DIY Network

Building a Deck

How to Clean and Waterproof a Deck

If your deck is dirty, you have several options for cleaning it. You could rent a pressure washer, use a scrub brush and some detergent or try a commercially available deck cleaner.

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  • Time


  • Price Range

    $100 - $250

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Clear the Deck

Remove everything from the deck. Then sweep the deck to remove dust and debris.

Step 2: Apply the Cleaning Solution

Prepare the cleaning solution by mixing it with water as directed on the label. Use a pump sprayer to apply the cleaning solution to the deck.

Step 3: Scrub and Rinse the Deck

When the solution begins foaming, start scrubbing the deck with a stiff-bristle deck scrub brush. These brushes are very useful in removing stubborn stains such as grease. After you've scrubbed the deck thoroughly, rinse it off with a garden hose. When the deck is dry, apply a clear or tinted water repellent to protect the wood.

Step 4: Rent a Pressure Washer

To clean brick steps, rent a pressure washer. Pressure washers are available in different strengths, ranging from 1,500 pounds per square inch (PSI) to 3,000 PSI, and can be rented for about $50 a day.

Step 5: Begin Pressure Washing

A pressure washer uses a gasoline engine to pressurize water supplied from a garden hose. Different tips are available for the wand, including a fan tip that covers a large area and a sharp tip that directs a tight stream of water. Before you begin pressure washing, make several passes over an inconspicuous area to determine the proper distance to hold the wand. Hold the wand closer to remove stubborn stains. Because you're dealing with high pressure, hold the wand tightly, and wear eye protection. Be careful when spraying around plants. High-pressure water can shred leaves.

Step 6: Wash the Sides of the House

Wash the sides of the house to remove grime and prevent moss, mold and mildew from accumulating. If you're cleaning old mortar, it will probably flake away when you use the pressure washer. Nonetheless, it's better to go ahead and remove the old mortar so you can repair it.