Your decks and patios have endured a lot over the winter, from UV rays, to moisture from melting snow, to tree sap. So, now that spring is here, its time to apply some tender, or maybe not so tender, love and care to their surfaces. One go-to method is the pressure washer, particularly when you’ve got composite decking, hardwood decking, or natural stone patio (best avoid it if you’ve got a softwood deck – pressure washers can cause gouging).
So, what do you need to know before you get started? Home and Garden writer Jessica Ackerman covers the basics of pressure washing your deck here.
Springtime is the perfect season for pressure washing your patio or deck. It’s a great way to remove all the dirt and debris that accumulated over the winter, leaving the concrete or wood fresh, clean and bright. Although you could try scrubbing the patio or deck surface using a bristle brush, it’s usually worth the expense of renting a pressure washer for the job.
A pressure washer will be able to remove even deeply embedded dirt with ease, returning your patio or deck surface to a “like new” condition. If you’re ready to get your patio or deck cleaned up for spring, here are some tips that will help you get the job done right.
Of course, a pressure washer is the primary piece of equipment that you will need for this job. You can usually find pressure washers available for rent at home improvement centers. If you have a frequent need to clean your deck or patio pavers, you could also buy your own pressure washer. However, the models available for rent are usually more powerful than the home units you can buy, which means that they will work quicker and more efficiently.
When renting a pressure washer, be sure you receive full instructions on how to use it safely.You’ll also need the fan tip designed to be used with the pressure washer, as well as a source of water. You can simply use liquid dish soap as your cleaning agent, or purchase a commercially prepared solution designed for your patio or deck surface. You’ll also want to wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying dirt or debris.
Prepare to Clean
Before turning the pressure washer on, you’ll need to clear all patio furniture, décor and plants from the patio or deck surface. The water spray from a pressure washer can be quite strong, so you don’t want to risk damaging any other surfaces or objects. Use a broom to sweep away any loose leaves, dirt or mud. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, fill the tank of the pressure washer with water, adding the liquid dish soap or cleaning agent. Place the fan tip onto the pressure washer nozzle, making sure it is firmly attached. Then, put on your safety goggles.
Cleaning the Patio or Deck
Following the manufacturer’s instructions, adjust the power washer to the proper level and turn it on. Start by directing the spray away from you, towards the patio surface. Then, move the spray pattern closer, holding the spray tip approximately 12 inches above the patio or deck surface. Hold the nozzle so that the tip is slightly angled towards to the surface, keeping the water spray in motion at all times.
Clean the entire patio surface, working in long even strokes. If you notice that the surface isn’t getting as clean as you’d like, you can move the tip just a bit closer to the surface. Once the entire surface has been washed, turn the pressure washer off and refill with clean water. Repeat the spraying process over the entire surface to rinse completely. When done, let the surface dry before replacing the patio or deck furnishings.