We have a large cedar deck that's two years old. The clear stain only lasted
a year and a half before greying. This spring, I want to have the deck power-
washed, and then I'll stain it with a Sikkens stain with some pigment. My
wife has a Polish friend who owns a power washer. He says he'll clean it for
free. The contractor who built the deck said you have to be careful when power-
washing. If you use too much pressure, you'll lift the grain of the wood and
damage it. That's why I'm planning to ask a professional to do it. Is there
a danger to asking an amateur to do it instead?
Yes especially with cedar. You might try this first.
I use a heavy duty scrub brush with a long handle, similar but smaller than
a push broom. Mix half a cup of dish washer detergent and a 2 cups of
bleach into a bucket of water. Spread over the deck, wait 15-20 minutes
then rinse/brush off.
I've been told by numerous people not to pressure wash my deck.
As noted by Jeff, I have a "pool deck" broom that I use as well as a
for the railings.
Instead of Sodium Hypocholorite (Purex, Cholrox), I use a good oxygen
bleach and scrub well and rinse....why the oxygen bleach....???
In past years, the "regular" bleach has damaged landscape plants. The
Oxygen bleach does not, but also does a very acceptable job.
There are lots of brands of "oxy bleach" and some of them at the
supermarket aren't that good. I use the following, basically because
it contains what is needed and nothing else.
I'm sure there are other good brands, also
Too much pressure and you can carve your initials in it. Sikkens
website has very specific instructions for preparation, which include
cleaning and sanding, here:
The problem with pressure washing is that if the pressure is too high, or
the person doing the washing gets the wand too close you get a corduroy
effect. So yes lifting the grain can happen. I pressure wash as part of my
business and I make damn sure that my pressure is at 2000 and I don't hold
the wans too close or in one spot too long. It takes getting used to because
if you don't have enough pressure or if you don't get close enough then you
are wasting time and water! My best suggestion is that if you are not
comfortable having this friend do the job then have a professional do it. I
am no pressure washing guru or anything, I just had the chance to learn. I
have cut wood and I have and severly marked wood from a pressure washer. I
even took some paint off my truck! It takes practice and patience.
I've seen pressure washers cut stucco and erode concrete. I would
prefer, if it doesn't lead to more rapid deterioration, just to allow
the wood to weather. The finish the OP indicated calls for cleaning
with particular products, pressure wash and sanding. Sanding is
something I strenuously avoid :o)
Our condo dock was pressure washed and it grew "fuzz", and a few
splinters, and shows no protection from the so-called sealer that was
put on it. If a deck is in a shady spot, it might get moldy and
slippery without any protection?
Get a cleaner for cedar although bleach might do decks hold dirt,
Sherwin Williams cleaner is good.
I would not let just anyone powerwash, you need it washed, not blasted,
cedar an be ruined. If you stay back and use a wide tip and wash you
will be ok, but to much pressure will damage anything.
I just cleaned mine last year. I bought two gal. of deck cleaner and a
stiff brush/broom. The ones you hook a garden hose. I put deck cleaner in a
bucket and used a old house broom to spread it, let it sit and then scrubbed
it worked ok. Then what I did took a five gal. bucket of water and put a bag
of pool shock in it worked much better and cost way less. I would be careful
if you use a power washer.
I feel the need to say something because lots of folks chimed in when
I posted a question just like this two years ago. Payback time!
I have a deck constructed of western red cedar: it's really soft.
For several years it was "professionally" pressure cleaned and treated.
The pressure cleaning went just fine; the treatments were awful. They
were clear and lasted barely one season.
I decided to research it and do it myself.
What I found out is that the name-brand chemical cleaners sold
specifically for this task (I used Cabots, but there are plenty of other
good ones) are better and gentler for the deck than pressure cleaning.
I followed the directions on the Cabots container AND I bought an
electric pressure washer from Home Depot. Electric ones do not generate
the high pressures of a gasoline-powered unit and your risk of damaging
the deck is GREATLY reduced. (Try the pressure washer on a old piece of
lumber first and you'll quickly get a feeling for how much damage they
can do and how close you have to hold it to the board and how long you
have to hold it there to damage the board.)
I let the chemical cleaner set, as instructed, about 10 minutes on an
area about 8ft X 8ft, then scrubbed the boards with a good stiff scrub
brush on a pole, then went over it gently with the pressure washer.
I then treated it with Cabot's, using a semi-transarent stain and
that lasted two full seasons, in the Washington, D.C. area. I could
have gone a third, I guess, but now I know how to do it, it's easy to
clean it again and reapply another coat of the stain.
Oh, by the way. Since you are not stripping the deck down to bare
wood, only use a VERY THIN COAT of whatever you decide to use or it will
I have asked this question before with no useful responses:(
A good friend living on a fixed income has a pressure treated deck that
was PAINTED 10 years ago by her now dead hubby.
after 10 years the paint is very detoriated in some areas. but still ok
besides repainting is there a easy way to clean and perhaps use solid
color stain over this mess?
its really sad it was ever painted.
the deck is in good shape structurally and physically with just one
cracked bad floorboard and only cosmetics to worry about.
Thanks for all the excellent suggestions! Last year, I tried a deck cleaner and
bleach, but it took a lot of scrubbing with less than desirable results. So,
going to get a quote from a professional, as far as power-washing. But I'll want
him to be very careful, since I don't want to damage the cedar.
My professional friend came over with his pressure-washer, but after looking at
the deck, he decided to go the bleach and scrub brush route. It came out really
clean. After a few days, I followed up with Sikkens Light Cedar stain, which I
applied by paint brush. Everything now looks great. Thanks for all your input!
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