Having the right equipment and knowing how to use it can cut the job time in half. Pressure washing is no different. Knowing what equipment you need and how to use it are two different things. Say you go to the local rental shop and rent a pressure washer to clean your deck. You are just assuming that all the appropriate parts are coming with the pressure washer you just rented right? Not necessarily, knowing what equipment you need will ensure you get home with the right tools for the job. No one likes running to their local hardware store ten times before they even get started. And we all know what that is like!
If renting a pressure washer, the main parts to be concerned about are the host, detergents, pressure washer, and tips. Knowing which tip to use for which job can go a long way to getting the results you want from power washing.
Let us look at a few different ways of using your pressure washing equipment.
When pressure washing your deck, it is a good idea to have the right tips on hand. The wrong tip and water pressure can ruin a deck in a hurry. Believe me; I have seen a lot of splintered or ruined decks because the person was using the wrong pressure, wrong chemicals, or wrong tip on their pressure washer. They just picked it up from the rental shop and went to town on their deck!
The main thing to remember when pressure washing a deck, is that rarely more than 1500 PSI is needed. You still must be careful though; even at this pressure you can still do damage to wood that has been wet or is already soft.
Using the right tip is also important for pressure washing your deck. As water exits the tip it goes into what is called a “fan” with the degree of the tip angle determining the fan size. No angle would be a fan size of zero, which is just a straight stream of water. For most deck wood, a 40’ to 60’ degree fan (tip) size is usually fine and recommended. Also, never engage the pressure washer trigger while you have the tip against the surface you are washing, always pull the trigger away and then bring the fan to the surface.
It is important to use the correct detergent or cleaner when washing a deck also. Remember, it is the four elements of basic pressure washing, including the chemical reaction of the cleaner, which should break down the dirt and grime, not the pressure of the water alone.
This outline of equipment used when power washing your deck is only a brief overview. We’ll be discussion in more detail the proper steps in washing your deck in a later post.