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Pressure washing deck

How to Pressure Wash Wooden Decks & Fences

Owning a wooden deck and fence adds a touch of natural beauty to your outdoor space, but over time, they can accumulate dirt, grime, mold, and algae. Pressure washing is an effective way to rejuvenate and maintain the appearance of these wooden structures. However, improper pressure washing techniques can cause damage. In this guide, we'll walk you through the step-by-step process of pressure washing your wooden deck and fence while ensuring their longevity and visual appeal.

Step 1: Gather Your Equipment

Before you start, make sure you have all the necessary equipment and protective gear:

  1. Pressure washer: Choose a pressure washer with adjustable pressure settings, ideally in the range of 1200-2000 PSI. Higher pressure can damage wood.

  2. Nozzles: Select a wide-angle nozzle (25-40 degrees) for general cleaning and a narrower nozzle (15-25 degrees) for tougher stains. Avoid using a 0-degree nozzle, as it can cause severe damage. If you can buy or rent an surface washer, which is a rotating nozzle in a shape of a disc, this would speed up your cleaning efforts on decks.

  3. Safety gear: Wear safety goggles, gloves, and non-slip footwear to protect yourself from debris and chemicals.

  4. Cleaning solution: Opt for a mild wood cleaner or a mixture of water and gentle dish soap. Avoid harsh chemicals that can harm the wood.

Step 2: Preparing the Area

  1. Clear the area: Remove all furniture, potted plants, and other items from the deck and around the fence to provide clear access.

  2. Cover sensitive areas: Cover nearby plants, electrical outlets, and other sensitive areas with plastic sheeting to protect them from water and debris.

Step 3: Testing and Setting Pressure

  1. Test a small area: Before you begin, test the pressure washer on a small, inconspicuous area of the wood to ensure it doesn't cause damage.

  2. Adjust pressure: Set the pressure to the lowest setting and gradually increase it until you find the optimal pressure that effectively removes dirt without damaging the wood.

Step 4: Cleaning the Wooden Deck and Fence

  1. Rinse the area: Start by rinsing the deck and fence with plain water to remove loose dirt and debris.

  2. Apply the cleaning solution: Using a low-pressure setting, apply the cleaning solution to the wood. Let it sit for a few minutes to loosen dirt and stains.

  3. Scrubbing: For stubborn stains, use a soft-bristle brush to gently scrub the surface. Scrub in the direction of the wood grain to avoid causing scratches.

  4. Pressure washing: Using the wider-angle nozzle, begin pressure washing the wood. Maintain a consistent distance of about 12-18 inches from the surface. Work in sections, moving from one end to the other, and overlap your strokes to ensure even cleaning. Always wash the surface with the orientation of wooden grain. Newer use power nozzle or rotational nozzle when power washing decos and fences. Always start cleaning with nozzle far away from the wood making your way closer to the desired distance. A steady hand is needed in order to maintain same distance from the surface, avoid shaking and sudden movements.

Step 5: Post-Cleaning Care

  1. Rinse thoroughly: After pressure washing, thoroughly rinse off the cleaning solution and loosened dirt using the plain water setting.

  2. Drying time: Allow the wood to dry for at least 48 hours before applying any stain or sealant.

Step 6: Staining and Sealing (Optional)

  1. Stain application: If desired, apply a wood stain or sealant to protect and enhance the appearance of the wood. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application and drying times.

Step 7: Regular Maintenance

To prolong the life and beauty of your wooden deck and fence, consider these maintenance tips:

  1. Regular cleaning: Perform routine cleaning using a broom or leaf blower to remove debris and prevent dirt buildup.

  2. Annual inspections: Inspect for signs of wear, rot, or damage, and address any issues promptly.

  3. Resealing: Depending on the wear and tear, consider reapplying a wood stain or sealant every 1-3 years.

Pressure washing your wooden deck and fence can breathe new life into your outdoor space. By following these step-by-step instructions and using proper equipment and techniques, you can enjoy the benefits of a clean and visually appealing outdoor area while preserving the integrity of your wood surfaces for years to come. Regular maintenance and careful attention will help you make the most of your investment and continue enjoying your outdoor haven. Should you need assistance in Pressure Washing Exterior Surfaces in Newmarket, Toronto or any other location in the GTA, please contact Como Maintenance Services as your Pressure Wash Contractor.

