When considering building a new deck or rebuilding an existing deck, a good deal of may wonder what direction they should go for deck materials. This article will cover a pressure washers’ opinion on this topic. The reason this is important as we are the ones who can keep your decks beautiful years after the deck installation crews are long gone.

Raw Wood

Pros-

  • Give the most natural look
  • No additional cost of stain or paint

Cons-

  • Copper will corrode on the bottom of the boards
  • Permeant stains easily penetrate

Average price (per sq ft)

  • $25.00

Raw wood or pressure-treated wood will show off the wood grain pattern, with obviously no other costs for stain or paint. Most customers ask for me to remove the green mildew under their decks which, is why I explain what the green under the deck is. Pressure-treated wood used to contain Chromated copper arsenate which aids in leaching issues. On December 31, 2003, the industry switched to a copper-based pesticide. However, the issue we are addressing is the copper in both solutions. The liquid copper will slowly move to the bottom of the boards and turn green because of the copper oxidizing. We do not include removing oxidized copper in pressure washing a deck. In this article, it explains how to remove the green oxidation. You will see it is a quite time-consuming process, hence why pressure washers do not address this problem.

Painted Wood

Pros- 

  • Easy to clean-up
  • Last about 5 to 6 years

Cons-

  • The paint will chip and peel off when the paint goes bad

Average cost (per sq ft)

  • $28.50

The reason painted wood is so easy to clean is that the paint itself acts as a far superior barrier compared to anything else that we will cover. Just as on your house when we give you a house wash a deck wash with painted wood uses the same concentration of bleach is between 1.5% to 3% sodium hypochlorite. The benefit of this is that the lower the concentration that is needed, the less damage it may have on any substrate or landscaping. Painted wood has the longest life expectancy of five to six years.

Unfortunately, if you don’t clean the paint regularly, it will prematurely age and it will chip and pill from the wood. Another disadvantage to painted wood is if you ever decide you don’t want it painted and you want to stain it requires a significant amount of work (or cost) to get it down to the bare wood. Pressure washing alone does not remove paint from wood. Pressure washing only removes paint that is peeling off or chipping off. The best way to remove the paint is to sand it off. The best paint that I have found is from Sherman Williams called, SuperPaint.

Engineered Wood (Terex)

Pros-

  • Durable
  • More stain-resistant compared to most options

Cons-

  • Will deteriorate under the sun constantly
  • Most expensive option
  • Soft washing is the only way to clean

Average cost (per sq ft)

  • $37

Most people think engineered wood also known as Terex is far superior to any other construction material and will last your entire life. Salespeople have to tell you that seeing how expensive it is. It does not last your entire life. While it is durable to impact, and it is more stain-resistant compared to the other options, it will deteriorate quickly under constant sunlight. The other issue is if you hire a pressure washing company that does not know what they’re doing and they try to pressure wash or even low-pressure wash this material. Even though it is durable to impact, it does not hold up to high pressure and must only be soft washed.

Stained Wood

Pros- 

  • Gives the highest protection of wood
  • Many options to choose from for different looks

Cons- 

  • Only lasts about 2 years
  • Low pressure or soft washing will strip the stain off

Average cost (per sq ft)

  • $27.50

Plastic Railing

Pros- 

  • This is the cheapest option
  • Easily cleaned with a low amount of bleach

Cons- 

  • They will become oxidized from UV rays
  • Gives off a cheaper look

Average Cost (per linear foot)

  • $11.67

While plastic is not a good option for the decking, a plastic railing is the best option for lowering the cost on your new deck. Also, cleaning it is easily accomplished with a low amount of bleach just as painted wood. The biggest caution I give to people for plastic rails UV rays from the sun will oxidize it quite fast just the same as vinyl siding on the house. Last, plastic is a great option for somewhere close to saltwater it gives a cheaper look elsewhere.