If you own or are renting a home with a wood deck, you know how wonderful they can be. You have a place where a small table and some lounge chairs will fit nicely. Perhaps you have a BBQ there, along with some other furniture. It’s nice to sit there in the evening with a tall glass of lemonade or your other favorite beverage and just relax, watching the kids play on the lawn, watching the birds at their feeders, or just enjoying the atmosphere.

You also know how dirty a deck can get. It’s necessary, from time to time, to clean that deck. There are a number of ways you can do this,some of them better than others, and some that will help preserve your deck. One good way to do this is to pressure wash your deck. It sounds simple, but there’s a proper way to do it. After all, you certainly don’t want to ruin your deck.

Most power washers come with varying pressures and attachments used for cleaning. Decks made of soft wood such as cedar and pine require you to use pressures at somewhere between 500 and 600 psi. For harder woods, don’t exceed 1200 pounds per square inch.

The next consideration is attachments. You want to start with a fan tip to avoid gouging holes in your wood. You can also use a rotating tip.

You begin your washing process by pointing your pressure tip away from people, away from appliances or glass windows, and at least two feet away from the wood deck. You want to make sure you get no closer than 12 inches, unless you are using a very low pressure. You might want to test this procedure on a piece of wood that does not show all the time.

The key is to maintain a distance of about 12 inches from the deck at all times when you’re washing it. You should begin next to the house and work your way outward.

The washing process should involve working with the grain, and overlapping each stroke to avoid “cleaning edges.”

Keep in mind that, when wood gets wet, the fibers tend to raise, so you’ll want to get out the sandpaper and work on those fibers to avoid splinters. Use 60 to 80 grit sandpaper with an orbital sander. Make sure the pad is about five inches in circumference. You want to work the deck surface and the handrails.

When you’re finished, you should have a nice clean deck without any splinters.