Cleaning decking can be a very satisfying and rewarding task, especially when you have a particularly tired-looking deck.
Decking can attract moss and mold due to the materials used when constructing your deck, a pressure washer is an ideal tool to quickly get your deck looking like new again.
What size pressure washer do I need to clean a deck?
To clean your deck you need to use a pressure of between 1300-2300 pressure per square inch (PSI), any more than this can cause damage to the deck, paint, laquear, and staining.
Pressure washing a deck does come with the risks of damaging or splintering the wood.
In this post, we’ll be talking about these risks, how they can be reduced when following certain guidelines, and how you can clean a deck without a pressure washer.
Before you know it, you’ll be using your pressure washer to clean your house and everything around it.
If you’re looking to pick up a pressure washer for your deck we wrote a post on some great inexpensive pressure washers, here’s the short version of what we recommend:
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Step by step guide on how to clean a deck
Here are some easy to follow tips to make sure you get more done with less work while pressure washing your deck. Some of these tips also apply to pressure washing concrete.
The first thing you need to do is prepare the area for cleaning, use a hard stiff-bristled brush to brush off the deck making sure you have removed any loose grit, wood, and dust.
Pressure washing can propel loose items at significant speeds, causing damage to property or injury.
Once the area is fully prepped you should then make sure you have the correct PPE to take on the task, also make sure to alert people in the area that you are going to be power washing.
Next, using the fan setting on your pressure washer, spray the deck making sure to cover the desired area.
This is an important part if you have decided to use a disinfectant or detergent within your mixture.
Doing this allows the mixture to soak into the dirt and grime.
Use correct PSI
If your pressure washer has an adjustable pressure setting, set the pressure washer to a PSI of between 1300-2300 and the flow to stream.
It’s a good idea to ensure you pressure washer is performing at the correct PSI to avoid frequent low pressure.
Use correct spray pattern
Making sure that you spray away from windows, people and pets start to uniformly spray the disinfectant/detergent mixture off of the deck.
Working in a forward side to side pattern.
We advise overlapping your lanes to make sure you get all of the deck.
Tackle tougher stains
After washing you should then check for any areas that have stains left behind or stubborn dirt ingrained into it.
Using a hard-bristled brushwork into the problem area some of the detergent/disinfectant mixtures, do this by hand, then use the pressure washer to rinse the area.
Hire a professional
If you find that you cannot remove certain stains you should consult a professional who will be able to use a more powerful, specialist pressure washer.
What pressure do I need for a plastic deck?
Unlike the more traditional wooden deck, plastic decks are more hard-wearing and can take a lot longer to look warn and tired.
But they are still fragile when it comes to pressure washing as the pressure from the hose can cause irreparable damage to plastics.
Pressure washers are powerful and can even damage concrete.
Never use the hose to close to plastic as it can discolour, score, or even scorch areas of plastic. We recommend using a pressure of no more than 1500 PSI and never to use any abrasive chemicals or brushes on your plastic decking.
If you do not feel confident in cleaning your plastic deck you should arrange with a professional to come and clean your decking.
How often do I need to clean my deck?
The answer to this question is very dependant on the location you live and the whereabouts of the hemisphere you are in.
If you live in an area that has typical seasons of the year, you should clean your deck 1-2 a year. Especially if you live in an area that has a lot of wooded areas, trees, shrubbery, and greenery.
If you do live in one of the more wooded areas you may want to also think about protecting your wooden decking with a stain or varnish. This helps to stop the rot and makes the decking less of a hazard.
Decking can become very slippy when moss, dirt, and mold starts to grow on the surface.
If you live in a hotter climate, you need only wash your decking once a year, this helps to keep the decking maintained and stops areas getting warn down and ingrained with dirt.
If you live in a particularly wet climate you should think about washing your decking 4-6 times a year, this makes sure that rot and mold don’t have a chance to set in.
We would advise having plastic decking if you live in a wet and moist climate.
Can I clean my deck without a pressure washer?
Using a pressure washer can be a great way to clean your decking, but isn’t the only option. Some people prefer to wash their decking using more traditional methods.
This can also help save on water use with pressure washers.
You can use a hard hand brush and a bucket of detergent and water mixture.
Make sure to use rubber gloves when taking on this task as the mixture can be an irritant to bare skin.
Using a deck brush is also a very good method of cleaning your deck. These have wired bristles that are very good at removing stubborn dirt and can get in between grooves very easily.
We recommend using one of these and a hosepipe to get your deck clean and save on a tired back.
Can I use bleach on my decking?
If you have a particularly stubborn stain you could use bleach to clean the area, this might be enough to lift the problem.
You should never use neat bleach straight onto your deck but instead, make a mixture of 1 part bleach to 4 parts water.
When using bleach or any other abrasive chemical you should always wear the correct PPE, you can find the relevant information for this on the manufacturer’s label.
Wooden and plastic decking is a fantastic addition of space to the home or garden but it does require regular maintenance.
Using a pressure washer is a viable way of keeping your decking clean and hazard free, but you must remember to do this on a regular basis depending on your local climate.
You should stain, paint, or varnish a wooden deck yearly, this will keep the elements from damaging and rotting your decking, allowing you to enjoy it for years to come!