I was in the same dilemma when I did my deck last summer, therefore, I did
both. I scrubbed with a solution and deck brush. After it dried, I cold
still see that black residue on some boards. Then I borrowed a friends
powerwasher and what a difference. I also tried the bleach solution on a few
boards and it definitely brightens the boards. If you use it, use it all
evenly over the entire deck, otherwise, I believe the powerwashing will be
The secret to NOT damaging the deck during powerwashing is spraying distance
from boards and constant movement. The distance will be determined by the
power of the spray and never stay in one area. It was the first time for me
and I didn't have a problem. Of course, my deck was only a year old. Using a
PW on older rotted wood can spray off much of the decaying spots and pit the
boards. This is where you really have to be careful. There is a device you
can attach to the wand of the sprayer to keep a constant distance from the
wood. It contains wheels and you roll it along and the same distance all
Overall, it wasn't bad at all. Just make sure you pick a sunny week. It'll
requires 24 to 48 hours for the deck to dry then another 48 to 72 for the
stain to dry, though, depending on type of stain.
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