Frequently Asked Questions on Pressure washing Decks and Fences:

Can I clean my wood deck with bleach?


Como Maintenance Services never uses bleach as such on a deck or fence and we strongly advise you not to either. Bleach is effective in killing mildew but has little effect on dirt. Consider what you use to clean your clothes; you may use bleach as a whitening agent, but you still use detergent to clean them. We use other cleaning solutions to remove stubborn organic stains such as mildew, algae, grass and nut stains.

Paper manufacturers utilize bleach to break down lignin, the natural component that keeps wood fibres together. Excessive bleaching will have the same effect on a deck. If this occurs on your deck, the wood fibres will become free. With prolonged use, you will be able to gently tear the wood. 

Is it possible for me to pressure wash the deck myself?


There are various low-powered pressure washers on the market that are offered directly to homeowners. It is not difficult to use a pressure washer. Many home owners do that. However an inexperienced individual might easily harm the wood by applying too much pressure. If you've never used a pressure washer before, practice on some scrap wood first. You may be able to practice on the non-visible underside area of a second story deck. You will be able to clean the deck at a lesser pressure if you additionally use a chemical cleaner. The pounds per square inch of water pressure (PSI) required to clean decks normally ranges from 300 to 3,000. If you are purchasing a pressure washer for household usage, your sole option will most likely be cold water. That's OK. For wood surfaces, Como Maintenance Services utilizes and recommends cold water. Heat causes wood to expand, resulting in an excessive absorption of water that is harmful to the wood. Hot water pressure washing on wood is only appropriate when removing heavy oil stains or sealer. In that scenario, you should contact a specialist. A skilled professional is required for hot water pressure washing.

Is Pressure Washing Harmful to Wood?

Yes, if not done correctly, pressure washing can damage wood. Regular pressure washing employs high-pressured water to remove all types of build-up from the surfaces it comes into touch with, and if done properly, it can prepare the suitable surfaces for refinishing. However, if done incorrectly, pressure washing can harm your surfaces; for example, using too much pressure on your fence or deck may create gouges in the wood. When cleaning wood surfaces such as your deck and fence, Como Maintenance Services employs a mild washing procedure. Keep your pressure washing nozzle at least 4 inches from the surface.

How much does Professional Fence and Deck Pressure wash cost?

Pressure washing in Newmarket, Toronto or any other location in the GTA typically costs for a deck is between $250 and $400. The cost is determined by the size, condition, and material of the deck, as well as whether or not you do the work yourself. You may cost up to $600 to hire a professional to clean a large, wrap-around deck with a lot of filth. This is money well spent, however, to maintain your deck free of unattractive mould and mildew, which can lead to early deck repairs and a shorter lifespan. A tidy deck also improves your alfresco dining experience, so don't be scared to invite the neighbours over.

When is the best time to Pressure wash my deck or fence?

Pressure washing your deck is best done in the spring or fall. Doing it in the spring allows you to wipe away any grime or mould that may have formed throughout the wet winter, and your patio eating area will be dazzling for those summer sizzlers. Pressure washing the deck in the fall allows you to remove greasy spills rather than allowing them to soak in throughout the winter.

Is Pressure Washing Service any cheaper in Newmarket and rural areas?

Depending on your location, pressure washing services could be cheaper rather than in Toronto for instance. Como Maintenance Services charges all clients the same, there is no extra charge if you live in the city or in rural area. In case the location is further that the GTA, we will add gas surcharge. Regular pressure washing services in Newmarket, Aurora, Vaughan, Markham or Toronto start at $250 and will go up based on size and difficulty to wash certain surfaces.

Can I save money when bundling services?

Bundling services will always end up in money saving. Initial cost for pressure washing can be reduces if additional services are added to it for example staining or sealing. This way we can offer rebates that will reduce the total cost.

Should You have more questions on how to pressure wash wooden decks or fences or if you would like to hire us to do the work instead, please call us at: 905 392 0480 or contact us via our online contact form. We will respond to you usually within 24 hours.

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