• Home
  • BLOG

How Long After Power Washing Can You Paint A Deck? (Guide 2020)

If you buy an item via links on this page, we may earn a commission. Our editorial content is not influenced by commissions. Read the full disclosure.

Does a wooden deck need to be dry before painting? How long after power washing can you paint a deck? Find out the answer here and more!

Click to Tweet

Painting your deck is unquestionably one of the most effective ways to beautify it, as well as preserving it to stand the test of time. In addition, prior to painting, you do need to wash your deck.

Wondering why? Read below!

Power Washing Is A Must Before Painting

Power washing is a crucial step before you can paint a deck. This is because the paint coat has a better chance to hold and bond with the surface if it is free of dust, mold, mildew, and other particles.

Although you can easily hire a professional cleaning company to do this task for you, hiring their service also means spending hundreds or thousands of dollars to get the job done. This, for me, is unpractical as you can use those hundred bucks for other household utilities instead.

So, if I can do the power washing myself and just hire a painting company service to do the painting, then I can cut the cost and save more. Sounds like a great plan, right?

But, this is where the problem starts.

This is easily said than done because washing a wooden deck is not the same as power washing a concrete floor in which you can blast the water at high pressure. There are certain considerations that you must know of. You don’t want to damage your wooden deck before you can even paint it, do you?

Below, I’ll share the important things that you need to take note of, as well as explain how long after power washing can you paint a deck.

Please be advised that I am no expert and is merely sharing my experience. Also, I can only talk about the wooden deck.

Wooden decks need special cleaning treatment as compared to concrete floors

Wooden decks need special cleaning treatment as compared to concrete floors

Is Pressure Washing Really Safe Before Painting?

Just like you, I was a bit skeptical about it, as I have read a blog about how pressure washing can actually damage the wooden surface. I tried to find other alternatives and even resorted to manually wiping the wooden surface with a soft cloth and using a DIY wood deck cleaner.

However, the process is a long one and after doing it twice, I got lazy and stop cleaning my deck. I know and understand the importance of effort and hard work, but I want to make the process fast and simplify it.

So, I started doing my research and here’s what I found out:

Pressure washing your deck is okay, but careless pressure washing certainly is not. What do I mean with this?

The danger with pressure washing is that the high pressure can push the water into the crevices of the wood and can permanently damage the material. This is because when wood is exposed to water, it has a tendency to expand and swell.

But here’s the good news!

If you pressure wash using the lowest possible pressure setting (400 to 1000 psi is recommended), then the moisture won’t get deep into the wood and can evaporate easily. This process is what we call soft washing. Electric pressure washers are the best option for soft washing.

How Soon After Power Washing Can You Paint A Deck?

Now that we’ve established that pressure washing prior to painting is safe and possible if done the right way, another question arises is, “how long do you have to wait to paint a deck after power washing?”

The average drying time is 48 hours, as per the experts’ recommendation. Furthermore, please know that the 48 hours average drying time is ideal if your deck has enough sunlight exposure.

So, how long should you wait to paint a deck after power washing if your deck is on the shadow side of your house?

In this case, you need to wait at least 72 hours. Also, it is a great practice to inspect the deck before applying paint. If you suspect that the deck is not completely dry, give it another day or two before you proceed with painting.

Following the recommended average drying time is important to ensure the paint bonds well with the surface

Following the recommended average drying time is important to ensure the paint bonds well with the surface

Other Useful Tips

Here are other useful tips to remember before painting your deck:

  • 1. Always follow the recommended average drying time, or better yet, exceed the waiting time to make sure your deck is completely dry.
  • 2. Unfinished wood must be primed before painting. The primer helps smoothen out the wooden surface, as well as seal the wood and prevent it from soaking up the paint.
  • 3. Consider the weather when calculating the drying time. Of course, sunny weather is the best time to power wash before painting. Avoid power washing during rainy weather.
  • 4. To speed up the drying time, you can use a squeegee to wipe off any excess moisture on the surface.
  • 5. When power washing the deck, make sure to attach the wide-angle nozzle to your pressure washer gun. The wide-angle nozzle spreads the water evenly, thus the water has just enough strength to clean the surface but not damage it.


Knowing how long do you wait to paint a deck after power washing is very important to avoid damaging your deck. Is the waiting time sooner or should you wait longer? It actually depends on the different factors such as the weather and the location of your deck.

Nevertheless, the average drying time is 48 hours for sun-facing decks and 72 hours for decks that are on the shadow.

And that’s it for today’s article. I hope you find this blog useful. Have a great day!

TOP 5 most viewed articles in month

In compiling a top-5 list of this month's most popular articles:

Mattie Keyes

Hi there! This is Mattie. When I am not making DIY projects for my house, I spend most of my time researching and writing reviews of different products that you can buy online. I am an office worker turn full-time blogger, and I hope to help other homeowners like me on how to improve and reinvent your home using the best ideas and equipment.