Pressure Washing Decks
A beautiful wooden deck, properly maintained, can add greatly to aesthetic and resale values of a home.
Just look around, decks are almost everywhere. Not just houses but both municipal and commercial facilities use wooden decks and walkways extensively. Because of this pressure washing decks can be a great profit center for your business or even whole business.
The great news is that decks need maintenance. As beautiful as a wooden deck can be it can be a real eyesore if not properly maintained.
Why Decks Need Maintenance
When a wood deck absorbs water natural resins and color can be washed out over time.
The combination of wood and water creates a food source for mildew, fungus and mold promoting their growth. Wood and water combined with dirt and even air pollutiom will also contribute to proliferation of mildew, fungus and molds. One thing to remember is that a wet deck with a thick coating of mildrew is very slick and slippery. This creates one heck of a "slip and fall" liability problem. Keep this in mind when speaking to decision makers of commercial and municipal facilities.
There is a learning curve involved when getting proficient enough to clean/seal/restore wood decks for public. It is best to learn on your own deck or on decks of close friends and relatives. When learning make sure to do more than one. Different decks can present different challenges.
When organizing your project or preparing your bid make some simple observations.
Has deck ever been sealed? Is there old sealer that needs to be stripped and reapplied?
Do I have all chemicals, tools and equipment required for this project?
( we will include a sample list at end of this article)
Is there any damaged or rotted wood that needs to be replaced?
( Now is a good time to measure.)
Are any missing or loose bolts, nails or screws?
Are there any adjacent bushes or plants that need to be protected?
Are there any electrical appliances, outlets, light fixtures or telephone jacks?
Note: these will have to be sealed water tight. Remember water and electricity is a dangerous combination. Decks in upscale neighborhoods will probably contain most of these challenges. Make sure circuit breakers will be accessible to you prior to starting.
Ok you've cleared everything from deck and placed it far enough to be out of harms way. You've locked out circuit breakers that provide electrical service to deck area. Outlets, fixtures and jacks have been sealed water tight.
Close proximity plants and bushes have been protected with a clear plastic tarp.
Loose bolts. nails and screws have been tightened or replaced.with galvanized fasteners.
Rotted or damaged wood has been replaced.
Only now are you really ready to begin.
Clear Deck of Dirt and Debris
With a stiff bristle broom or a leaf blower clear all loose dirt and debris from surface of deck..
What Chemicals to Use
Sodium Hydroxide ( a high caustic chemical) is very popular with professional deck cleaners. Because this chemical does most of work very low pressures of 500-1200 PSI can be used which helps avoid condition known as "furring".
Safety note: Always wear headgear with face shields and cartridge type respirators when working with high caustic or acidic chemicals. This is not a suggestion it's a must.
While Sodium Hydroxide is a very effective chemical it will darken or may even blacken deck. Because of this PH will have to be nuetralized with a mild acidic solution. Acids used are Citrus,Oxalic or Phosphoric.
These acid solutions will act as brighteners. Neutralizing PH of a high caustic cleaner will restore a deck very close to it's original color.