How Much Does It Cost to Power Wash a Deck?
Power washing a deck is an affordable process that not only keeps this extension of living space clean and inviting but also helps to extend its lifespan. The average cost to power wash a deck is $150, with a range between $90 and $770.
- Typical Range: $90 to $770
- National Average: $150
Decks are the perfect outside area to entertain family and friends on special occasions. They also provide a secluded outdoor space to relax and appreciate nature without getting dirty. Decks add comfortable livable square footage to homes while also boosting their curb appeal and value.
But just like any other area of the home, decks need maintenance from time to time. Power washing helps to remove dirt and grime from a deck’s surface, improving its appearance and extending its lifespan.
Homeowners can expect to pay between $90 and $770 to power wash their deck, with the average pressure-washing cost coming in at $150. The cost to power wash a deck depends on several factors, including how big the deck is, what material the deck is made from, and whether additional repairs or projects are on the roster. However, professionals report that most decks cost about $2 per square foot to power wash.
Power Washing vs. Pressure Washing
The terms “power washing” and “pressure washing” are often used interchangeably. But homeowners should know that the processes are not identical. While both use water under high pressure, only power washing involves heat. This gives it a few advantages but also raises a few concerns when trying to determine when to power wash a surface and when to pressure wash it instead.
While both processes can help to renew the appearance of a deck, pressure-washing isn’t always enough. If a deck is still covered in stubborn dirt, dust, and other debris, power washing may be the next best step. This process can also strip off layers of old stain or paint, making it a necessary step for routine deck maintenance.
Homeowners should know that there are risks associated with both methods. Even when a low-pressure machine is used to wash a deck, there is the possibility for splintered wood or chipped materials. Homeowners should also understand that boards damaged from power washing may no longer be covered under any applicable warranties. This is why it is recommended to leave both power washing and pressure washing to the professionals. Homeowners who do want to tackle this project on their own should research how to pressure wash a deck before starting.
Factors in Calculating the Cost to Power Wash a Deck
How much does power washing cost? It depends. No two decks are the same, which means the pressure-washing cost for a small, simple deck is likely to be much different than the cost of pressure washing a large, multilevel deck with unique features and customizations. Decks with built-in seating or kitchens can also cost more to pressure wash, especially if there are electrical components to keep in mind.
For the homeowner looking for pressure-washing prices and rates, it may help to know that the national average is $150 for the service. Multiple factors contribute to a power-washing cost range between $90 and $770, including deck size, material, and even geographic location.
Deck size is probably the most influential factor when it comes to the cost to power wash a deck. With rates at an average of $2 per square foot, it costs around $480 for a 12-foot by 20-foot deck to be power washed. However, these rates can be as low as $0.25 per square foot or as high as $5 per square foot, depending on location and project difficulty and scope.
The material of a deck plays an important role in how much it costs to power wash. This is because different materials have unique properties that a power washing professional needs to understand and work around.
For example, some types of wood are very soft and will take more finesse than, say, a metal deck to clean without damage. The average cost to clean a metal deck is $165, while a wood deck costs an average of $190. A wood deck made from a more exotic hardwood may cost less.
Composite decking is the most expensive to clean, coming in at an average of $210. While composite is still a great decking option because of its longevity and low maintenance, washing it takes a bit more time. Pressure washing alone isn’t enough, and the surface must be scrubbed lightly throughout the cleaning process for the service to be effective, raising the overall cost.
New or meticulously maintained decks are more likely to have a smaller project scope compared to an older or neglected deck. A deck that needs multiple layers of paint stripped or several boards replaced due to rot will cost more to power wash simply because extra labor or care will need to go into the job.
Keep in mind that a certified power washer may not be the one repairing or repainting a deck, but they may need to take extra steps or precautions to make sure they safely finish the job and leave the deck prepped for the next professional to take over.
Labor prices make up the bulk cost of power washing a deck. Homeowners can expect to pay an average cost of $80 an hour when hiring a professional for a deck-washing job. On the low end, a power washing service may only charge $35 an hour. A high hourly labor charge is $150. When trying to estimate labor hours to power wash a deck, keep in mind that a small, simple-to-navigate deck won’t take nearly as long as a large deck with multiple detailed features.
A home’s geographic location can have an effect on deck pressure-washing prices. For example, professional deck washers in Tennessee charge as little as $0.25 per square foot, while contractors in Virginia charge a minimum of $0.80 per square foot. Rates vary based on local cost of living averages along with demand.
