If your decking is looking a little worse for wear after a summer of hard use, you may be considering giving it a good clean. There are a few ways to do this, but usually, the first thing that comes to mind is hiring out a pressure washer. Nobody wants to spend hours scrubbing away at a deck, but there are factors to consider before using a pressure washer.
Remember, a pressure washer used incorrectly can damage your decking. In this quick guide, we’ll cover some best practices to use when using a pressure washer on wooden decking. As well as how to care for the decking afterwards.
Preparing to pressure wash your decking
Before you begin, there are a few things you should do to prep your decking to be washed.
- Remove any furniture or other non-fixed items.
- Give the decking a good sweep to remove any larger bits of debris.
- Use a regular garden hose to get rid of the last bits of easily removable debris.
- Make note of any loose or cracked boards, repairing them before you begin if possible. If not mark them so you know what areas to avoid.
Choosing a pressure level
Choosing an appropriate level of pressure for your decking is incredibly important, as if you go too high you risk damaging it permanently.
As a general rule of thumb, softwood decking types such as pine and redwood require you to use a much lower psi than hardwoods, such as teak. For softwoods be conservative and start out at around 400 psi, going no higher than 600 psi. For hardwoods, again begin lower than is required, at around 900 psi and go no higher than 1200 psi.
Before you begin, remember to set the pressure of your washer lower than is needed. This way you can increase as needed.
Remember: don’t exceed the recommended psi for your decking. Only go as high as is needed to remove the built-up dirt and grime.
When you begin to wash, start further away from the deck and slowly get closer. If you start very close, you could either lose control of the washer or damage your decking.
Washing should be done in a sweeping motion. As you are not trying to carve out a buildup of debris in a crevice, as you would with a driveway, sustained pressure on a single area is generally not needed. Maintain a steady, slow sweep. For the best results work with the grain to get into any grooves.
Once you are finished, sweep away any standing water with a stiff broom. And leave to dry.
Don’t forget aftercare
Once your deck has dried, give it a good once over. It may be the case that some of the wood fibres have become raised due to the moisture. If this is the case, you will need to do a bot of sanding. Usually, however, this can be kept to a minimum.
If you are going to restain your deck after a was, you will need to sand the entire deck. This will allow the stain to soak into the wood much better, whilst also producing a smoother finish.
After you’re done with the sanding, it’s time to put all of your furniture back and make the most of the rest of the summer on your now sparkling deck!