Can You Damage A Deck With Power Washer?

Can You Damage A Deck With a Power Washer? There is no doubt that a power washer is a powerful tool for the effective cleaning of your deck. You can get rid of years of layered filth and grime in no time. But when you are working with high-power tools there is always a chance of potential damage.

Especially, when you are naive or know little about power washing a deck. When you heard it from friends or relatives and got on a mission to do it on your own, you can ruin your deck. Well, you must be aware you have open doors for potential danger.

Deck Damage From Power Washing

In this article, we’ve discussed how power washing can damage your deck or specifically a wooden deck. The causes that led to such damage are also explained.

This will help you to avoid such situations and make you compatible to use power washers with expertise. So that you can get desired results without damage to our deck or other surfaces as well.

Also Read :

How to Pressure Wash The Deck Before Painting or Staining?

How to Pressure Wash a Deck to Remove Paint?

Do Pressure Washers Inflict Any Damage?

A short and precise answer to this question is, yes it can.

Now the question arises if it is prone to damage then why pressure washers are so hyped and well-known for their effective cleaning? 

The main reason for the damage is people are not aware of how to use the power washers properly. The danger is evident in the name “power washer”. When you are dealing with power you must be capable to handle the pressure.

The pressure of the mid-duty or a heavy-duty power washer is so high that if not handled properly it can damage the same as balancing Honda Civic on a quarter. 

Can You Damage A Deck With a Power Washer?

As discussed above, if you are unaware of how to deal and work with a power washer within no time you’ll convert the smooth treated wood into splinters and weather-beaten wood/fiber.

Moreover, aiming the pressure gun wrongly can strip away the finish on the deck right away and it can also cause the wood to warp.

However, power washing should not be avoided just because it involves risk. This all can be avoided by simply little patience and careful use of these machines. 

Why do power washers give damage

There are several factors involved. The most commonly observed factors are explained below:

  • Material 

As power washers handle various surfaces of different materials. The pressure also varies from surface to surface. Damage occurs when you do not know which surface can handle high pressure and which can’t. for example, for a wood deck, low pressure is ideal.

When you increase the pressure, it causes the fiber to rise. While concrete surfaces can uphold high-pressure welly. 

  • Distance

Distance matters a lot in pressure washing. You have to consider the distance between the surface and the washer while cleaning.

For increasing the pressure, you will require to move the washer nearer to the surface. And to decrease the pressure you will do the opposite. For instance, for deck cleaning, you’ll require to maintain at least a distance of 10 to 12 inches. 

  • Nozzle

Power washers come with a wide range of nozzles. Each of them has a different purpose and suits different surfaces. Go through the manual description to know which nozzle will suit your deck surface. For deck cleaning, a nozzle with a wide degree works best. 

  • Cleaning solution or detergent

Choosing the wrong type of detergent can also result in unfavorable results. Make sure the solution you are using is compatible with your washer. 

  • Pressure level

When it comes to pressure washing, people get excited over high pressure and try it on the wrong surfaces. Choosing the right level of pressure is highly important. Set the pressure according to the change in surface. You can also determine the right pressure with 

  • Long-time in a single area

As it is obvious if you’ll put high pressure on the same area for a long while. It will cause damage. While using power washing make sure to keep the wand moving and not target the same area for a longer period. 

What type of damage is caused to the deck by power washing?

Due to improper use and negligence, power washing can leave several types of damage. Some of them are listed below:

  • Wood fiber rises, may also cause splintering and cracks in wood
  • Paint stripping
  • Dents in vinyl railing
  • Tattered windows
  • If not dried properly after cleaning, mildew and fungus may grow back underneath the siding. 

The above-mentioned damages are still materialistic but if you’d do it carelessly you can put yourself at risk also. There are a number of injuries reported while pressure washing. Most of them were due to using it the wrong way, being irresponsible, and misbalancing while working on ladders. Sharp water streams scraping the skin or feet due to not wearing safety gadgets and other small negligence leading to hefty hospital bills. 

How to prevent damage to the deck by power washing?

As we’ve explained thoroughly why damages happen. Now we’ll discuss how can we avoid them or at least minimize their effect. 

To do so:

  • Avoid using too much pressure unnecessarily. Adding too much or too low won’t do the job. Choosing the right pressure is a crucial part of power washing. 
  •  Mostly, homeowners do not consider GPM seriously, but it matters a lot because it determines how much water the washer will spray out in a minute. 
  • Keep the appropriate distance between the surface and the washer
  • Do not leave the washer at the same point for a long time. Keep it moving around. For better results try to do the cleaning in sections. It would make cleaning quick and easier to maintain. 
  • Start the cleaning with wider nozzles as they spray water at a wider angle with low pressure. Preferably you can use a rotatory nozzle to adjust the nozzle spray accordingly. 
  • Use proper cleaning solutions for power washing. Avoid grainy solutions or solutions containing bleach. 


Power washing is proper art. Either get your hands on it to do it skillfully. Or let it be done with the help of professionals to avoid any potential damage. Although precautionary steps are not too hard to follow if you do not feel easy to do it leave it to professionals.  

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Flinn Milan

Flinn Milan is the content director at Washwith. He is responsible for developing helpful content in collaboration with other hard-working team members. Over several years, his content strategy is mainly focused on describing and highlighting every product with its positive and negative points

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