How to Pressure Wash The Deck Before Painting?

Due to harsh weather, outdoor spaces continuously demand maintenance. Wooden decks no doubt give life to outdoor areas. But weather changes leave their stains on the wood. After some time, it needs refinishing and painting to look worthy. So how to pressure wash the deck before painting?

For retouches, power washing comes into the picture. Power washing and refurbishing the deck with new paint increases the lifeline of the deck.

When it comes to pressure washing, many people decide to do it on their own without knowing how to do it properly. This consequently results in various issues that consume more time, effort, and money.

This all can be avoided with little knowledge about pressure washers and how to safely use them on wood decks. Here in the article, you’ll get to know how to use pressure washers before painting them freshly.

Why use pressure washers before painting?

We’ll advise you to must pressure wash the deck before applying paint to it. Because you have to make sure the surface is clean from any dirt, debris, or stubborn stains. If the deck is not properly cleaned new paint will suffer to stick and penetrate the surface.

This will waste all your efforts as the finish will not look as you might have pictured and due to uneven sticking of paint, more likely will cause premature peeling of the paint. Uncleaned blotches will peek through new paint and will vain your efforts.

Therefore, you must clean the surface with a pressure washer. If you’re unfamiliar with the process don’t worry we’ve explained the procedure in detail with all the cautionary tips you must keep in mind for effective and safe cleaning.

How To Pressure wash The Deck before painting?

Things required to pressure wash the deck before painting:

  • A pressure washer with a 40˚ or 25˚ nozzle tip
  • Sandpaper (preferably random orbit sander)
  • Deck stripper/ brightener

Steps To Pressure wash The Deck before painting?

  1. Clear the area

Before pressure washing, clear the area from furniture, toys, plants, or any equipment that can disturb the pressure washing process. Wrap up electric outlets and power cords. As electricity does not mix well with water.

  1. Select the pressure washer

Choosing the right pressure washer is a must considered step. As wooden decks are fragile surfaces and direct high pressure can damage the surface rather than aiding you in cleaning.

Choose pressure washers with a low-pressure setting or one ranging between 1000 to 2500 PSI.

Preferably use electric pressure washers for deck cleaning because gas-powered pressure washers are heavy-duty pressure washers. If your newbie they will be a bit tricky to handle for you.

  1. Select the right nozzle and pressure

Always select the right pressure if you are working on a soft and fragile wood surface. Right pressure comes with the right choice of nozzle for deck cleaning.

Spray the lowest pressure with the nozzle tip of 40 degrees.

These nozzles spray at a wider degree therefore direct stream pressure is dispersed and emit low-pressure spray.

If the stains are hard to get rid of or your concerned surface can withstand high pressure you can also use 15 or 25 degrees nozzle tips.

It varies on the situation of your surface. If making choice is confusing you, simply use a rotating nozzle and adjust the setting by keen observation.

  1. Test the pressure washer setting

Never spray directly on the surface. Take some practice on the unremarkable area where little damage won’t hurt you.

Start with a low setting and then increase gradually. You have to observe it sharply to avoid any potential damage.

  1. Start power washing

After successful testing, you can start now pressure washing the deck. Pull the trigger to ignite the unit.

Keep the distance of the nozzle of few feet from the surface. Start cleaning the deck similar to the sweeping method.

Start from the inner side and then gradually move towards the outside. The best approach is to in smaller sections and slightly overlap these sections to ensure even cleaning. Without leaving spots or edges.

If you notice some edges need more pressure you can set it to high pressure. But do not exert pressure at the same spot for a longer time.

  1. Sanding after pressure washing

Once you are done with pressure washing leave the wood to dry. Before sanding wood should be dried properly. Sanding is important because after pressure washing fiber rises and can cause splintering.

To avoid rough surfaces and to have a smooth base for painting you have to sand the entire deck. This will help you to attain smooth finishing and let the wood soak in paint and fill in pores if any.

Also Read: How To Pressure Wash Pool Deck

Problems that can arise during power washing

Although power washing does not damage the deck if operated properly. But if you go up from recommended pressure setting it can harm the wood.

You can paint the deck without pressure washing. Pressure washing is inevitable if the surface has not been cleaned for a long period.

Pros of painting deck:

  • Paint imposed a thick layer on wood, hence providing protection.
  • Durable addition and increases the longevity of the wooden deck.
  • Hide imperfections if left any after sanding
  • A lot of color options.

Cons of painting deck:

  • Hides the beauty of wood.
  • Makes the surface slippery, especially after a rainy season.


  1. How long to wait after pressure washing before applying new paint?

Ideally, you must wait for 48 hours before applying a new coat on a freshly pressure-washed deck. If less humidity is in the air then 24 hours would be sufficient enough. The better the dried surface better the outcome will be. Giving it proper time will benefit you in the long term.

  1. How do I know the deck surface is dry enough to apply new paint?

You can use the sprinkle test to ensure the deck is well-dried. To sprinkle the test drop some water on the wooden surface if the water is soaked within 10 minutes it means the surface is ready to be coated with new paint. And if the water stays on the surface it means it needs more time to dry completely.


Repainting the deck gives a new life to your outdoor space. If it is not done properly all your efforts and investment could go in vain. So doing it properly can save you from undesired outcomes.

If following the method one on one still is not satisfying you. It’s time to get help professionally.

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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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