Sunday, December 15, 2013

Pressure wash damage

Pressure wash damage
Pressure wash scar that we were unable to remove completely

Pressure washing a deck as a form of restoration is not a good idea, especially not with redwood or cedar. By restoration I mean restoring the wood surface to its original color and smooth texture. If you or someone you have hired is using a pressure washer to strip paint or oxidized wood off of your soft wood (redwood, cedar, fir) deck then you should STOP!  

Pressure washing works great to remove dirt and deep clean the deck quickly, as well as gently (not visibly) raising the woods grain for better stain absorption.  Pressure washing as restoration will not return the color of the wood to its original color or texture. The best case scenario is MOST (not all) of the existing stain or paint or weathered wood will be removed but almost never ALL of it. This means you will have uneveness showing through the deck stain, which is either semi-transparent or translucent. 

Aggressive pressure washing will ALWAYS make the wood surface more rough, and never more smooth.  Also, even in the areas that do come out ok you will not get the reddish hue of redwood, only a blondish color that more closely resembles doug fir. We often see pressure washing that is so aggressive that gouges the wood deeply along the grain, sometimes so deep that we cannot sand it out, as in this picture: 

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