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House with Large Deck

How a Deck Is Power Washed

The deck is usually a favorite spot in ours and many homes across the world. It’s where we spend a lot of time hanging out with friends and family entertaining, or spending some much needed quiet time. 

Over time, the deck experiences a lot of wear and tear. If there is a swimming pool involved, an unsealed deck can take a beating! Foot traffic, furniture, food, and other things can make a deck look dingy and dirty. They need cleaned, redone, and resealed from time to time to keep them functioning optimally. Without cleaning and care, the wood can degrade and rot over time and eventually fail to support. 

Many people think that you can just turn on a power washer and blast the dirt away. Cleaning a deck this way is a huge mistake! Even with pressure washing, not all surfaces can be cleaned the same. It’s a bad idea to clean a deck the same way you would power wash a driveway. The two totally different surfaces will react very different to the high pressure. 

Soft Washing

A newer way of pressure washing delicate surfaces is called soft washing. Experts advise against pressure washing a deck because the high pressure can damage the surface permanently and void any warranties that it came with. At the same time, manually scrubbing a deck can get very labor intensive, especially if you have a lot of area to cover. 

Soft washing uses the same equipment as power and pressure washing. The difference is that there is a special nozzle placed on the end of the wand that decreases the pressure that comes out. 

With power washing, the pressure from the machine is what cleans the surface. With soft washing, an environmentally friendly cleaning agent is used to do the heavy cleaning and then it’s followed up with low pressure cleaning. You don’t want to power wash a deck. The wood is too delicate and high pressure may damage it. That’s the last thing you want to do. 

Technique

Pretreat – A cleaning chemical is sprayed on the surface of the deck.This kills and starts working on any moss, mold, mildew, dirt, and grime that is on the wood. Pretreating is important so that a lower water pressure can be used and the wood of the deck can be treated gently. 

Pretreatment is usually applied with a garden sprayer. For large areas, you can use the pressure washer on a very low pressure setting to help distribute cleaning chemicals faster. 

This solution is allowed to sit for a while to work on taking care of the dirt and grime that needs to be washed off. Some cleaners are environmentally friendly and some are less environmentally friendly. In many cases, you’ll be able to see the pretreatment working after a short period of time. Moss and mildew turns white and dirt and grime can visibly be seen as lifted. 

Soft Washing – This is where the fun comes in. During this process, a low to medium pressure is used to rinse away the pretreatment and the dirt and grime that was stuck on the deck. This pressure is about the same as it is coming out of a garden hose. It’s very gentle, very effective, and is much better for the wood. The surface is sprayed slowly, and evenly at a safe height  above the surface. 

Washing the deck also gets rid of any old paint or stain that may be on there that’s wearing away. You always want to make sure that your deck is washed before it’s resealed and stained. 

After cleaning, the deck is allowed to dry for about 24 hours and then it is ready for staining and sealing.

If you decide that power washing is something you want to benefit from in your house, feel free to contact us and we’ll schedule a time to talk with you!

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