Preparation and Tools Needed to Pressure Wash Your Deck or Patio

pressure washThis is a good time of year to give your outdoor deck or patio a deep cleaning using a pressure washer. Removing dirt and the gray oxidation will improve its appearance and prevent the growth of mold or algae.

This complete remodeling article outlines what you need to do to prepare to pressure wash your deck or patio as well as the tools you need.

Preparation for Pressure Washing

Remove furniture and other patio gear a safe distance away, so they won’t be damaged by the high-pressure spray. You may also want to cover sliding glass doors with plastic as well as a sheet of OSB or plywood to protect them. The same goes for landscaping like flowers and shrubs.

Choosing your Power Washer

Many people think that higher pressure is better. Too much pressure will turn the machine into a power etcher, removing wood material from your deck. The truth is that 1,500 PSI is sufficient for washing patios and decks made from treated lumber or composite. If your deck is made from standard pine, pressure in the 500-600 PSI range is very adequate. Higher pressure means a great risk of damaging the surface.

The tip should be a fan tip with an angle of 40 to 60 degrees. The narrower the fan, the higher the pressure. If you’re renting a power washer, tell the rental agent what material you’ll be washing and what condition it is in. He will be able to set you up with the right tip and suggest a pressure to use for the job.


The power washer you rent or buy will come with the hoses and accessories required for the job. You may also need an extension cord for the power washer. Some suggest wearing eye protection and you may also be more comfortable gripping the wand if you’re wearing gloves.

Power Washing Technique

Make sure all connections are tight. The water will be under enormous pressure, and if a hose or nozzle comes loose, it can hurt someone or you could damage your property.

Once the machine is set up, you can begin the process. On an attached deck, start next to the house. Hold the wand about 18 inches from the deck or patio and pull the trigger. Use a sweeping, back and forth motion and move the nozzle to 12 inches from the deck. If you notice it harming the deck, back away. If the oxidation in the deck is not being removed, increase the pressure or get slightly closer to the deck. If this still is not working you may have to add a cleaner either to the power washer or directly onto the surface.

Work side to side the width of the deck and then move away a foot or two and begin your next pass. Continue with this technique until you’ve completed the job.

For guides on bathroom remodelingkitchen remodelingbasement remodeling, and outdoor remodeling projects, visit our helpful learning articles for tips and tricks!

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