Some Tips on Washing Your Deck Or Fence
When the spring rolls around you start to notice all sorts of things that need done outside; one of which may be washing your deck or privacy fence. After a few years of wear you may start to notice mildew or mold buildup on your fence or deck. Even without this buildup, your wood deck or fence will start to look weathered and old. A good cleaning with the right tool and process can remedy that. Let’s take a quick look at some tips for pressure washing your deck or fence.
First off, depending on what your overall goal is will determine which pressure washer settings you’ll want to use as well as power washing detergents. If you’re simply trying to remove some mildew, you’ll want to use a mixture of oxygen bleach and water with possibly some powdered laundry or household soap in there. The bleach is important for killing the mildew or it will just return once it dries. It may look nice while it’s wet, but if you don’t use bleach or some type of agent to kill the mildew, it will just return.
I like to first wet down the deck before I start using the detergent or soap. I’ll generally just use a standard garden hose for this but you can use your pressure washer if you want to. Next I’ll spray the detergent in a section somewhere not too noticeably. Depending on the set time of the detergent (usually around 10 minutes) I’ll then either scrub with a deck brush or simply wash off. Again, it depends on the detergent you use so read the label and follow the directions. The important thing here is to start on a small section to see how it’s going to turn out. I’ve even done this before early in the week and let it dry completely, then by the weekend I can see how it’s going to work before I start on the entire deck.
You want to work back in forth in a pendular motion as you move across the service. The optimum pressure for washing a deck is no more than 1800 psi and even closer to 1500. Too much pressure and a direct stream can splinter your deck and cause serious damage; another good reason for starting in a small inconspicuous space. Another reason why you only want to do small square sections (around 5 to 10 sq feet) is so you aren’t letting the detergent sit on the wood for more than the allotted time noted; again, read the instructions for best sit time for detergents.