It may seem like a bad idea to pressure wash a vinyl deck. After all, pressure washers are known for discharging water at such a high force that they can literally blast away stubborn dirt and grime. Used on the wrong type of material, a pressure washer can deal considerable damage.
Can You Pressure Wash a Vinyl Deck?
Vinyl decks are a popular choice among many homeowners. This is mainly due to the durability and visual appeal of vinyl. Plus, vinyl has a reputation for being low-maintenance. As with any outdoor surface, vinyl decks require consistent cleaning to maintain their beauty and longevity.
One popular method of cleaning is pressure washing. Pressure washing is highly effective because it can remove stains and long-term filth that normal scrubbing typically can’t. However, it also poses a risk of damage when used improperly.
This begs the question, “Is it OK to pressure wash a deck?”
If you have a vinyl deck, it is OK to use a pressure washer to clean it, but you must do so with caution. Vinyl decks are quite resilient and can withstand high pressure up to a certain point. Going beyond that point may result in irreversible damage.
To pressure wash a vinyl deck successfully, use the correct pressure setting and technique. In doing so, you can prevent damage. Even using the wrong nozzle tip for the job can lead to chips and notches.
How to Pressure Wash a Vinyl Deck
As explained above, there is a correct way to pressure wash your vinyl deck. Adopting this method lowers the likelihood of unintentional damage.
What’s the best way to clean a vinyl deck? Let’s take a look at the steps below.
1. Prepare the Area
Start by removing furniture, plants, and other debris from the deck. This way, you won’t blast them away with the pressure washer. Cover nearby plants or delicate surfaces with high-pressure water and detergents to avoid damaging them.
2. Select the Right Pressure Setting
Vinyl decks can take a certain level of pressure. When pressure washing them, use a setting between 1300 to 1600 PSI. This is generally the range that many consider safe yet effective. Don’t use a pressure setting higher than 2500 PSI.
3. Use the Correct Nozzle
Pressure washers come with different nozzles or tips. For vinyl decks, it is best to use a wide-angle nozzle or a fan tip to disperse the pressure evenly and prevent damage. Narrow or pinpoint nozzles concentrate pressure in one area, making them more likely to cause harm.
4. Do a Test Run
Don’t just start blasting away once you’re ready. Test the pressure setting and nozzle combination in an inconspicuous part of the deck. This way, if it does cause harm, guests won’t be able to see it. Additionally, you can adjust your pressure setting, nozzle, and distance accordingly.
5. Maintain a Safe Distance
How do you pressure wash a deck without damaging it? One key factor is distance. Make sure to keep at least 12 to 18 inches between the tip of the nozzle and the surface of the vinyl deck. Moving the tip too close to the vinyl membrane puts too much pressure on one space, causing damage.
6. Spray at the Correct Angle
Aim the nozzle at a downward angle to the deck planks. Make sure to follow the natural flow of the water. Never spray upward, as it may force water under the planks.
7. Work in Sections
Divide the area into manageable sections and work on one section at a time. This will ensure a more thorough cleaning.
8. Rinse Properly
After applying detergent to the deck, rinse it thoroughly with clear water. This ensures the removal of any residue or detergents.
The Benefits of Pressure Washing a Vinyl Deck
Pressure washing a vinyl deck offers several benefits. By pressure washing your vinyl deck, you can perform more efficient cleaning, extend the lifespan of the deck, enhance curb appeal, and prepare it for maintenance.
1. More Efficient Cleaning
Pressure washing removes dirt, grime, mildew, and other stains quicker than the old-fashioned cleaning method. Plus, it offers better results. If you don’t want to dedicate an entire day to scrubbing your deck, go for pressure washing.
2. Extend Deck Lifespan
Regular cleaning helps prevent the build-up of debris and organic matter — things that contribute to the deterioration of your deck. If you wish to prolong the useful life of your vinyl deck, pressure washing is an excellent way to do it.
3. Enhance Curb Appeal
A clean and well-maintained deck enhances the overall appearance of your outdoor space. This makes it more inviting to guests. If you decide to sell your home one day, a clean deck attracts more buyers and adds to the value of your property.
4. Maintenance Preparation
Pressure washing helps prepare the surface for maintenance tasks. If you want to seal or stain your deck, pressure washing it beforehand ensures better adherence and effectiveness.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Power Wash Vinyl Decking?
Yes, you can power wash vinyl decking, but using a low-pressure setting and the appropriate nozzle is crucial to avoid damaging the surface. The benefit of power washers is that they use heated water, which is more effective against oil stains and grease.
Is It Better to Pressure Wash or Clean a Deck?
Pressure washing is generally more efficient and effective in cleaning a vinyl deck than manual cleaning methods. It can save time and energy while achieving a thorough cleaning.
Does Pressure Washing Ruin a Deck?
When done correctly with the appropriate pressure and technique, pressure washing doesn’t ruin a deck. However, excessive pressure or improper nozzle usage can cause damage, so it’s essential to exercise caution and follow best practices.
Hire a Pro to Pressure Wash a Vinyl Deck
Pressure washing a vinyl deck can be a highly effective and efficient way to maintain its beauty and longevity. By following the proper procedures, including choosing the suitable pressure washer, using the correct nozzle, and maintaining a safe distance, you can clean your vinyl deck effectively without causing damage. Taking the DIY route, though, tends to do more harm than good. As such, hiring a professional to clean your deck is best.
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