Pressure washer -- what should I buy


Old 07-07-04, 08:50 AM
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Pressure washer -- what should I buy

I need to buy a pressure washer to clean my cca treated deck and my cedar shakes (entire exterior). These have been untreated and uncleaned for 15 years.
I've solicited various opinions from neighbors, which conflict.
Can anyone tell me if a 1600 psi (electric) will do the trick?
I'm a bit afraid of powerwashing the cedar shakes.
I'd be grateful for some direction here.
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Old 07-07-04, 10:18 AM
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1600 psi probably will not work. Lowes has a 3000psi unit for 499. This is the one I got. I was able to clean the wooden fence around my house. It had ten years worth of mildew on it. It now looks like natural wood with fuzz on it. The fuzz is what will happen if you use a pressure washer. There are other chemicals out there that IMHO work better than the pressure washer, but the smell with get you. Thomsons deck cleaner is one I tried and it worked for me. The 3000psi unit also cleaned up my sloppy paint drips from painting the house. The borrowed 1600 psi unit didn't do a thing for the dried paint.
Old 07-07-04, 01:02 PM
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To johntcc1: Pressure washer follow up

I figured more would be more in this situation, but I'm worried that 3000 psi would blast the cedar shakes off the house.
I've also been advised to use chlorine bleach. Sounds insane to me, but I'm more accustomed to inside cleaning, for which I use simple green and citrus products on most cleanable surfaces.
My goal is to improve the deck surface so that it won't be slippery when wet, and to retard the mildew growth on the cedar shakes. Of course I'd love to have the original surfaces back so that I stain them to look new, but I'm realistic in my expectations.
Any further advice you could provide would be appreciated.
Old 07-07-04, 02:47 PM
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Okay - here's the REAL story.

1600 psi will clean pressure treated lumber, but maybe not as quickly as a larger pw using a 40 degree tip.

Thompson's cleaner, or most deck cleaners are bleach, it will read as sodium hypochlorite. I never used those or household bleach. It's all the same - It will bleach the color out of wood! It also can damage the wood, as will too much pressure.

Use an oxygenated bleach(crystal form mixed with water) for the pt lumber. It will kill algae, mildew and it is much safer to use. Check quality paint stores for Wolmans Deck Brightener, or another brand that is sodium percarbonate.
If you can't find one - then use Oxyclean.

For the cedar, find an oxalic acid wash and follow the application instructions. You shouldn't need more than 1000psi to clean cedar.
It is much softer and easier to damage with higher pressure.

After it's all cleaned and dry(about three days) you can use an oil base stain with uv protection and some have mildewcides .

All of the above is not my .02 cents worth. It's worth alot more and is correct.

Old 07-07-04, 05:41 PM
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Thanks, Fred!

Your instructions are great!
I hope to get up the courage to try them out this weekend, and will let you know how it goes. I suspect it will be a long process. But I have the whole summer.
Old 07-08-04, 12:48 AM
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I can't add anything that Fred hasn't covered as far as psi and the use of bleach, etc... He is right.

If buying a gas powered pressure washer, my advice would be to stay away from the low-end units with the engine on top and the pump underneath. I'd get a horizontal shaft engine couped to a horizontal pump.

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