The cost to pressure wash a house deck can greatly vary based on the time of year. There is typically a higher demand for pressure-washing service in late spring and early summer when homeowners are preparing their outdoor living spaces. With higher demand comes higher labor costs. This may not be as much a factor in areas where the weather is favorable all year.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Besides the main cost-affecting factors already listed, here are a few other considerations homeowners should know about when determining the cost to power wash a house’s deck.
A little prep work is sometimes necessary before a deck can be power washed. All furniture, plants, and decor should be removed. The entire surface of the deck should be swept, making sure there’s nothing stubborn stuck between the boards. This is also a great time to inspect the entire deck for signs of warping, discoloration, or weak boards.
Before power washing, any plants surrounding the deck should also be covered with plastic sheeting for protection. These extra steps don’t take long but can add on labor charges to the overall cost of deck power washing.
Sometimes power washing alone is enough to remove dirt and debris from a deck. But when grime is really caked on or mold and mildew is present, cleaning solution can provide an extra punch of scrubbing power. It also helps to know that composite decks almost always require a cleaning solution when undergoing a power-washing process.
The good news is that cleaning solution is affordable, costing about $12 a gallon. One gallon of solution cleans about 300 square feet, while concentrates, though a bit more expensive, can clean over 1,000 square feet of decking with the help of a power washer.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued strict laws on how wastewater from pressure washing can be disposed of. Property owners can face serious penalties if water used in a pressure-washing project enters the storm drain system (if dangerous chemicals were used).
Finding a pressure-washing company that uses environmentally friendly solutions is safer for the planet and can have a smaller hit on the homeowner’s bank account. But if that’s not an option, a wastewater permit allows water to be released into a storm drain or sanitary sewer system, as long as it meets the local municipality’s requirements. If a wastewater permit is required, this will increase the cost of a power-washing deck job.
Deck Railings and Stairs
Deck railings and stairs are often charged at a different rate on a pressure-washing services price list. Homeowners can expect to pay around $2.50 per linear foot of railing and $2.50 per stair when having a professional power wash their deck. While some companies charge a flat rate for a flight or stairs or simply include railings in their square footage estimate, these features will almost always add to the overall cost to power wash a deck.
If a deck has already begun to break down, it needs to be repaired before it can be power washed. This will certainly add an additional cost to a power-washing deck quote. The average deck repair cost is $1,891. The total cost is based on deck size, material, and how extensive the existing damage is. In cases of severe damage, deck replacement might be the only option. As long as the same layout is used, homeowners can expect to pay anywhere between $3 and $45 per square foot for materials when replacing a deck.
Power washing is a prerequisite for deck sealing. If both processes are being combined into one job, it can be expected for the price to increase. Spreading stain over a dirty deck will result in uneven color, and the stain will begin to flake faster than if it had been applied to a clean deck.
Staining a deck can be more expensive than power washing a deck, with the average cost of staining a deck coming out to about $775. A power-washing service will rarely offer deck- staining services, but it is possible to find a deck-staining company that also power washes.
Additional Power Washing Projects
Some homeowners tack on additional power-washing projects when having their deck cleaned. For example, driveways and garage floors are common add-ons. Front entrance stairs and walkways also tend to clean up well from power washing. Concrete or tile patios are another add-on homeowners might consider when hiring a power-washing service. While some companies may offer savings bundles when servicing multiple areas of a property, it will still likely cost more than having only the deck serviced.
Do I Need to Power Wash My Deck?
Does a deck really need to be power washed? Doesn’t Mother Nature take care of that? Even in areas that receive regular rainfall, decks still need to be maintained and power washed on occasion. Here are a few signs it may be time to get some power-washing prices before a deck begins to deteriorate beyond repair.
Fading and Discoloration
Wooden decks should always be painted or sealed for longevity. So when the color of a deck begins to fade or become discolored, it’s a sign that the paint or seal is no longer protecting the wood. In this scenario, a deck should be power washed and refinished as quickly as possible.
Presence of Mold or Mildew
Sometimes a deck starts to give off an unpleasant smell. If there is no obvious reason behind the odor, it could be mold or mildew growing beneath the surface or between the boards of a deck. In cases where growth goes undetected for too long, mold and mildew can be seen in cracked or deteriorated boards.
A deck that needs a good power washing will appear dirty. Dirt, grime, and debris can accumulate on deck boards over time, even with regular sweeping. If a deck is looking darker in color, a quick power wash can remove the buildup and have a deck looking nearly brand new again, especially when it’s made of composite.
