How to remove paint from the deck with a pressure washer

“I noticed my deck surface that is painted with latex- based paint peeling off. I tried painting the deck to hide the exposed wood, but it doesn’t seem to work, what else can I do?”

Sounds like you? Read till the end.

Deck surfaces chopping off is a common problem that faces many homeowners.

What is the point of hurting your wallet when this sounds like a do it yourself kind of job?

But where do you start?

This procedure is pretty much basic and should not take more than four hours to complete.

To properly remove old scaly paint you will need.

  1. A pressure washer with a rating of at least 2500 PSI.
  2. Paint stripper ( opt for limonene based paint stripper).
  3. A scrapper.
  4. A broom.
  5. 120 grit belt sander.

1. Safety first!

What could go wrong with pressured water? Everything.

The pressure required to scrape off paint is enough to tear into your skin. Your toes are most at risk do make sure you wear heavy rubber boots to avoid accidents.

Wear safety glasses that are transparent to keep small Paint Chips from getting to your eyes and causing irritation while maintaining a clear view of the process.

Do not use paint removers made from methylene chloride as it is very corrosive.

Using this product doubles the chances of scraping of your skin and should be exclusively left for the pro’s before you start to make sure that you cover flower beds around the deck and seal off the door to prevent water from getting into your house.

2. Procedure.

  1. Start by sanding the deck with your 120 grit belt back and forth along each Planck line. The 120 grit belt sander is similar to the type used to finish off hardwood so you will not eat into the wood. This is very tiring so remove what you can and wait for the next step. It would be better if you could find help with this part. All hands on deck! 🙂
  2. Using the broom sweep, collect the paint peels for proper disposal. Next is to start scraping any other patches that you will notice. Use the scraper on this and go easy so that you don’t chip into the Planck. Do this for ten minutes or until you see most of the patches are loose. Sweep this too and collect for disposal.
  • Now it’s time to start applying the limonene based paint remover ( notice I stress limonene, but you can use other paint removers available, but be extra careful). The paint remover softens the remaining paint patches. Allow it sometime before you move on. This should be complete as soon as you notice some effervescent bubbles being formed on the surface).
  1. Turn on the pressure washer to about 2000 pounds per square inch (PSI). Make sure the nozzle is positioned correctly before you start spraying. Make sure your body is behind the nozzle at all times. If it’s your first time using a pressure washer make sure you have a firm grip to resist the recoil action from the high-pressure water you are not standing with a broad base you can as well fall from the recoil force of the water.
  2. While spraying, ensure you maintain the pressure washer’s nozzle at 22 inches away from the deck. Move along the Planck as you descend downwards. Spray a lot of the water in areas most of the patches are centered.
  3. Spray until all ( or nearly all) the paint is washed off. You can repeat the last three steps up until you realize this. The essence is to remove loose paint that might cause a new layer of paint to peel off. The persistent patches can stay and won’t affect the new paint. Wait for a day or two then paint or stain. And voilà!

After applying the paint, remover put a sign that indicates the deck is slippery to Avoid fatal falls.

Although limonene is not as corrosive as methylene chloride products, it’s it’s very hazardous and sticky too, avoid coming into contact with it.

Don’t get frustrated if all the paint doesn’t peel off; it’s not all bad.

You should, however, remember that this method only works with latex based paint.  Rub the deck with an alcohol doused cloth to confirm this.

Oil-based paint is hard to come off and will need more than a pressure wash.

Paint peeling off does not happen to stained decks. The stain penetrates into the wood changing the color of the wood hence it won’t peel off. But if the gray wood is not your thing try staining it periodically. A good stain should last as long as the wood.

Occasionally you might need to polish but not so often.

One more thing!

And oh yeah, if you’re wondering if this method worked for the reviewer at the top? Read her statement after.

“ I can hardly believe that a four-hour retouch was all my deck needed!”