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Man Power Washing Deck

Homeowner's Guide

Deck and Fence Washing

Pressure washing your deck or fence can be a great way to brighten the wood and remove dirt and debris. This service is an essential preparation step for staining, painting, or sealing the wood surface.

Deck and Fence Washing

Pressure washing your deck or fence can be a great way to brighten the wood and remove dirt and debris. This service is an essential preparation step for staining, painting, or sealing the wood surface.



Benefits of Washing Wood

Getting your deck or fence pressure washed can be an excellent way to prevent rotting, prepare it for staining, and return the natural wood look. 


Wood surfaces, especially in areas that are shaded, are prone to growing moss, mildew, and algae due to the constant moisture that the surfaces can have without regular sun exposure. This growth will retain even more moisture and eat into the wood, causing the wood to get soft and rot. Rotten wood requires replacement which, in most cases, will cost thousands of dollars. If you happen to have rotten wood, or partially rotten or softened wood, proper cleaning and the use of wood hardener may help strengthen the surface, although it just delays the inevitable. 



To prevent rotting in the first place you should regularly pressure wash and stain, seal, or paint your exterior wood surfaces. EcoWash can help you with these needs.


Pressure washing is a necessary step in preparing a surface to be stained, sealed, or painted. This process typically involves a chemical algae treatment application and then the use of a surface cleaner or standard pressure washing to remove dirt and any algae, moss, or mildew from the surface. This ensures the surface is cleared of any debris and dirt so the stain or seal can absorb into the wood and keep moisture out. If you are painting the surface, this prep work ensures the paint will stick to the wood rather than sticking to the dirt and debris. When done to professional standards, pressure washing will give you extra years out of your staining, sealing, or painting project.



Pressure washing has the additional benefit of returning older, gray wood to its original color. Wood turns gray because the sun's UV rays break down parts of the cells causing color degradation. This occurs in any wood exposed to sunlight. When pressure washing, the damaged surface level parts of the wood may come off the surface. This is especially common with fences but less common on decks. This process results in exposing wood that has not degraded and therefore returns it to its original look. This process does not damage your wood when done correctly.


Some individuals are concerned that pressure washing wood will damage the surface or cause water to get into the wood so far that it will never get out. Damage is absolutely a possibility if your wood is in terrible shape or you have a non-professional perform the service or you do it yourself. When you hire a professional, not only will they know the pressure and techniques to use on various types of wood, but they will also have insurance in case anything goes wrong. As far as water getting too deep into the wood, this is not a serious concern. The water used in pressure washing absolutely can be pushed deeper into a surface than water from rain, but after a day or two there should be no more moisture in the wood than there normally would be. Extra time should be taken to allow the wood to dry if the weather is rainy or the wood is in a shaded area. 


Alternatives to Pressure Washing

Many stain manufacturers offer chemical alternatives to pressure washing. Most of these products have chemical wood brighteners, such as wood bleach, and a surfactant, similar to dish soap. 


Although the stain manufacturers may recommend their specific product as preparation for their wood stain, pressure washing with the use of a chemical such as sodium hypochlorite will do a much more thorough job of cleaning the surface and removing any dirt on the surface. 



If you are attempting to prepare a deck for staining yourself, the use of these chemical mixes will be technically sufficient, but will not ensure the deck stain lasts as long as it could. 


Fences are a better candidate for chemical cleaning. Fences typically have less dirt stuck to them as they are never walked on, unlike a deck. The chemical cleaning process kills all mold or algae on the surface and brightens the wood. This brightening is not the same as the brightening done by pressure washing. Pressure washing actually removes a tiny amount of wood from the surface to expose wood that is original. Chemicals will just bleach the wood, which just makes it brighter. This brightening is safe for the wood and is a better idea than pressure washing if you have a very old fence. 

If you have an old fence or deck that needs refinishing, there are multiple options to choose from to restore that wood surface. Pressure washing is ideal for decks and newer fences and chemical treatments can be an excellent choice for an older fence. If you are looking for expert assistance on your project, look no further than EcoWash.

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Sodium Hypochlorite

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