How to Breathe New Life Into Your Deck


It seemed like a huge hit when you first had people over to enjoy the sun on your balcony. Your deck was a hot spot for socializing, dining, and leisure for your friends and neighbors. Seeing the people you care about having fun on your new deck can’t help but make you smile.

Now that a few years have passed since your deck’s installation, it’s hard to imagine that it was ever any different than this. What gives? Most of it has been obscured by mildew, mold, dirt, cooking oil, black stains, compost, twigs, leaves, and bird poop. You feel like screaming and throwing your hands up in the air. Like the ‘ghost villages’ of the 19th century, your cherished deck has vanished.

But wait, hold on a second, don’t give up just yet; even if your deck looks hopeless, it can get a second chance, and you can give it that chance. For over a decade, I’ve been cleaning decks, and in that time, I’ve logged countless hours inspecting, sealing, fixing, and analyzing these structures. And I will teach you the most valuable things I’ve learned about revitalizing the past. Okay, kid, let’s get going.

Checking the Deck

Look your deck over carefully and mentally note any irregularities, damaged or rotten boards, or supports before you start thinking about fixing it. Examine in greater detail any patches that have faded noticeably due to direct exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays or those that fungi, mildew, mold, or compost have damaged. At least, that’s how I do it, and if I have to jot down this remark for future reference, so be it. It’s a good idea to see what you’re up against before washing your deck.

First, Get Ready

When I’m working to restore my deck, I first sweep it clean using both a large push broom and a standard sweeping broom. Everything from leaves and twigs to grass clippings and tree limbs gets swept up and placed in heavy-duty trash bags for later disposal. Before moving on to the next phase, check the deck is clean. Now is the time to replace any rotted or otherwise damaged boards and any posts or railings that may have been installed. Refinishing your deck without first removing and replacing any broken or decaying boards that are ugly and unsafe is unthinkable. Consequently, it would be best to use maximum effort to track down and dispose of damaged boards.

Second Stage of Preparation

Now that we have removed trash from the deck and fixed or replaced any rotting or damaged boards, we can move on to the next phase of our deck preparation project: pressure cleaning. In my opinion, a quality pressure washer capable of providing around 1500 psi (pounds per square inch) and around 3.5 to 4.0 gallons per minute is essential for thoroughly washing your deck. You can rent a pressure washer of similar grade from a local rental shop. Alternatively, you could rent a pressure washer from a local hardware store. Get a contract cleaner if you don’t feel confident utilizing this equipment. Call around to cleaners in your neighborhood and ask for a free estimate; prices are getting cheaper and cheaper all the time. If, on the other hand, you are of the “I’ll do it myself” school of thought, read on.

Ensure you follow all applicable safety procedures before pressure cleaning your deck. Always refer to the manufacturer’s manual before using their product. Don’t be shy about asking the rental staff for guidance if you have questions about how to use the pressure washer properly; if they cannot answer your questions, they should be able to put you in touch with a manufacturer representative who can. A pressure washer can become a lethal weapon capable of maiming or destroying human life in the blink of an eye. Read the manual and watch the safety video before using the pressure washer.

Before washing your deck, ensure all your plants, shrubs, and flowers are safe. Before starting, check twice to see that the kids and the animals are safely out of the way. Keep a wary eye out for anything that might wander into your work area; if you spot something, immediately halt your progress until the space is again free of distractions.

Cleaning your deck with a pressure washer is simple, but you must pay attention and stay vigilant the entire time. Wood can be harmed if the spray wand is held too close to the surface or in one location for too long. Please do not hold the spray wand in one place for too long, as this might cause the wood to warp or crack. When washing your deck, it’s essential to avoid letting the spray wand sit in one place for too long. The wood will last much longer if you do this. Get the Scoop

American Painting and Pressure Cleaning, Inc. is owned and operated by Donald Thomas. For further long-form features and other content, please visit our website.


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