Do you cover decks?

Hey guys so when performing a house wash if the customer has a wood (painted or stained) or composite deck and wants it cleaned I would imagine you would treat it the same as the house ( spray your solution,let it dwell and then rinse off) However what if that customer has the same (painted or stained) wood or a composite deck and dosent want it washed? Do you pre wet it and than cover it with a tarp to minimize SH getting on it and rinse when your done? Or do you just leave it uncovered and let SH drip on it and just rinse it really well when finished? I’m still new so I don’t know for sure but I would imagine the tarp would be a good practice, as I’m aware this is a common practice when you run into really fancy expensive wood stained doors and other moldings.

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I always pre-wet a deck before I soap that side. That will help dilute the SH even more. Sometimes I’ll soap the whole deck after prewetting and just rinse the deck at the same time I rinse the side…it doesn’t take much longer. If you don’t pre-wet the deck the SH will clean part of the deck closest to the house and overspray could spot the outer part or railings. Always best to be safe.

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If your house wash mix is cleaning the deck then you need to re evaluate the strenth. Wasting a lot of SH. 0.8% or lower should not clean up the wood to a noticeable point.

Only time I pre wet decks is if we are cleaning a roof and worried about over spray.

How about when the customer doesn’t want it cleaned? do you cover it at all so there are no drops / overspray ? Or just pre wet and rinse really well?

When is it important to cover items ?

It’s best if you remove (or have them remove) any patio furniture or anything they don’t want wet or get detergents on. I’ve never covered a deck with a tarp. If they have a newly stained expensive wood front door it’s good to cover that with a tarp or plastic since SH will affect that. I’ve also tarped gardens if their really finicky about it.

@Patriotspwashing…I know what ratios my set up puts out is .8 to 1% because I’ve tested it…so not wasting any SH. Sure you can get away with spraying house wash on a part of most decks without pre-wetting and get away with it. I wouldn’t recommend that for someone just starting out. If the deck has any mildew or algae on it though the house mix will “clean” part of the deck. Ive seen it happen. Not like it renews it like when you treat with stronger SH mix and brighten with oxalic but house mix will loosen the mildew on deck close to the house. Just like when you spray house mix and it runs down onto dirty concrete there could be some lines unless you pre-wet. How long does it take to pre-wet a deck…5 seconds? It can’t hurt.

Im gonna do a roof and house wash tomorrow and the homeowner just recently painted his deck. He wants me to tarp it but if i pre wet and keep soaking the deck often you think ill be safe?

Hard to say but why risk it? Always do your best to address realistic customer concerns. If they mention it then obviously it’s important to them which means it’s important to you. Tarps are cheap at Harbor Freight and a lot cheaper than repainting a deck


I agree with Jeremy. I’d go ahead and cover it. Whether or not it does any damage depends on the type of stain used and if you’re able to dilute enough right away. I wouldn’t risk it. Although, if they have gutters it shouldn’t be as much of an issue as long as they gutters are cleaned out. You might get some leakage in the joints. Once thing I’ve learned about roofs is to take every precaution possible. One drop of 5% mix on wood and you’re going to see it. I even tarp landscaping if I think it can get hit. I normally work by myself though so don’t have anyone rinsing while I’m spraying the roof. I usually jump back and forth and rinse myself.


That actually surprises me, no helper at least?

No helper…I’ll probably hire a guy next year but just me for now. I just take added precautions when doing roofs. I’ve yet to kill any plant or cause damage but I’m extremely cautious. I haven’t done a ton of roofs though. It’s just not big around here. At least not yet. :smiley: I have a job coming up where I’m going to have to hire a guy or two though. Still trying to figure out the best way to do that since I’ll only need them for a day or possibly two. I have friends who would help but I’m not sure the legalities of it.

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Much easier to just not wash the roof. Then you don’t have to get sweaty or buy a tarp

There’s you answer. Do the most incredible tarp job you ever saw and charge accordingly.

Here’s my ground guy. $50 at tractor supply ( I overpaid, I know)

Now you tell me, after I already had it printed on my business cards.


Thanks for all your feed back. Im going out tonight to buy a couple big tarps. I also work solo and get very nervous about roof mix or house wash getting under the tarp but ill rinse first then tarp it the best I can. I’ll let you know how i make out tomorrow.

Just take your time with it. Nothing involving roofs and ladders should be rushed. You shouldn’t need to tarp anything, pre wetting is the key. Pay attention to wind, volume and angle, master those 3 and any roof is cake. My rule of thumb with roofs is if you’ve charged enough you should be able to do the same job twice and still make good money.


This is definitely an issue to be careful of but we are talking about slight overspray from roof cleaning right? Or is the tarp because there are no gutters over the deck and all the chems are going to run on to it?

There are gutters with the gutter guards on top. Its supposed to rain in the afternoon also, would I be better off rinsing the roof? The deck is painted dark brown.

If the gutters are functioning properly then the deck should not be a issue in my opinion because the rain should wash everything into the gutters. If the gutters are overflowing then you’ll probably still be ok because the rain will be washing off the the deck and diluting the SH at the same time.

The thing to check is where the gutters drain to. What you don’t want is a short rain shower that rinses the roof into the gutters and dumps all the SH into the landscaping and then quits. If it’s a heavy rain that dumps buckets, you’re probably good without rinsing.

From what ive heard,if no gutters rinse lower half of the roof,if gutters rinse lower third of the roof,if light rain showers are a concern

No problem with the deck, did have some rain after and one gutter went into a mulch bed and flowed into the grass. Haven’t gone back to check yet and didn’t here anything.