Cedar decks are beautiful additions to any home’s exterior, though they do require a good bit of upkeep and maintenance to keep their appearance looking fantastic. Even still, the unique properties of cedar wood mean that you can’t go about cleaning cedar decks the same way you may be able to clean other lumber structures.
So is pressure washing a cedar deck a good idea? Continue reading through this guide as we explain how you can clean your cedar decking, and whether or not power washing a cedar deck should be your go-to method.
Why You May Consider Power Washing a Cedar Deck
As we discussed above, washing your cedar deck regularly is important not only for the look and appearance of the deck, but also contributes to the overall longevity of it as well. Cedar wood is durable and fairly weather-resistant by nature, though splinters, stains, and buildups like mold and mildew can be common occurrences with a cedar deck. When left untreated, these small issues can lead to decay and the wood breaking down.
Many people may wonder how long does cedar decking last without regular cleaning. The truth is that with no upkeep, it can last you about 15-20 years. However, with regular cleaning and maintenance, they can last upwards of 25+ years.
So, you can see why you would want to consider power washing a cedar deck as a powerful and quick cleaning solution. After all, building a quality cedar deck is an investment, so you want to know how to take care of your cedar deck so it can last for the years to come.
So - Can You Power Wash a Cedar Deck?
Let’s get to the burning question–can you power wash a cedar deck? As you now know, keeping these decks clean is crucial to the longevity of the structure and the overall appearance, but can this be accomplished by power washing a cedar deck? The truth is that yes, you can use a pressure washer on a cedar deck, though you need to be careful about the pressure setting you’re using so as to not damage the wood. Cedar is a softer wood, therefore it is more sensitive to high-powered washes than other types of lumber. So while this may be your go-to solution for other types of wooden structures at your home, you should take special precautions when trying to use it on your cedar deck. Unlike other types of wood, when cedar is power washed at high pressures, it can lift up the outer grains of the wood and put it at risk of being taken over by pests or rot.
Tips for Power Washing Your Cedar Decking
If you have a cedar deck, power washing is acceptable but only on a very low-pressure setting of no higher than 800 psi. Some manufacturers recommend an even lower psi. Cedar is very soft, and higher pressure can permanently damage the wood. Therefore, it’s crucial that you pay attention to the pressure setting on the power washer you’re using and stick to a lower psi. If going below 800 is not possible, you may want to avoid using a power washer on your cedar deck.
And if you’re looking for how to restore a cedar deck when it’s been damaged by someone else using a power washer on it, you can sand a thin layer off to restore the pristine look of the cedar and make it appear brand new.
Alternatives to Pressure Washing a Cedar Deck
As you can see, you can power wash a cedar deck, though many people may opt for an alternative so as to not damage the boards. Continue reading as we discuss some of the best alternatives to pressure washing that will still keep your cedar deck looking top-notch.
While this won’t be a surefire way to cut down on the grime and dirt build-up, it is a good way to keep leaves and other debris from piling up on your deck and causing mold and mildew to set in. So, try to sweep your deck off regularly–like once every week or two–to maintain a clear appearance in-between deep cleans.
One option that is less likely to tear up the cedar boards on your deck is to use an oxygen bleach solution. Alternatively, you could use a powdered oxygen laundry cleaner, but either way, you’ll want to combine it with water to make a solution that has powerful cleaning properties but is still gentle enough on the cedar wood. Above all, it’s important that you don’t buy chlorinated bleach or you could severely damage your deck. With the bleach solution made, you can pour it out on the deck and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. Once you notice bubbles starting to form and some of the stains being lifted, use a large scrub brush to thoroughly clean the wood, then rinse off the grime and solution when you’re done.
Biodegradable Dishwashing Soap
Another common way that people choose to wash their cedar decks is to use a biodegradable dishwashing liquid soap like Dawn. Many people prefer this method because it’s easy on the wood, and can even help to restore the cedar wood smell that the boards may have lost when caked with dirt and grime. Plus, this is kid and pet-friendly, and won't harm any surrounding grass or plants. As with the bleach method, you’ll want to make a soapy solution with water in a bucket. Rather than pouring out the solution on top of the deck, you’ll want to use a large scrub brush to dip into the soapy water, then scrub the deck liberally. After you have thoroughly scrubbed, leave the deck for 10-15 minutes, but be sure that the surface doesn’t completely dry or you’ll have caked-on soap that will leave you with the opposite results. Once this time is up, you can rinse off the deck and enjoy your freshly-cleaned and newly-restored deck. You can repeat this process as many times as needed in order to get the results you’re after.
Final Thoughts on Pressure Washing Cedar Deck Boards
The truth is, a clean cedar deck is the perfect exterior accessory to any home, so you’ll want to keep it in top condition to stay looking great throughout the years. After reading through this guide, hopefully we made it clear that pressure washing a cedar deck is permitted, though only when done correctly. To play it safe, you may consider one of the alternatives listed above to ensure that you won’t be causing accidental damage to the deck when cleaning it.
And even though the cleaning and maintenance of a cedar deck are important, starting with quality materials in the first place is the best way to have a quality deck that you want to show off all year round.
For the best western red cedar lumber suppliers, look no further than G&B Quality Cedar Products. We have cedar deck boards for sale when you’re planning on building a great addition to your backyard, and we even have a wide range of cedar dimensional lumber for any size or shape of cedar that you need. So shop B&B Quality Cedar Products today for all cedar posts, timbers, and boards.