What Size Pressure Washer Do I Need To Clean A Deck?


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.

Worker pressure washing deck on rear of house

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:

We are reader supported. We may earn a commission when you buy through our links.

Model
Top Pick
Sun Joe SPX1000
Runner Up
Oasser Electric
Compact
Greenworks GPW1502
Preview
Sun Joe SPX1000 1450 PSI 1.45 GPM 11.5-Amp Electric Pressure...
Pressure Washer Electric Power Washer, 3046 PSI 1.85 GPM...
Greenworks 1500 PSI 1.2 GPM Electric Pressure Washer,...
Quick Review
Portable, compact and doesn't break the bank
Powerful motor can help you with getting the perfect flow of water
Quick connect wand comes with variable nozzle for a variety of cleaning applications
PSI
1450
3046
1500
Flow rate
1.45 GPM
1.85 GPM
1.2 GPM
Motor
11.5-amp
1800W
13-amp
Weight
11.7 lbs
20.44 lbs
16 lbs
Hose Length
20 ft
16 ft
20 ft.
Electric Cord Length
35 ft
35 ft
35 ft
Price
$97.00
$149.99
$99.99
Top Pick
Model
Sun Joe SPX1000
Preview
Sun Joe SPX1000 1450 PSI 1.45 GPM 11.5-Amp Electric Pressure...
Quick Review
Portable, compact and doesn't break the bank
PSI
1450
Flow rate
1.45 GPM
Motor
11.5-amp
Weight
11.7 lbs
Hose Length
20 ft
Electric Cord Length
35 ft
Price
$97.00
Purchase
Runner Up
Model
Oasser Electric
Preview
Pressure Washer Electric Power Washer, 3046 PSI 1.85 GPM...
Quick Review
Powerful motor can help you with getting the perfect flow of water
PSI
3046
Flow rate
1.85 GPM
Motor
1800W
Weight
20.44 lbs
Hose Length
16 ft
Electric Cord Length
35 ft
Price
$149.99
Purchase
Compact
Model
Greenworks GPW1502
Preview
Greenworks 1500 PSI 1.2 GPM Electric Pressure Washer,...
Quick Review
Quick connect wand comes with variable nozzle for a variety of cleaning applications
PSI
1500
Flow rate
1.2 GPM
Motor
13-amp
Weight
16 lbs
Hose Length
20 ft.
Electric Cord Length
35 ft
Price
$99.99
Purchase

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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.

Prepare area

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.

Safety equipment

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.

Fan spray

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.

Pressure Washing and Re-Sealing a Deck

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.

How To Clean A Wood Deck Without Pressure Washer – The Easy Way

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.

Conclusion

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!

Stuart

Stuart loves blogging about his hobbies and passions. Living the Outdoor Life is a place for him to share what he learns while creating his perfect outdoor space.

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