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Pressure Washing Logs & Deck (update)

Deck powerwashed, awaiting stain

I’m getting too old for this…

Well. maybe not just yet… but this is a big job and when you are monitoring the weather and playing hooky from work and the grass needs cut… taking a day or more to perform such maintenance on your log home weighs heavily upon the soul.

This picture shows how ugly wood can be if left unattended.  In my case, this wood is receiving a great deal of TLC & attention as it has just been pressure-washed and is now drying in the sun.  The next step in this project will be to sand the areas where the grain has been lifted by the power-washer.

NOTE:  After re-reading this, it sounds like I permitted our log home to fall into such disrepair.  Not gonna happen…. the picture above is the ‘AFTER” photo.  This is what the deck looks like after it has been pressure-washed, sanded and awaiting the new finish.

I will let the wood dry another day, and then apply the new coats of protective stain.  In my previous post I mentioned that my ‘verticals’ were holding up to Montana’s weather, but my ‘horizontals’ require treatment every 1-2 years.  The yellow arrows show how the horizontals get so weather beaten.  If you look at the railing and log wall verticals compared to the deck and railing tops, this is quite a dramatic difference.  Also note that the cedar stain on the deck under the overhang also remains in fairly good condition. 

Tomorrow I sand… and maybe cut the grass.

Update:  As luck would have it, the weather is cooperating magnificently, and today’s highs will only be in the 70’s… great weather for working outdoors.  However, my project is taking me twice as long as I envisioned because I keep expanding the area I need to re-stain.  Needed some minor railing repairs also, so today I will begin applying the finish coat.  Pictures to follow… more news at 11 – stay tuned!

5 comments to Pressure Washing Logs & Deck (update)

  • Dear Tom,

    I hope the weather stays as great as it looks in the photo. Don’t you just love those pressure washers? Imagine if all that area had to be sanded…

    This really shows the importance of long overhangs. Unfortunately many people prefer “the look” and therefore massive cathedral ceilings combined with gables with windows from bottom to the ridge are the norm in cover photos. These homes rarely have adequate overhangs so that window gable gets maximum sunlight. Extremely work intensive solutions and I mean building and maintenance.

    On decks I recommend latest materials like wood plastic composites. You get to have wood-like material, which is usually made from wood fibre (possibly a byproduct of some industrial process) and recycled plastic. No need for finishes the material is ready, light and lasts for years and years more.

    If you are like me, then you won’t be obsessed with decks and colours, just plain wood board lasts just nicely if it is in a place where it can dry quickly. Sure it turns grey and wears out a bit but also gives nice rustic flair to the house.

  • That looks like a perfect deck to sit back and relax on. Log homes are a lot of work but they sure are worth it. But again what home is not a lot of work.

  • You really need a small power washer for this job, a big gas powered model will destroy your decking in no time – and use a fine jet, no dirtblaster attachments at all – most unsuitable for this application.

  • Tom

    Hey Steve:

    Good comment, but I don’t totally agree. Sure, a large gas powered pressure washer ‘COULD’ tear up the deck… but it is the same idea as using any tool. If the operator is careful with the tool – and controls the tool, all will be okay. I can use a chainsaw to cut boards or a 6.5″ circular saw, but if I am careful and control the chainsaw I can achieve the same result.

    I do agree with you that the capability is there to just about shred wood with a large pressure washer… I know this because I’ve done it 🙂

    Thanks again for a great comment. ~Tom

  • Proper deck cleaning is NOT about the pressure washer at all, it is about the technique and the cleaning solutions used, it is about sticking to the maintenance schedule based upon the installed coating and the conditions surrounding the home such as exposure, vegetation and annual temps. To do it right and not hack up the wood, you need a lower PSI than is even sold in stores on a machine, you should be at 1,000 PSI or less. A novice is not going to be able to do that with what they buy at the big box store. There is also the matter of proper and safe use of cleaners and strippers, and neutralizers. Next, you have to prep the wood before you install any coating, albeit new or maintenance.

    Anyone who plans to maintain their exterior wood surfaces (house, deck, whatever) needs to also realize that is is more costly to have a pro undo damage, than to have a pro do it right to begin with.


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