What Size Pressure Washer is Best to Strip Paint off Deck?

You’ve decided to give your deck a fresh new look by stripping off the old paint. You’ve gathered all the necessary tools and equipment except for one crucial item: a pressure washer. But now you’re left wondering, what size pressure washer is best for the task at hand?

The size of the pressure washer you need will depend on the size of your deck and the type of paint you’re trying to remove.

A pressure washer with a minimum of 2,000 PSI and a flow rate of at least 2.5 GPM is recommended. But, if you have an enormous deck or thick layers of paint, a more powerful pressure washer may be necessary.

Below, I will talk about why choosing the right pressure washer size is essential for deck paint removal, the factors to consider before purchasing one, and the steps to follow to strip the paint off your deck successfully. So, let’s dive in!

What Size Nozzle Should You Use for Paint Stripping?

When it comes to painting stripping with a pressure washer, selecting the right nozzle size is just as important as choosing the right pressure and temperature settings.

The nozzle size determines the width of the spray pattern and the impact of the water on the surface, affecting the speed and effectiveness of the paint removal process.

The ideal nozzle size for paint stripping depends on several factors, including the type of surface, the thickness of the paint, and the pressure washer’s PSI.

For most deck stripping projects, a 15-degree nozzle is recommended, as it offers a balance between the force of the water and the precision needed to strip the paint without damaging the wood surface.

While using the pressure washer, keep the nozzle at a distance of 12-18 inches from the surface.

When choosing a nozzle size for your deck paint stripping needs, consider the condition of the deck, the type of paint you’re trying to remove, and the pressure washer’s capabilities. Test a small area first and adjust the nozzle size accordingly until you find the right balance of power and precision for optimal paint removal.

How Does the Size of the Pressure Washer Affect its PSI?

The size of a pressure washer, specifically the orifice size of the nozzle, plays a significant role in determining the machine’s operating pressure. When a nozzle with a smaller orifice is used, it causes a greater restriction of water flows through the machine, which in turn leads to an increase in pressure.

Conversely, when a nozzle with too large of an orifice is used, it reduces the operating pressure. Therefore, choosing the right nozzle or orifice size is crucial to ensure that the pressure washer operates at optimal pressure for the task at hand.

What PSI Range is Suitable for Paint Stripping on a Deck?

When it comes to stripping paint off a deck, one of the most important factors to consider is the pressure of your pressure washer.

The pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI), and it determines the force at which water is sprayed out of the nozzle. The higher the PSI, the more forceful the water stream will be, which can impact the effectiveness of your paint removal process.

The PSI range suitable for paint stripping on a deck is typically between 2000 and 4000 PSI. This PSI range is effective in removing paint from the deck surface without causing damage to the wood underneath.

However, if you’re dealing with stubborn paint, you might need a pressure washer with a higher PSI rating of around 3000.

It’s crucial to avoid using pressure washers with PSI below 2000 as they won’t effectively strip the paint off your deck surface. On the other hand, pressure washers with PSI ratings higher than 4000 may cause damage to the wood and are not recommended for this task.

What Happens When a Pressure Washer with PSI Above 4000 is Used?

Using a pressure washer with a PSI above the recommended range can cause severe damage to your deck. The higher PSI can strip away the wood’s natural fibers, causing it to become rough and splintered, which can be dangerous to walk on.

Additionally, it can cause permanent damage to the wood, leading to costly repairs or replacement.

One of the main risks associated with using a high PSI pressure washer is that it can create gouges in the wood, which can allow water to penetrate deep into the wood, leading to rot and decay.

The higher the pressure, the deeper these gouges will be, which means that the damage to the wood will be more severe. This can lead to costly repairs or even the need for a complete deck replacement.

Another risk of using a pressure washer with a PSI above the recommended range is that it can cause the wood to splinter, making it unsafe to walk on. This is especially dangerous for children and pets who may be running around on the deck.

The rough surface created by the high pressure can also trap dirt and debris, making it difficult to clean and causing the deck to look dirty and unappealing.

Can You Use Cold Water Pressure Washer to Remove Paint?

Yes! You can but not for the stubborn paints. A cold water pressure washer is particularly useful for removing thin layers of water-based paint. Since water-based paint doesn’t cling to a surface as strongly as oil-based paint. As a result, the pressure from the washer can easily remove it.

It’s also crucial to take safety precautions when using a cold water pressure washer to remove paint. Protective gear such as gloves, goggles, and a face mask should always be worn to prevent injury from the high-pressure water.

Can Valspar Hardener Be Used with a Pressure Washer to Strip Paint off a Deck?

Yes, Valspar hardener can be mixed with a pressure washer to strip paint off a deck. It is important to follow the recommended mixing Valspar hardener ratio to achieve the best results. This combination can effectively remove old paint and prepare the surface for refinishing.

Is a Hot Water Pressure Washer Better for Removing Paint from the Deck?

Hot water pressure washers can offer several benefits when it comes to stripping paint off a deck. The hot water is effective in removing tough stains and grime, making the job easier and faster than with a cold water pressure washer.

Using a hot water pressure washer to strip paint from a deck has several benefits. The hot water helps to break down the paint’s chemical bonds, making it easier to remove. Additionally, the heat aids in softening the wood fibers, which helps to prevent any potential damage to the deck’s surface.

How to Remove Paint with a Power Washer?


Selecting the right size pressure washer for paint stripping off a deck is crucial. A pressure washer with a PSI range between 2500 to 4000 is suitable for paint stripping on a deck, and a nozzle with a size of 15 or 25 degrees is recommended.

It’s essential to understand that the size of a pressure washer affects its PSI, and using a pressure washer with a PSI above 4000 can damage the deck’s surface.

While it’s possible to use a cold water pressure washer for paint stripping, a hot water pressure washer is more effective.

In summary, by selecting the right size pressure washer and nozzle and understanding its impact on the PSI, you can safely and effectively remove paint from your deck.

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