How Long Does It Take to Pressure Wash a Deck?


As a pressure washer pro, I get this question a lot: “How long will it take to pressure wash my deck?” The truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Several factors influence the washing time, but fret not, this guide will equip you to estimate the time investment for your specific deck.

Deck Size: The Biggest Factor

The size of your deck is the most significant determinant of how long it will take to pressure wash. Understandably, a small deck measuring around 100 square feet will take significantly less time than a sprawling entertaining area that exceeds 500 square feet. Here’s a more detailed breakdown:

Small Decks (100-200 sq. ft.)

For small decks, the washing process is relatively quick and straightforward. Assuming the deck is in good condition and doesn’t have extensive staining or mold, you can expect to spend approximately 30 minutes to an hour on the task. This timeframe includes setup, washing, and a quick rinse.

Medium Decks (200-400 sq. ft.)

Medium-sized decks typically require more time and effort. If your deck falls within this range, plan for about 1 to 2 hours of work. The additional time accounts for moving around more furniture and ensuring all areas are thoroughly cleaned.

Large Decks (400-600 sq. ft.)

Large decks will naturally take the longest to clean. For decks of this size, expect the job to take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours, depending on the condition and layout. More intricate designs or multiple levels can also add to the overall time required.

Extra-Large Decks (600+ sq. ft.)

For very large decks, particularly those that serve as significant outdoor entertaining spaces, the pressure washing process can extend to 4 hours or more. These decks may have various obstacles, extensive railings, and other features that add to the complexity and time required.

Deck Condition: Heavily Weathered or Stained Decks Require More Cleaning Passes

The condition of your deck is the next critical factor. A deck that’s heavily weathered, stained, or has accumulated significant dirt, mold, or mildew will take longer to clean. Here’s a breakdown based on deck conditions:

New or Well-Maintained Decks

For new or well-maintained decks, the pressure washing process is relatively quick. You may only need one or two passes with the pressure washer to achieve a clean surface. This can cut down your washing time significantly.

Moderately Dirty Decks

If your deck shows moderate signs of wear, such as light staining, mild discoloration, or a thin layer of dirt, expect to spend more time on each section. You might need to make several passes and use a detergent or cleaner to lift stubborn grime. This will add about 30 minutes to an hour to your total time.

Heavily Weathered or Neglected Decks

For decks that have been neglected or are heavily weathered, you’ll need to allocate extra time for a thorough cleaning. Extensive mold, mildew, deep-seated dirt, or significant staining means more time scrubbing and more detailed attention. Plan to spend an additional hour or two, depending on the severity of the condition.

Your Pressure Washing Expertise: Beginners Naturally Take Longer than Seasoned Washers

Your experience level with pressure washing can significantly impact how long it takes to clean a deck. Here’s how different levels of expertise affect the timeframe:


If you’re new to pressure washing, expect the process to take longer. Familiarizing yourself with the equipment, learning the best techniques, and understanding how to adjust settings for optimal results all contribute to a longer cleaning time. For beginners, it’s advisable to add an extra 30 minutes to an hour to your initial estimate.

Intermediate Users

Those with some experience but not yet at a professional level will find the process smoother and quicker than beginners. Intermediate users are more efficient in setting up, operating the machine, and adjusting techniques as needed. This level of expertise typically results in a more accurate time estimate with minimal added time.

Seasoned Professionals

Professional pressure washers can complete the task in the shortest possible time. With extensive experience, pros know the ins and outs of the equipment, the most effective cleaning techniques, and how to tackle stubborn grime quickly. For professionals, the time estimates provided earlier for different deck sizes and conditions are generally accurate without needing additional padding.

See also: Surfaces to Skip When Using a Pressure Washer

Pressure Washer Power: Higher PSI Machines Can Tackle Grime Faster

The power of your pressure washer, measured in PSI (pounds per square inch), is another key factor that affects how long it will take to clean your deck. Higher PSI machines can remove dirt and grime more efficiently, reducing overall cleaning time.

Low PSI Machines (1,500-2,000 PSI)

For light-duty pressure washers with PSI in the range of 1,500 to 2,000, expect the cleaning process to take longer. These machines are suitable for light cleaning tasks but may struggle with heavy grime or tough stains. You’ll need to spend more time and possibly make multiple passes to achieve the desired results.

Medium PSI Machines (2,000-3,000 PSI)

Medium-duty pressure washers, which have PSI ratings between 2,000 and 3,000, strike a balance between power and ease of use. They can handle moderately dirty decks efficiently and are suitable for most residential cleaning tasks. The time required to clean your deck with a medium-duty machine aligns closely with the initial time estimates provided.

High PSI Machines (3,000+ PSI)

High-duty pressure washers with PSI ratings above 3,000 offer the most power and efficiency. These machines can quickly blast away stubborn dirt, mold, and mildew, significantly reducing cleaning time. If you’re using a high PSI machine, you can expect to complete the task in less time than estimated for lower-powered machines.

The Baseline: Setting Your Expectations

For a standard 19 ft. x 19 ft. deck in decent condition, expect to spend around 1 hour pressure washing. This assumes you’re comfortable with the equipment and using the appropriate nozzle. For larger decks, simply scale up the time proportionally. Here’s a quick reference for setting your expectations based on the average time required:

Small Decks (100-200 sq. ft.): 30 minutes to 1 hour

Medium Decks (200-400 sq. ft.): 1 to 2 hours

Large Decks (400-600 sq. ft.): 2 to 4 hours

Extra-Large Decks (600+ sq. ft.): 4 hours or more

Factors Affecting Washing Time

To summarize, several factors influence the total time required to pressure wash your deck:

Deck Size

As mentioned, bigger decks naturally take longer. Measure your deck to get an accurate estimate and refer to the size guidelines provided earlier.

Deck Condition

Assess the condition of your deck. More extensive cleaning and multiple passes are required for heavily soiled or weathered surfaces.

Your Experience Level

Your familiarity with pressure washing equipment and techniques can significantly impact the overall time. Beginners should allow for extra time to get comfortable with the process.

Pressure Washer Strength

Higher PSI machines remove dirt faster than lower PSI models. Choose a machine that suits the condition of your deck for optimal efficiency.

Pro Tips for Efficient Pressure Washing

To make your pressure washing task as efficient as possible, follow these professional tips:

Clear the Deck

Remove all furniture, planters, and obstacles from the deck before starting. This ensures you can work without interruptions and reach all areas effectively.

See also: When to Stain Your Deck After Pressure Washing?

Plan Your Strategy

Divide the deck into manageable sections and clean one area at a time. This approach helps maintain a systematic workflow and ensures no spots are missed.

Adjust the Nozzle

Use the right nozzle tip for the job. Different nozzles provide varying spray patterns and pressure levels. Choose a nozzle that delivers effective cleaning without damaging the wood.

Work Methodically

Maintain a consistent distance from the deck surface and overlap your cleaning strokes slightly to ensure even coverage. Avoid rushing through the task to achieve a thorough clean.

Beyond Washing: Drying Time

Remember, pressure washing is just one step in maintaining your deck. Proper drying time is crucial before staining or sealing the wood. Ideally, wait for a sunny day and allow at least 48 hours for the deck to dry completely. This ensures that the wood is ready for the next step in your deck maintenance routine.

By considering these points and following these pro tips, you can approach your deck pressure washing project with a realistic timeframe in mind. Remember, a clean deck is an investment in your outdoor space, so take your time and do it right!

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