Pressure Washer Question

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I know I've asked the question before about whether a do-it-yourselfer should try pressue washing a 3-year old cedar deck by himself or hire a professional. I see where Target is selling a Black & Decker 1,600 PSI Electric Pressure Washer for $88.00. This seems like a good buy, since hiring someone to do the deck every few years would be around $100. My 3-year old cedar deck greyed considerably last winter, after being cleaned with bleach and re-stained (Sikken Natural Cedar stain)last year in the spring. Cleaning it by hand this summer with bleach did very little. The greying is only on the deck floor and top rail. The verticals are fine.
I'm wondering if it would be worth it to buy this unit now for $88 and use it on my deck next spring, being careful not to spray too close to the wood. If I'm careful, is it unlikely I'll damage the wood?
Thanks! Scott
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Scot, I really can't answer your question about whether pressure washing your deck yourself is a good idea, but I would like to offer an observation I've made it the many years past.
I doubt if you would be satisfied with an $88 pressure washer and I have found that Black & Decker tools are seldom satisfactory.
Personally, I wouldn't consider it. If I were going to get a PW, I think I'd invest a bit more (3 times as much at least) and get something more useful.
On the other hand if you are only going to use it once a year, that is another consideration.
Also, have you thought about renting one? Probably cost less that $35 for a half day. Then you do the job, return it, and you don't have to store someplace for a year.
Just some thoughts. Bob-tx
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Hi,
I have a Home Depot Husky electric one. It is sort of wimpy in power but it works for me O.K. I think for a deck a gasoline one with more oomph would be better. I did decide to get an electric wimpy one for the following reasons:
1) Easy to store and maintain 2) I have a pretty wimpy water supply. So a large gasoline one would quickly outstrip my water source and start to gulp air 3) I wanted it to clean some rock in the garden... (it's a long story ....) and this involved alot of stopping and starting. So an electric one is very handy in this regard
Best, Mike.
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where would the air get in?

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That's what I was thinking. Even if you don't have much water pressure the pump will draw in what it needs from the water line. Unless the supply line is restricted in some way I doubt water pressure will be a problem.
for the op:
I have a 1600 psi electric pressur washer - ok for small jobs. I would not do a deck or even a patio. Not enough gpm to be effective.
I use it for parts, motors, outdoot tables, it even works fine on getting the algae and mold off the lower bricks of the house.
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There are a wide range of pressure washers. Not all are created equal. I would classify them into four groups.
1. Light weights: That is what most electrics are and the B&D is no exception. They can handle a lot of cleaning projects and are convenient and cheap. They will take more time to do most jobs and will not be able to do the tough jobs.
2. Mid weight: These will include a lot of what you see, mid to upper electrics and most gasoline powered units. They are bigger, less convent, but a lot faster and can handle some of the tougher jobs, but may be slow at them.
3. Heavy weight: These should handle almost any job you come across. They will do it faster as well.
4. Professional: The name says it. They are big heavy and will do the job far faster.
I have a light - mid weight. It may take me an hour to do a job that a mid weight would take 20 minutes. The pro models might take six or seven minutes. It has less PSI but at least equally important it has a less volume (gallons per minute)
Most consumer models stress the maximum pressure (PSI) at the expense of the volume. To do a job you need both. A good machine with 1600 PSI will good volume will be far better and take far less time than a machine will say 1800 PSI and less volume
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia \'s Muire duit
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I just purchased the troy bilt 3000psi unit (gasoline driven) This PW is awesome! It has the bogus and stratton engine and does seem to be a bit of a gas hog, but it's worth it for the power. I consider it a good value at $398.
s

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on 9/21/2007 1:40 AM Scott said the following:

It's a good deal for what you want. I have one and it does decks very well. It also cleans all the crud from an automobile engine and undercarriage (don't directly spray electronics), mowers, tractors, sidewalks, siding, fencing, etc. You won't be able to carve your initials into rocks, so if you are into that, get a gas one.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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lol. Reminds me of when I was younger and had a job at a chemical plant hydro blasting cracking towers.
The blasters were 3000 psi I think but with a very high gpm, it would cut a work boot in half. Ouch.
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on 9/21/2007 10:14 AM kpg* said the following:

Look at these 60,000 psi water jet cutters they use now to cut steel plate.
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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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yeah, I'm impressed evey time I see one. that is awesome.
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I have a cheapo 1500 Karcher model. It is unlikely you will damage the wood if you are careful, as this is low pressure for a pressure washer. I use mine to clean the deck, patio, siding, brick, driveway, etc. A higher end model would undoubtedly be more useful and make some jobs easier (could say that about every tool I own), but the one I have has been good to have around and well worth the cost.
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You have to be careful with a "big" pressure washer, it will cut trenches in the wood. Unless it is sealed, cedar will always turn grey. That is it's natural state. I have 2 pressure washers, a small electric (1300 PSI or so) and a big electric, 5HP that puts out 2700 PSI. I end up using the small one more than the big one.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

5hp electric? You know of course that that is not really 5 hp. On a 110v circuit the most you could run, given standard motor efficiencies, would be about 1 1/3 hp IF you could get it to start without tripping the breaker which i doubt. Eric
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It has a 240v 30a plug on it, still think it isn't 5HP?
http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_200321853_200321853
This one
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You'll get your moneys worth quickly. I use a little electric for all kinds of quick cleaning.
Bob
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Scott wrote:

Update:
I purchased the Black & Decker Pressure Washer at Target today for $88.00. Regular price is $169.95, so it looks like a good deal. There's also a 2-year warranty. The unit is 1,600 PSI and has a 1.6 GPM flow rate. I'm going to try it out this weekend on my front (treated wood) porch to see how it works. I'll let you know. Thanks for all your very helpful advice.
Thanks again! Scott
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Scott wrote:

I tried the pressure washer out on my small treated wood front porch, and it worked fairly well. I hadn't cleaned this wood for several years. I put the 1,600 psi spray as close as possible to the wood without damaging it. It's still somewhat dingy in many places. I'm wondering if I should try hand scrubbing the wood with a strong cleaner and/or bleach solution first and then follow up with another pressure wash? Hand scrubbing has worked well in the past, although it's a chore.
Thanks! Scott
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Steve wrote:

Steve,
I scrubbed the front porch with a good cleaner and bleach, then pressured washed it again. It came out great...not perfect, but as light as possible, considering the age of the porch (at least 15 years). The wood appears not to undamaged.
Then I did a trial section in the corner of my 3-year old cedar deck that had become very greyed over the last year and a half. The pressure washer did a pretty good job, although it was slow going. I had to be very careful to avoid gouging out the softer wood. Now that it's dried, it looks better, but still somewhat dingy.
I'm thinking, should I consider renting a power sander? Would a power sander do the job on the heavily greyed wood, or would I want to pressure wash first and then finish with a sander?
I noticed that the top rail could not be cleaned well enough with the pressure sander. (Last time I used a circular sanding pad on my electric drill, which worked very well).
Thanks again! Scott
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Scott wrote:

Note: In paragraph 1, I meant: "The woods appears undamaged".
Scott
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