Should I Sand or Pressure Wash a Front Porch to Remove a Stain?

A wooden front porch adds an old-world feel to any home, but maintaining it stain-free can call for a good deal of upkeep and time. If the porch is stained, you may not know the best method to remove the stains. Both pressure staining and washing can eliminate stains which are heavy into the wood, and which way you use depends on your experience level and preference.

Pressure Washing

Owning a pressure washer could be both a blessing and curse when it comes to caring for wood surfaces such as porches and decks. These machines are powerful cleaners, and you’re able to augment their cleaning power by adding wood cleaner into the water. But, they also have the capacity to do harm to your own porch. They could create upwards of 2,000 pounds per square inch (psi) of pressure, which may lead to gouges and cracks if not managed properly.

Pressure Washing Tips

Do not use a pressure washer if you don’t have any experience with the tool, or whether you’re not certain of your ability to manage it. If you choose to use it, hold the nozzle 10 to 12 inches away from the porch’s surface to avoid causing damage. Start at a low pressure setting and only work your way up the strain scale if required to get rid of a tough stain. You can add an expert wood cleaner into the water to get an extra cleaning increase; follow product directions when combining cleaner .


Sanding the wood surface eliminates the thin top layers, also for stains which have not sunk deep into the surface, sanding alone will often get rid of the blot. Sanding is also often done following pressure washing to remove splinters or rough spots resulting from the pressure. If you’re simply sanding the stained area, use medium-grit sandpaper or a rotary tool with a sanding attachment, then and follow up with fine-grit. If you have to sand the entire porch, then a handheld orbital or other type of power sander will make the job go quicker.

General Cleaning Tips

No matter which way you use to wash your porch, you can take some actions to make the job simpler. Remove all furniture from the porch until you start and pick up any large debris, like sticks or leaves. Sweep away dirt and dust from the surface. After the cleaning is finished, wash down the entire porch with warm water from a garden hose to eliminate residual cleanser or sanding dust. Do not let cleaner dry on the surface, since it can cause much worse stains if it sinks in.

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