How to Remove Paint from Deck with Pressure Washer

Pressure washers are amazing tools that can clean quickly and thoroughly. They can remove the most stubborn stains and debris from a wide range of materials. But can they remove paint?

Flaking paint might not be the first thing you imagine when thinking about what a pressure washer can do. But, with the right preparation, a pressure washer can indeed remove paint.

So, what are those preparation steps? Read on for a comprehensive guide to properly, and safely, removing paint with a pressure washer.


Step 1: Clear the Area

Pressure washers, as you probably already know, are incredibly strong. So, anything that might get in the way or potentially get wet or covered in paint flakes should be moved well out of the way.

This means moving any outdoor furniture off the decking. This will get in the way and won’t allow you to cover every inch, as you need to do.

Step 2: Clean the Area

It’s very important to make sure that you’re working on an area that has been cleaned. This might seem unnecessary as you’re about to clean it with a pressure washer. But it’s an important step in the process. So don’t be tempted to skip it!

If you’re washing paint off decking, then you need to sweep the area. Make sure that it is completely free of any dirt or debris. If you skip this step, then you risk the pressure washing not working properly. You also risk sending dirt or debris flying across your garden.

Or in the opposite direction and hitting your house. You really don’t want to risk sending dirt and small rocks towards your house at full blast, especially not towards the windows.

Step 3: Scrub or Scrape the Area

Again, this might seem like an unnecessary step if you’re about to wash the area. But it is useful as, similarly to the dirt and debris, it will get rid of any loose paint. Chances are, you’re removing the paint because it has already started to become worn or it’s peeling.

So, if you don’t remove any pieces that have already begun to flake, they may end up getting stuck or flying off across the garden. They also might become stuck between the pieces of wood.

Step 4: Check Over the Area

Once the area is completely clear, make a note of all the places where it is damaged. This could be chipped or rotting wood.

You will need to be more careful with these areas as the pressure washer might cause them further damage. This is especially true of any rotting areas. As you will be blasting water at the area, this won’t be very good for rotting wood.

Step 5: Apply the Paint Stripper

This is a very important step. Paint stripper is what will make the paint properly begin to come away from the wood. Just blasting the wood with the pressure washer might make a few bits of paint come off. But you really need the paint stripper to do a proper job.

Make sure to work methodically and cover all painted areas with the paint stripper. It’s best to start at one corner and work horizontally along, move up, and then along again. This will make sure that you get every section.

Step 6: Wait

Now that you have applied the paint stripper, you need to leave it to get to work. This should take about 30 minutes but check the instructions on the container just in case.

Always make sure to use the correct kind of paint stripper and follow the instructions on the container.

Step 7: Wash

Now that you have gone through all of these preparations, it’s finally time to wash. Set the pressure washer up according to the instructions.

Keep the nozzle about 20 inches or so away from the wood. Then off you go! Try to work methodically, as you did with the paint stripper. It’s a good idea to follow the same route. This will make it more likely that you will cover every area.

It’s also a good idea to spray along the grain of the wood. This will help to prevent damage to the wood.

Step 8: Finishing Off

Once you are sure that you can’t get anymore off with the pressure washer, then it’s time to stop. Don’t worry if there are a few bits of paint that you can’t get off.

You can scrape these off as you would normally scrape off paint.

Step 9: Sanding (Optional)

If you plan to repaint the wood, then it’s a good idea to prep it now. You will need to wait until the wood is completely dry. But this will save you a little time later on. (But, if you’re tired from using the pressure washer, you don’t have to do this step).

Once the wood has dried, sand it down. If the wood has begun to rot, then you’re going to need to either treat it or replace it entirely. If it’s fine, then you can sand it down. Then, using a microfiber cloth, clear the wood dust off.

** Don’t forget to read our Karacher pressure washer post before you leave!

Top Tips

Now you know how to remove paint from decking with a pressure washer, here are a few tips to making sure you do the job perfectly.

  • Use a 15-degree or 25-degree nozzle tip. This will give you the right angle for pressure washing a deck. As you will be washing something that is below you, it’s important to have the nozzle pointed in the correct, safe direction.
  • Safety first. Make sure to be incredibly careful with the paint stripper. It is very corrosive and can cause skin damage. So make sure to wear the exact safety gear recommended by the instructions.
  • Once you are sure that all of the paint is gone, go over the decking one last time. This will make sure that all of the paint stripper has come off. You don’t want to risk any hanging about.
  • Why not check out our awesome Pressure Washer for a business guide?





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