Deck Staining or Painting Preparation
When staining or painting a wood deck, whether for the first time or as part of its regular maintenance, it should be power washed first. This ensures that the surface is clean and ready to be sealed. Painting or staining over dirty wood can lead to cracks in the paint, uneven stain application, and unprotected wood.
Benefits of Power Washing a Deck
Pressure washing a deck is a key aspect of proper deck maintenance. There are several benefits of power washing a deck, but here are a couple homeowners should know about if they’re considering skipping this crucial step in deck cleaning and maintenance.
Improved Curb Appeal
The main purpose of power washing a deck is to remove dirt, dust, and debris, which can easily become caked on a deck’s surface. Instead of enhancing a home’s curb appeal, a dirty deck can make an entire home look old and worn down. In fact, pressure washing a deck is one of the fastest ways to boost the look and feel of a home’s outdoor living space and enhance its value.
Power washing isn’t just for looks; there are functional benefits to consider as well. To start, power washing a wooden deck helps to prolong the life of the wood. Wood is porous and vulnerable to moisture, sunlight, and pests. Regular power washing can make it easy to spot problem areas and protect or repair them as needed. Power washing also helps prevent fungal growth and rot. Finally, power washing a deck is a necessary step when applying deck protective deck stain or paint, both which protect a deck from the elements.
Power Washing a Deck: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
There are several dos and don’ts of deck maintenance, especially when it comes to wooden decks. For example, decks should be routinely inspected for damage, stained or painted for protection, and annually cleaned. Some of these maintenance steps fall under the simple tasks a homeowner can take care of, while others may benefit from the assistance of a professional.
Power washing a deck isn’t an impossible or expensive task for most homeowners. When thinking about power washing their home or deck for the first time, a homeowner likely has one big question: How much is a pressure washer? Homeowners can snag a new pressure washer for an average cost of about $250. For some homeowners, this could be a bargain, especially if they plan on power washing their home’s siding or patio pavers in addition to their deck and are trying to bring down their total pressure wash house cost.
But for homeowners who just need their deck cleaned and freshened up, hiring a professional can actually save them money. A certified power washer will already have the equipment (and likely a higher-end model) and the experience required to safely and efficiently power wash a deck. Someone without experience who power washes a deck can actually damage it. For example, holding the nozzle too close to a wooden deck can cause splintering. Using pressure that is too high can chip composite material. The cost of deck repair can quickly get out of hand, which is why deck washing is a job best left to the pros if a homeowner is a novice.
Another option homeowners have if they want to DIY their deck-washing project is to skip the power-washing process entirely. Manually scrubbing a deck is always an option; the only costs are a bristle brush and some deck-cleaning solution, which will run about $25. But manually scrubbing a deck can take hours and isn’t easy on the body. Hiring a deck-washing professional is a more efficient (and comfortable) way to get a deck cleaned.
How to Save Money on the Cost to Power Wash a Deck
How much does it cost to power wash a house’s deck? It depends on several factors. Consider the following money-saving tips when trying to decide which option makes the most financial sense.
- Keep up with deck maintenance. This will prevent a larger (and likely more expensive) work scope when washing a deck.
- If taking a DIY approach, be sure to research each step to prevent damaging the deck and taking on repair costs.
- For an experienced DIY power wash, consider renting a unit over buying one. This can be as low as $40 for a power-washing machine.
- See if a company will consider a group discount if multiple neighbors are in need of their decks being power washed at the same time.
- Ask for bundle savings if having multiple areas around the home cleaned at the same time, like the driveway, entryway, or patio.
- Reach out to multiple power-washing services for quotes to get an idea of average local pricing.
- Ask a contending power-washing company about any specials or discounts for new customers.
Questions to Ask About Power Washing a Deck
Power washing is best left to the professionals. When searching for the best power-washing companies, use the following list of questions to ask about power washing a deck to ensure the best professional is hired for the job.
- Does my deck really need to be power washed?
- What is included in your pressure-washing service?
- How long have you been power washing decks?
- What is your cleaning process?
- Do you handle the prep work or is this the homeowner’s responsibility?
- Do you hook up to my water source or bring your own?
- Are you certified by the PWNA (Power Washers of North America)?
- Is power washing the best cleaning method for my deck material?
- Do you use cleaners, and if so, are they proven to work in this region?
- How do you handle wastewater?
- Do you have insurance?
- What happens if my deck is damaged during the power-washing process?
- Do you have workers’ compensation for your employees?
- Will you be performing the service, or will one of your employees?
