrylic latex sealers for exteriors as I have had it break down in full sun areas.

  3. Mark Ellis says:

    You make it sound too easy. I’ve seen plenty of people that have destroyed their decks with pressure washers They might be good for hardwood decks or composite decks, but on a redwood deck, they can easily carve out the soft portions of the grain. At this point, the only way to get a smooth deck again is to sand it down.

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