Learning how to pressure wash a deck prior to resealing it is a surefire way of making the reapplication of sealer successful. But will it damage your wood in the process?
Nature Affects Your Wood Deck
The Weather Channel reveals that weathering is the primary problem you and your wood deck have to face. It matters little if the weather is the hot Southern California sun or the winter wetness of Fargo. The wood will be damaged and needs to be periodically resealed. Other conditions that may have an adverse effect on your deck are the feet that periodically walk across it, the shoes on these feet, and also children playing with toys, dog toenails scraping over the surface, and anything else that acts upon the wood.
Don’t Forget the Deck Cleaner!
Start out by applying a specialized deck cleaner to the wood surfaces. There are various formulations on the market, and it is a good idea to very carefully read all of the instructions before even opening the bottle. The odds are good that the solution needs to have a certain period of time to interact with the wood surfaces; do not cut this time short or lengthen it unnecessarily.
Pressure Washer 101
Pressure wash a deck by choosing the appropriate water pressure – 2,500 PSI is plenty – and keeping the nozzle sufficiently far away from the wood. Closer is not cleaner, and in fact a nozzle that comes too close to the wood may actually lead to splintering. Before you decide to go cheapskate and attach a pressure nozzle to the garden hose, keep in mind that the garden hose – even with a nozzle – cannot mimic the true power the pressure washer delivers. You can rent a pressure washer from the hardware store, so there is no need to invest in the appliance.
Focus carefully on washing the entire deck, slat by slat, beam by beam before calling it a day. Walk slowly, move the nozzle left to right, and do not focus on one spot too long. Resealing your deck also seals in dirt and stains that you could have removed, had you spent the time and paid attention. This is a tedious project, but perseverance pays off!
Let the deck dry off for at least a week before applying any stain or sealer.
Caveat: Some experts vehemently argue against pressure washing a deck prior to resealing. The argument suggests that even the proper use of the machine leads to damage where the wood fibers are concerned. In this case it is recommended that oxygen bleach can do the job of a pressure washer without doing the damage – as long as you use a scrub brush and garden hose.
It’s your deck. Choose wisely.