DIY vs Hiring a Pressure Washing Pro
Decks must be pressure washed every so often to remove dirt, debris, mold and mildew, algae, which age your deck and make it look unattractive. Pressure washing is also necessary prior to re-staining or resealing. Most experts recommend pressure washing every two to three years to prolong the life of your deck.
Buying or renting a pressure washer is relatively inexpensive, but always hire a professional if you don’t know how to use the tool. Pressure washers are powerful machines, producing up to thousands of pounds per square inch (psi) of water pressure. If you’re not experienced, it’s easy to damage or ruin the deck by creating deep etchings.
Cost to Pressure Wash a Deck
The price of pressure washing depends on the size of the deck, its complexity of design and local labor rates. For a small- to mid-sized deck with a simple design, budget about $100 to $300. For larger, more decorative decks – including those that span multiple stories – budget closer to $300 to $500.
Looked at another way, pressure washing tends to cost about $0.50 to slightly more than $1 per square foot, on average.
Many homeowners who opt for professional pressure washing have the deck professionally stained or sealed at the same time. Companies tend to offer a discounted price for both services at once. Budget about $200 to $600 to have a small- to mid-sized deck pressure washed and stained or sealed. For a large deck, the price could reach $1,000 or more.
DIY Pressure Washing
If you’re comfortable using a pressure washer and want to tackle the job yourself, you’ll have to decide whether to rent or buy. Renting a pressure washer from the local hardware or home improvement store tends to cost about $50 to $90 per day, while buying a good pressure washer costs $200 to $300.
Here are some tips for the DIY-er to keep in mind, courtesy of About.com’s How to Power Wash a Wood Deck guide by Bob Formisano:
- Never start with the maximum pressure. Set your psi to 600 initially to see if that’s enough to get the job done. If not, slowly increase the pressure.
- Make sure the pressure washer is several feet above the deck when you first pull the trigger. Then lower the pressure washer to about a foot above the surface, moving back and forth with a sweeping motion.
- Always try to keep a consistent distance as you sweep.
- Always work with the grain, never against it.