With the Fourth of July right around the corner, many homeowners scramble to prepare their decks and patios for backyard barbecues and summer celebrations. And while pressure washing might seem like the obvious answer to removing all the dirt and grime, it isn’t the best solution for wood surfaces.
Here are three reasons to consider putting away the pressure washer this holiday and use our soft washing deck & patio cleaning services instead to prep for the patriotic festivities.
High-Pressure Washing Raises the Wood Grain
When the powerful stream of water from a pressure washer disturbs the delicate fibers in the wood, it causes them to stand up and create a fuzzy, hairy texture on the surface.
While wood fiber raising can happen more prominently on softer woods such as cedar or pine, it can occur on any wood if the pressure washer is used improperly. For instance, using a narrow, concentrated nozzle or tip can intensify the pressure on a specific area, causing the wood fibers to lift more easily. Holding the nozzle too close to the wood surface or staying in one spot for too long can also exacerbate the problem.
However, even if you were to use the proper nozzles and techniques, it still wouldn’t address the pressure problem. And if “fuzzies” have already occurred on your wood deck, you can’t merely stain it and call it a day. The only way to remove the dead wood fibers is to sand your deck. So, if you have to sand your deck’s top layer, would pressure washing even be worth it?
Pressure Washing Techniques Can Cause Stripes
When pressure washing a wood deck, if the pressure is applied unevenly or inconsistently across the surface, it can result in dark or light stripes that resemble the markings on a tiger’s coat. “Tiger striping” describes this uneven or streaky appearance that looks unsightly and creates pockets where water can accumulate and potentially crack the wood in winter.
Moreover, staining your deck won’t hide its stripes, as even a thicker or opaque stain will reveal visible pressure-washing holes. Likewise, wood filler won’t resolve the issue, as it will eventually separate due to the wood’s natural expansion and contraction. Therefore, the best way to avoid “tiger striping” is to avoid high-pressure deck & patio cleaning services altogether.
Excessive Water Intrusion Causes Foundational Damage
It’s no secret that wood decks endure a lot of wear and tear due to weather conditions, foot traffic, and spills from various sources – anything from acidic drinks and wines to chemicals from hot tubs and pools. So, when cleaning your deck, why would you want to wreak more havoc on its structure?
Unfortunately, that happens when you use a pressure washer on your wood deck. Pressure washing can force water into the wood fibers, which can cause excessive swelling, warping, and even rot over time. It’s like putting your deck on the fast track to destruction. Even though pressure washing might seem like the go-to solution to clean your deck, it can cause more harm than good in the long run.
So, the best approach is to avoid excessive amounts of water and ensure proper drying after pressure washing, or better yet, consider alternative deck & patio cleaning services that won’t cause any further damage to your deck.
Prep Your Deck for the Fourth with Soft Washing!
While lowering pressure settings and perfecting techniques can minimize effects like fuzzies and tiger stripes, there’s an even better solution: soft washing.
This gentle, low-pressure technique uses safer, effective cleaners to penetrate deep into the algae and buildup that cause staining and discoloration without causing any damage to your deck or surrounding landscaping features. No need to spend time sanding or staining to counteract the damaging and unsightly effects of pressure washing before your next holiday celebration.
So, start the holiday weekend by giving your deck or patio the best clean possible. Switch to soft washing and enjoy the benefits of a safer, gentler approach that eliminates the need for harsh pressure washing techniques. Contact us at Baker SoftWash today to schedule your soft washing deck & patio cleaning services and spend the Fourth of July enjoying your beautifully clean outdoor space.