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“I’ll Just Power Wash It”

How many times have I heard that?   Five of the most destructive words that have ever been used around a house. Power washing seems to be the answer to any project. Whether its painting, staining, applying sealers or just plain dirty, a power washer always works its way into the process. Keeping in mind that almost every material that is used around your house is made of a porous material, such as wood and yes even concrete, power washing may not be the best idea.

Where was the first power washer that you ever saw used? The car wash. If you’re washing your car or a boat or any hard, non-porous and non-organic material, the power washer is the tool!

One application for a power washer that I understand and I’ll give you a pass on is siding before painting. I HATE TO SCRAPE PAINT, so I’ll buy that one, but only if you let the siding dry completely before painting. Maybe as long as forty eight hours depending on the weather.

The WORST place to use a power washer is on a deck made of composite materials. I’m talking about material like Trex, TimberTech, ChoiceDek, Evergrain just to name a few. I’ve had customers call and say, “there was black spots on my deck so I power washed it. Now the deck is warping, swelling and popping the screws.” What I would like to say is, I wonder why, since you just injected it withpowerwasher who knows how many pounds per square inch of water. Most every manufacturer will tell you DO NOT power wash a composite deck. Instead, use a deck cleaner. I have personally used the Olympic Deck Wash with good success on my deck. You do have to give it a scrub or two but really, it’s not that bad. It should get rid of the black spots, which are mold, for around a year. We have a new product in stock at Porters that I want to try. It’s called Bravo from Encore Coatings. It’s supposed to seal composites and make them less susceptible to mold stains while restoring the deck to its original color and luster.

All wood decks are more forgiving to the power washer but still, damage can be done to the wood with a power washer. You want to get it clean before you put on the stain, but did you ever think that by power washing the wood, you are also tearing down the fiber of the wood? The result of that, splinters! Whatever happened to a little scrubbing and a thumb in the end of a hose?

So guys, holster the power washer. Don’t draw down on a defenseless deck, driveway or piece of siding unless you’re sure, there are no alternatives to power washing.

Kent Porter

Porters Building Centers