This is a topic of much debate. Mostly because this is a job for a professional or highly skilled DIYer. If you search on this topic enough you will find all kinds of conflicting advice. In fact if you are at this article, it’s likely that you are doing this very thing. Everybody has their own reasons to say it’s ok or not ok. Some have financial motivations and some are just ignorant or unwilling to learn the correct way.
Grants Painting is the best Indianapolis painting and staining contractor that serves the entire metro area. We provide power washing, deck and fence staining, and of course power wash every home before we paint. Therefore we know what the real story is and are willing to share that knowledge with you to dispel some of the myths about pressure washing wood. Take it from us, do it right and you’ll be better off.
Why Some Frown On Power Washing Wood
The practice of power washing wood is frowned on due to mostly ignorance of correct methods and technical information. Many people have incorrectly power washed a deck or fence prior to staining and ALL the damage still shows even after darker stains. Many have seen the damage and decided that pressure washing wood was the incorrect method. There are correct ways to power wash and there are incorrect ways to power wash. We wrote an article on power washing correctly that you can find below. With care and equipment knowledge and some know how will get the wood cleaned with pressure washing and be great.
The Right Equipment Setup To Pressure Wash Wood
The correct setup of the pressure washer is not a common one. Any pressure washer that is bought at a big box store is probably not set up right and may not even have the capabilities that you need to properly pressure wash the wood. To clean a deck or fence with a power washer. Maximum gallons per minute with only minimal pressure is the correct way to pressure wash wood. To be any bit efficient, you will need to push about 2500 to 3000 psi at over 4 gallons per minute. Some homes cannot even supply over 3 gpm and most wont supply over 5 gpm.
Technique Of Cleaning The Wood With A Pressure Washer
Technique is everything.
- You cannot stop the power washer while water is coming out
- You must ALWAYS travel with the grain as in the picture above
- If the wood is splitting and furring then you are too close
- It is better to clean from afar than to damage the wood
- Lift up on the wand at the end of the stroke across the board
- Come closer to the wood at the beginning of the stroke when the wand is in motion(with the grain)
- Over lap several times to clean gently without harming the wood
Don’t Believe Me?
Ever Hear Of Treehouse Masters? Well you need to watch the episode Backyard Bungalow. At about the 40-43 min mark (at least on my DVR it is) you will see them power washing steps to prep for refinishing. Yea! Power washing wood! Who would have though. IT IS POSSIBLE!