Whether you’re looking to re-stain a deck that has worn off into a dull desert tan or restore the original luster of a chestnut brown one, properly cleaning it with a pressure washer can help. This tool can quickly remove embedded dirt, mildew, and stains and open the wood pores for better penetration of new stain. But before you start spraying, make sure you understand the proper technique to avoid damage.
Start with the widest spray nozzle on your pressure washer. Aim the nozzle at the deck railings, then move to the boards. Wash in a sweeping motion, using long strokes that follow the wood grain and overlap slightly. For corners, use an “L” shaped sweep to avoid pushing grime into them. If you have a scrub brush, use it to work the cleaner into cracks and crevices. Keep the water flowing so that it doesn’t dry on the surface, and rinse again after scrubbing.
Afterwards, allow the deck to dry thoroughly for 24 to 48 hours before re-staining. If it’s still wet, the new stain won’t absorb and may look blotchy. If you plan to re-stain, use a semi-transparent stain that allows some of the natural wood fibers to show through. Check our stain ratings for top picks. The best stains also protect your deck from UV rays and moisture. They are formulated to resist the scrubbing that comes with regular power washing. To maintain the life of your stain, re-apply it every couple of years. clean deck with pressure washer