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How to Pressure Wash a Deck: Scrubbing a Deck vs. Power Washing

Remember these Key Points on how to pressure wash a deck

  • Never power wash a deck with high pressure
  • Low pressure should be used minimally
  • Oxygenated cleaners are the best cleaners for older decks
  • Decks will not be “bright” or “blonde” without a brightening solution
  • For best results, always use a professional deck cleaning company

Many homeowners want to know how to pressure wash a deck. The simple answer is not to. Scrubbing the deck is a better option. Pressure washing can and will take everything off of whatever you are washing. When it comes to washing a deck, this sounds like a great idea, but pressure washing really works against you in this case.

High Pressure Power Washing

So why is it a bad idea to pressure wash a deck? The same reason you would pressure wash it. Pressure washing takes everything off. All decks contain loose fibers of wood. Due to these fibers, the high pressure will pull up and leave splinters in the deck. Older decks notice the effects of pressure washing more severely than a newer deck, but the effects still exist. So what does high pressure power washing do exactly?

  • Gets under the wood and raises splinters.
  • Causes noticeable gaps in the grain that will expand and contract with the weather conditions.
  • Damages the wood, lowering its expected lifetime.
  • Makes the wood more vulnerable to the Sun.

One answer to the question how to pressure wash a deck is lowering the PSI of the washer so it protects from the damages. However this method still requires scrubbing to get that true deep clean you’re looking for.

Scrubbing a Deck

Carlton Cleans scrubs all of our clients’ decks to get in deep and get the deck back to looking like new. Scrubbing with a deck cleaner is the best way to prepare the deck for staining and get any dirt, algae, and any other nasty substances that may have soaked into the wood.

Cleaners

Cleaners come in a variety of options, such as:

  • Bleach-based
  • Oxygenated
  • Oxalic Acid-based

Carlton Cleans prefers oxygenated cleaners because of the existence of sodium percarbonate. If your deck is covered in mold or mildew then you’ll see a significant difference in the appearance of your deck using an oxygenated cleaner.

Using a low pressure washer, Carlton Cleans removes a good bit of dirt, mold, and mildew. For example, here is a customer’s deck in the middle of a cleaning. Just after a low pressure wash:

You can also see that the deck doesn’t really have that fresh, clean color to it yet. This is because a pressure washer, when used at a lower pressure, does not go as deep as you need.

Second, Carlton Cleans then scrubs the deck with oxygenated cleaners for the best treatment possible. The oxygenated cleaner also has a natural tendency to strengthen the wood, protecting it from some of the Sun’s UV rays. However oxygenated cleaners and a thorough deck scrubbing is not enough to give your deck that beautiful blonde-colored look, like this one.

In order to get your deck bright and clean like the one here, you’ll need a brightener. The oxygenated cleaners raise the pH and the brightener will neutralize the pH levels and give you that blonde-colored look you’re looking for, all the while being as clean as the day it was installed. Lastly, once it’s dry and ready, Carlton Cleans stains the deck to protect it from the Sun.

Professional Deck Cleaning

Finally, a deck cleaning can transform your deck from a rotting, gray plank of wood to a bright, clean, and ready-to-use deck. Unfortunately, if not done by a professional deck cleaner, such as Carlton Cleans, the deck will not turn out like the pictures above. Carlton Cleans knows exactly what pressure is right for your deck, when it’s okay to use a pressure washer, what angle to use when power washing, and what cleaning solutions will work best for your deck. Carlton Cleans hopes that it has answered your question of how to pressure wash a deck. Make sure you contact Carlton Cleans today to get your deck it’s like new look back!














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