...: Marsh Chatter
Power Washing - a good thing!
This deck came with the house. We don't know how old it is, but we've been here for over 18 years... so its been awhile! We haven't really used it that much, so cleaning it was never a priority. We figured it would just keep doing that 'gray aging thing'...
What Is It?
What you see in the before picture is not just 'natural aging'... that grayness is combined with wind-blown parking lot dirt and because it is pretty much 95% shaded... algae... making it very slippery when wet. I've known about the algae for several years - but didn't want to use chemicals, because we have a number of plantings right beside the deck. So we just left it...
18+ years of dirt & algae
Enter the Power Washer
About 3 weeks ago - I finally popped for an electric power washer. A gas unit just seemed like overkill for my potential usage. The local box store had a few units on sale - so we became the proud owners of a unit with 35' electric cord, 25' hose, and up to 1850 psi. I first used it on our aluminum attached porch - the roof and gutter. What took me about 2 hours last year to scrub-brush clean and rinse with regular hose --- took about 1 hour with the power washer - no scrubbing, no soap. Just WOW.
So - after that, I took on portions of our deck - front porch, etc. The Before picture, was the last part to be done. It is about 15 feet long and roughly 9ish feet wide. Also, the last bit of siding needed to be done.
I completed it over 2 days... about 3-4 hours each day. Yes... it took that long! Some of that stuff was really 'stuck' and jetting in-between the wood took a bit of time to knock out the Maple tree spinners, leaves, and some small twigs.
Looks like new
Everything looks great now. I'm actually amazed it came out as well as it did. For the last few years, I've been scoping out options - either replace or cover over. But now - I'm thinking of either stain or other 'miracle product' is all that it needs. Either way - I will likely do a quick power wash once a year just so it doesn't get like that Before picture again.
If your own deck needs cleaning like this - be very careful - it is very easy to 'cut' the wood. Use the power - but open it up into a fan (a bit)... otherwise you will leave very obvious lines in the wood. I tested my unit out, to find out what worked the best. I found that a slight-fan held about 4-6 inches away from the wood provided good cleaning. When I needed a bit more direct power, I just moved the nozzle a bit closer.