Did you know that decks are an aesthetically pleasing extension of your living space that can enhance your outdoor beauty exponentially? Crafted from attractive materials like wood or concrete, they seamlessly blend with the landscape.
Maintaining your decks through deep cleaning using outdoor power tools like pressure washers is as important as any other corner of your home. However, it is quite frustrating to find out that pressure washing wood decks leaves marks on your decks. Despite employing all the safety precautions, i.e., maintaining a lower PSI, keeping a safer distance, and using an appropriate nozzle, the pressure washer marks are bound to appear after the wash sooner or later.
Hence, using our own experiences and expert guides, we have formulated some techniques to remove pressure washer marks from deck. Alternatively, you can also clean your deck without a pressure washer. But sticking to the topic, before we move on to figure this out, let us take time to rule out some common mistakes when pressure washing decks.
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Common mistakes that cause deck damage from power washing
Although deck damage from power washing is inevitable, seasonal impacts on the decks make them more susceptible to damage from power washing. We have pointed out some common mistakes that most newbies make when power-washing their decks, and avoiding these can prevent decks from further damage.
1. High PSI for deck cleaning
Many times, the high-pressure jets out of a pressure washer can cause severe deck damage from power washing. The PSI for deck cleaning is always advised to be kept low to avoid power washing lines on the deck. It is quite common among newbies to keep the pressure high and aim directly at the deck at an alarming distance.
2. The wrong direction
Another common mistake that causes deck damage from power washing is the wrong direction of the spray wand. Pressure washers should be directed from top to bottom to efficiently clean the surface and avoid pressure washer marks on the decks. This not only saves your decking but also saves you a lot of effort.
3. Non-utilization of pressure washing detergents
The most ignored mistake that causes damage from power washing is to use simple water to clean decking. The non-utilization of pressure washing detergents only multiplies the efforts of the pressure washer. Pressure washer soaps can significantly enhance your cleaning with less time and effort.
How do I remove pressure washer marks from deck?
To remove pressure washer marks from deck is a step-by-step procedure. It is a procedure that involves oxygenating the wooden surface, leaving it for a while, and rinsing it off later. Let us explore in detail how to pressure-wash wood decks.
1. Assess the wood type and damage
Pressure washer damages vary in their severity. Most, but not all, damages are easily handled at home. However, a few require expert treatment as well. Pressure washer marks are avoidable if dealt with with care in woods like oak and cherry that can stand higher PSI. With cedar and pine wood decks, it is always recommended to keep a lower PSI to avoid damage.
2. Apply Oxygenating bleach
Once you have ruled out the severity of the damage and the type of wood that needs treatment, the next step is to apply ½ cup of oxygenated bleach diluted in 1 gallon of water. Leave it for 2-3 hours to effectively react to the pressure washing lines. Oxygen bleach is considered the safest option for decks or any outdoor area due to its biodegradability.
3. Rinse off
Rinse off the bleach with plain water, keeping the pressure at no more than 800 PSI and a safe distance of 13–17 inches from the deck.
Sanding the wooden deck
Sanding a wooden deck is an essential step in its maintenance and restoration process. It is one of the most overlooked steps to restoring the beauty of your wooden decks. Not only does sanding remove pressure washer marks from wood decks, but it also helps smooth out raised or rough deck surfaces damaged over time. Here is a small sanding process below
- Choose Sandpaper: Use coarse-grit sandpaper (60–80) for initial sanding.
- Sanding Direction: Sand in the direction of the wood grain.
- Begin Sanding: Start with an orbital sander, moving it evenly across the deck.
- Progressive Grits: Switch to finer grits (120–220) as you sand for a smoother finish.
- Edge Sanding: Hand-sand edges and corners that the sander can’t reach.
- Remove Dust: Sweep and vacuum the deck thoroughly.
Stain deck after power wash
Staining is the process of applying a colored finish to wood surfaces to enhance their appearance and protect them from the elements.
To stain deck after power wash precisely:
- Clean the deck thoroughly, removing dirt and debris.
- Apply a wood cleaner and scrub any stains.
- Rinse and let the deck dry completely.
- Choose the appropriate stain and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Use a paintbrush or roller to apply the stain evenly along the wood grain.
- Allow the stain to dry per the manufacturer’s guidelines.
- Optionally, apply a second coat for deeper color and more protection.
- Let the deck dry completely before replacing furniture and décor.
How do you pressure wash concrete decks?
Concrete decks differ from wood decks in so many ways. While wood decks are fragile to handle, concrete decks, on the other hand, have tough stains that take a lot of effort to wash away. To pressure wash stained concrete decks, there is a process known as acid etching or acid washing. This process requires muriatic acid (hydrochloric acid) to react with tough pressure washer stains on the concrete deck. Let’s follow the given guide to understand the process.
- Prepare the area: Clear the deck of furniture, plants, and other objects.
- Dilute the Acid: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for diluting muriatic acid.
- Apply: Start applying the acid solution evenly over the concrete deck.
- Scrub the Surface: Use a stiff bristle brush or broom to scrub the acid into the concrete.
- Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse the acid off the deck with a high-pressure hose or pressure washer, if available.
- Final Rinse: Rinse the deck again with clean water to remove the neutralizing solution.
If you’re unsure or uncomfortable with the process, it’s advisable to hire a professional to acid wash your concrete deck.
Caution: Hydrochloric or muriatic acid has poisonous fumes and can only be used outdoors with proper safety and precautions.
Safety tips to prevent deck damage from power washing
To prevent deck damage from power washing, there are a few tips that can help you save your deck surface from pressure washing lines.
- Maintain low pressure washer psi for deck: Wood decks are fragile and softer and hardly withstand high pressure jets. Hence, it is important to maintain pressure washer PSI for deck cleaning below 800 PSI.
- Pressure washer spray tip: To prevent deck damage from power washing, it is important to use fan tips or rotating tips to avoid constant pressure jets when pressure washing wood deck.
- Safe distance: Pressure washing decks require you to keep the pressure washer at a safe distance of at least 13-17 inches above the deck.
- Top to bottom spraying: The best position to prevent deck damage from power washing is to spray top to bottom while swinging your arms and rotating the wand.
1. Why did my deck turn white after pressure washing?
The white color of the wood is an indication of fuzzy wood that results from extreme pressure washing. The pressure washing tends to remove an older layer of wood and cause raised fibers that seem lighter in color. You may restore the original color of the wood by staining it with a wood filler.
2. How do you fix fuzzy wood after pressure washing?
Sanding is the process of fixing fuzzy wood after pressure washing. Use 80-grit sandpaper to sand the wood and later stain it.
3. Does pressure washing damage decks?
Yes, pressure washing does damage the deck if proper techniques like safe distance, appropriate PSI, correct nozzle, and direction of spraying are not maintained.
4. How do you treat a deck after pressure washing?
To treat a deck after pressure washing, it is very important to stain and seal the deck to provide maximum protection from the sun and moisture.
In order to maintain the integrity and beauty of the wood, pressure washer marks must be removed from decks in a methodical and meticulous manner. You may successfully remove unattractive markings and restore your deck to its former splendor by evaluating the damage, choosing the appropriate tools and products, and following the methods outlined. In order to get the greatest results and make sure that your outdoor space continues to be a welcoming and beautiful retreat for years to come, keep in mind that patience and perseverance are essential.