You see your neighbor Joe just bought himself a brand spanking new pressure washer. He out there all day cleaning everything in sight and he makes it looks easy.
Well hold on there for a moment. It really not as easy as it looks and if you not careful someone can get hurt or you are going to damage what you are trying to clean.
If you going to rent a pressure washer let the person renting it to you know this is your first time using this type of machine. Let them know exactly what you are trying to accomplish,like cleaning a deck. Have them show you how the machine works. That means starting and shutting it off, also any safety precautions. Don’t put gas in the tank when the engine is hot,don’t point the pressure washing wand toward someone when washing,wear safety goggles when pressure washing,etc.
Have them explain the different cleaning tips that are use for pressure washing, if you are washing a deck you want a tip that will not cut into the wood. It would be better to experiment first on a piece of wood to see exactly how the machine handles and what cleaning tips work best.
The smaller the cleaning tip number the more damage it can to do. Some cleaning tips are color coded so make sure you know which cleaning tip you are going to use before starting to pressure wash. I use stainless steel tips that have numbers already mark on them. The numbers are mark in degrees 15 degree,25 degree and 40 degree. Yes there is a O degree but that’s best left for the experts to use so you won’t do any damage.
I personally like to use a 15 degree tip when I pressure washing victoria decks and for your information tips wear down the more you use them. Its not uncommon to put five hundred hours on a cleaning tip in a season and a tip that’s has a little wear is great for pressure washing softer wood such as cedar.
When I pressure wash a softer wood such as cedar I would suggest a 25 degree cleaning tip and and stand away from the wood so there is no chance of cutting into the cedar. You have to be extra careful working with softer wood.
Its a good idea to use a deck cleaner before you pressure wash your deck. Using a deck cleaner is good for two reasons. One it insures that you get all the mold and dirt out of the pores of the wood and two,you can use a higher number degree tip because you will not need as much pressure when washing. This will help prevent doing any damage to your deck,also using a deck cleaner with pressure washing is the best method of cleaning decks.
If you are unsure of yourself when pressure washing you can always use the highest degree cleaning tip (40 degree) and wash the deck twice. Sometimes I do this on older cedar decks,the cedar wood is softer and the age of the deck means you have to be more careful. You learn this from experience,its a shocking experience when you blast through a cedar board for the first time.
Start the pressure washer up in the yard,let it run for a couple of minutes and start using the wand to just get the feel of the pressure washer. When your ready try a small test area or better yet a small piece of wood to see the results. When you are ready for your deck start away wood about two or three feet and move the wand toward the wood slowly.
You don’t want to start and stop in the middle of a board this will leave small cut marks if you don’t know what you are doing. You want to start above and at the beginning of the board come down slowly and wash the entire board bringing the wand up slowly at the end of the board. Rinse and repeat,lets do the next board.
When doing the pickets (sometimes called rails) do not use a deck cleaner just pressure wash using the technique of moving the wand slowly toward the pickets and do one at a time. Note,deck cleaner will cause the pickets to streak. Only use deck cleaner on the floor boards of the deck.