- What type of training do your employees receive?
- Can you share any tips for keeping my deck clean between power-washing sessions?
- Do you have references?
- Do you have a portfolio of past projects?
- Are you a member of the Better Business Bureau?
- Do you include a warranty or guarantee, and if so, what is included?
A deck should be a comfortable extension of a home’s living space, where friends and family can join together and enjoy the great outdoors. But a dirty deck isn’t just unsightly; it can also be hiding dangerous issues like mold or rot. The cost to power wash a deck is low compared to the costs of repairing or replacing a deck, which is why it should always be included in a home’s annual maintenance. Answers to common questions about power washing a deck can be found below.
Q. How much is it to power wash a deck?
The cost to power wash a deck ranges between about $90 and $770. The final cost depends on several factors. A deck’s size is one of the most influential factors when it comes to determining the price. This is because the larger the deck, the more materials, time, and labor it will take to complete the job.
Other factors include what material the deck is made of, whether it needs any repairs, and whether it needs to be painted or stained. Even geographic location and time of year can affect the total cost of power washing a deck. It’s possible for a homeowner to save a bit of money by completing the job themselves but unless they’re experienced (or even better, certified) in power washing, this can be a risky move. Improper power washing can damage a deck, leading to costly repairs.
Q. Can I just power wash my deck?
Proper deck maintenance requires a deck to be prepped, washed, and then sealed with either stain or paint. By skipping these steps before and after, power washing alone won’t be enough to protect a deck. Think of it in relation to only brushing the teeth and skipping the floss and mouthwash. Teeth are more vulnerable to cavities and decay without all the steps being completed, and the same goes for a deck.
At the same time, power washing a deck does remove dirt and grime and can help keep a deck clear of mold and mildew. Power washing can also help prevent rot by removing debris that could be holding onto moisture. If the two choices are to do nothing or to only power wash, the best option is to still power wash a deck. But the results will always be better if the deck is prepared beforehand and sealed afterward.
Q. Is it better to power wash the deck or sand it?
It’s actually best to both power wash and sand a deck. But it depends on a few factors. First, the condition of the wood should be assessed. If the wood is splintered, cracked, or rough, it should be sanded first, then power washed. But if the wood is smooth and in good shape, then it should be pressure washed first to remove any debris, then sanded once it has dried to smooth out any raised areas that may have occurred during the power washing.
It should be noted that when working with softer woods, like cedar, a low pressure setting should be used when power washing and light pressure should be applied when sanding. Completing both processes on a deck can produce better results, as long as neither is overdone.
Q. Should a deck be power washed before staining?
Yes, a deck should absolutely be power washed before staining it. This step will not only ensure that the stain is applied evenly, but will also extend the lifespan of the sealant. When stain begins to chip away (which can happen much faster on a deck that wasn’t power washed before application), it can’t be stopped. Once the stain chips away, the deck becomes vulnerable to the elements.
Power washing a deck is the best way to prep it before staining, but homeowners should also know that adding deck cleaner to the process can improve the final result even more by removing additional impurities deep in the wood.
Q. What do I need to do after power washing a deck?
After power washing a deck, it needs to be left to dry for up to 48 hours. It should then be lightly sanded to remove any fuzzy patches or splinters. A pole sander works best for this, as a power sander can take away too much of the wood.
Then, the deck should be sealed to prevent the wood from warping or cracking. A clear sealant will last the longest, but a tinted sealant or stain can add more character to the deck. Painting the deck is another option to consider.
Finally, the deck should be swept regularly, taking care to remove any debris stuck between the boards. Standing water, including rain puddles and accumulated snow, should be removed quickly to prevent water damage. The deck should also be routinely inspected to catch minor issues before they become serious problems.
Q. How do you pressure wash a deck without damaging it?
Taking a DIY approach when trying to pressure wash a house’s deck can result in serious damage, especially for someone with minimal experience using a pressure washer. But by researching and exploring each step before starting the project, a good result can still be achieved.
First, prepare the deck by sanding the surface lightly with 80-grit sandpaper. Next, sweep away any dirt, checking in between the boards for leaves, sticks, or debris. Now it’s time to use the pressure cleaner. Using the low pressure 40-degree nozzle, begin to spray the deck, taking care not to place the nozzle too close to the surface. Next, use a cleaning solution to get deeper into the wood or to remove additional grime from composite. Once the cleaner has been lightly scrubbed in, the deck can be rinsed on a light spray setting before finishing with the 25-degree nozzle for a final wash.