Keeping your deck clean and maintaining it routinely will ensure that it serves its purpose effectively. You may also need to carry out some refinishing works to give your deck a new stylish look. For thorough cleaning, using bare hands to scrub the deck may not be efficient to attain the needed level of cleanliness. Fortunately, the use of a pressure washer comes with significant simplification and efficiency in deck cleaning. All you need is to use the machine properly following the right procedures and set the correct pressure limits to avoid any damages. The rest of the discussion focuses on presenting the invaluable Tips on Power Washing a Deck.
Choose the right Pressure Setting and Tip.
The first step in attaining a clean deck during a pressure washing session is selecting the right pressure level and an appropriate tip. Ensure you set the lowest pressure levels that will be effective enough for an ideal washing of the deck. For a soft timber, set the pressure ranges between 500 to 600 psi. You use a pressure limit that does not exceed 1,200 pounds per inch(psi) when working on decks made of harder woods, which can withstand high pressure.
Remember to test your washer pressure and its efficiency on unnoticeable surfaces such as on the staircase thread. In case the pressure damages such an area, it will be easy to repair or replace the stair thread that other vital parts of the deck.
Fit the washer with a fit tip whose degree pf spread is between 40 to 60. You may opt for a rotatory tip provided that you will exercise caution when using it.
Embark of Power Washing the Deck
Remember to begin with pressures as low as 500 to 600 psi to assess its impact on an unnoticeable surface. Once you establish the pressure is sufficient, increase it gradually as you may find fit to wash the deck while being keen enough not to etch the wood or damage the deck at any point.
Pull the trigger and hold the wand tip a few feet away from the surface of the deck. You may then lower the tip at a distance of about 12″ away from the deck surface. Wash the deck using a sweeping motion and remember not to support your arm to prevent an uneven gap between the deck surface and the washer spray tip. It is essential to sustain some consistency in the distance by ensuring your hand moves back and forth as you clean.
Focus on achieving an even cleaning without noticeable cleaning edges or visible hotspots. Always clean the deck boards coming from your house as you move outward. Follow the grain while you work as you feather the spray along the deck length but parallel to the board of your deck. Slightly overlap each area on the surface as you move along.
Use a Chemical Brightener
Use a quality deck cleaning reagent containing sodium hypochlorite to brighten the deck if you find it darkened or containing patches of mildew stains. Only use the cleaning solution specifically for use in brightening decks, and manufacturers recommend it for use in your pressure washer. Check to establish if your washing machine can allow the intake of the cleaning reagents.
Follow the manufacturer guidelines when mixing the solution. Use the stripper solutions when using plain water to wash using the pressure washer and then rinse using plain water under pressure. Brightening products can roughen the wood fibers, hence removing the deck surface thoroughly before sealing or re-staining the wood.
Sand the Deck After Pressure Washing
Washing a wooden deck under pressure may not necessarily damage the wood, etch, or erode the softwood fibers. However, there are rare instances where fibers become raised when the wood becomes wet, leading to a roughened surface. This problem mainly occurs on the handrails as the protruding fibers can cause splinters to the users. Allow your deck to dry before sanding.
Fortunately, you have several remedial measures to curb such a problem. If you used pressure washing that caused little damage on the deck and intended to have the deck clean, spot sanding will be ideal for you.
If you intend to reseal or re-stain your deck, you ought to sand the whole deck to achieve smooth deck boards with no splintering. Proper sanding helps open the pores on the wood for the wooden surface to absorb the stain or sealer steadily. Avoid using fine sandpaper as it is likely to clog the wood pores, which may lead to compromised sealing.