NEVER Pressure Wash A Deck!

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This is great information. You’ll be glad you read it.

Via Jay Markanich (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC):

I tell my neighbors.  I tell my clients.  I tell everybody who will listen.  NEVER pressure wash a deck!  When the pressure-wash companies send their college kids to knock on my door to “wash” my deck, I tell them why they should not be doing that to decks!  When I see their trucks*, they advertise cleaning decks, patios, siding, roofs – you name it!  Don’t do it!

The older the deck, the worse the wood reacts to pressure washing.  The big mistake is that companies and homeowners have a tendency to set the pressure way too high.  But even at low pressures the deck can become damaged.

What does pressure washing decks do?

  • It removes loose material and leaves a gafillion dangerous splinters and gaps.  Those gaps open up further letting in more damaging sun and water.
  • It removes the natural oils in the wood that are not replaced with sealants.
  • It causes wood to dry quickly causing cupping and warping.
  • It causes damage.
  • It loosens nails as the wood expands.
  • It can cause water to enter the house.

So what to do instead?

There are various, excellent, gentle cleansers out there.  Be sure to select cleansers that do not have caustic lye or acid, or say not to use around children, pets or water features.  A company called Dekswood makes an excellent cleanser that can be followed with sealants.  And the so-called “oxygen” cleansers, with the active ingredient of sodium percarbonate, are great and don’t damage the wood, the kids or pets, the house or the yard.

You MUST seal your deck after cleaning.  The sun does more damage to your deck than rain and snow.  BE SURE TO USE A SEALANT THAT HAS UV INHIBITORS IN ADDITION TO WATER PROTECTION.  Read the label.  It will tell you what the contents are.  Water proofing alone is not enough.

My recommendation:  Keep your deck gently cleaned and protected and it will last many decades.  Not doing so makes it unsafe and age much faster.

* I once gave my spiel to a guy sitting in his company truck in a parking lot (with a smile on my face) and he told me he would NEVER pressure-wash his deck.  He said he sees what damage it can do later!

About susanmorrison

After living in Walpole, MA for many years, our family was transferred to the west coast when I was a senior in high school. In 1983, I graduated from Mission San Jose High School in Fremont, California. I am also a 1987 graduate of Providence College with a major in liberal arts and a minor in business administration. I bring to the table many years of sales experience beginning with thirteen years in Corporate Sales at Delta Air Lines. I'm the mother of three children and I'm very active within the Franklin, MA community. I am also a cancer survivor and support the American Cancer Society Charities.

My husband and I have built five homes and I've lived in a variety of other locations including Toronto Canada, Irving Texas and my current home in Franklin, MA. As a result of all my moving around, I came to the conclusion that I was an expert at moving...why not become an expert on the other side of the table? I earned my real estate license in 2004 and believe that I have found my true niche'. I can empathize with my clients on a variety of levels; whether they are buying or selling. And, like so many other good realtors out there, I believe that possessing good communication skills is one of the many keys to success.

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