Here’s the deal. The first thing to know about pressure washers is the amount of pressure you will be using. If you’re renting a pressure washer, you will really need to pay attention to the pressure and the changeable tips. A zero-degree tip will clean/remove anything known to man. I’ll explain these tips in more detail later on.
Now, the most important thing to know about cleaning your deck is the cleaner you will be using. Now don’t be cheap here. Buy a real good cleaner, ask the salesperson for a good one. Trust me, cheap ones really don’t do anything. But one never knows about those brands you never heard of.
I like to use a bug/plant sprayer to apply the cleaner on the deck. Spray it on nice and evenly, starting on the decking and working your way up to the railings. Why? Simple, because if you start on the railings first you risk applying too much on the decking areas. These areas would have the cleaner on for a much longer time and will bake into the deck. You could end up with an uneven clean spot.
So now that you’re cleaning solution has had time to sit, it’s time to start blasting away with the pressure washer. Be sure to use the correct bit, try the 45-degree one first, and always stay about 12 inches from the wood. Just at first until you get the idea. NEVER EVER turn the spray on while pointing at the deck. And never turn it off while spraying the deck itself. Just point away before and after each area. What happens when you first squeeze the trigger is that a ton of pressure is released and WILL mark the wood real nice like a knife. And when you stop (release) the trigger, you’ll end up doing what all of us would do which is to try and stay in the spot for that extra one second, resulting in another nice mark.
So here you go, once you start, keep going! Starting and stopping too many times will result in many lines (marks) in your deck.
I like to tell people to start with the bottom of their deck first. This way you can play around until you get it right. Seems simple enough, and for the most part, it is. However, holding the nozzle too close and your wood decking can get ripped apart pretty good. Remember this, it’s the cleaning where you want to spend the money, and not in the pressure washer. For most good cleaners you won’t even need to use a pressure washer.
Just the other day I was teaching one of my boys how to use a pressure washer and what a zero-degree tip can do. One was how easy it will cut you like a knife. This was on a low-pressure (1500psi) machine! Yea, when I wasn’t looking he tried it. Yup, you guessed it, a nice cut on his finger.
Sometimes getting to the higher spots is not that easy. However, they do make a long extension. The one I’m using in the below picture is not even extended. It can reach about 25 feet high. A very cool tool, but also very heavy.