My ethos in garden landscaping is for a natural look (lichen on rocks). Cleaning and maintenance are important elements of garden upkeep.
My Methodology for Choosing a Product
Before buying any new product, I always spend time researching and comparing. The questions I ask myself before doing any research include:
- What’s my budget?
- What are my requirements?
- How frequently will the product get used?
Answering these questions will help me to determine whether I want an entry-level, mid-range or high-end product—sometimes described as amateur, semi-professional or professional level. In determining my requirements and frequency, it also helps me to set my expectations and budget limit for the product.
How I Research Different Options
On determining the basic questions, I first start with a Google search for make and model ranges within my budget which appears to meet my expectations, focusing on comparing the specifications and independent reviews.
Having narrowed it down to one or two products, I then look for any YouTube videos showing the setup and/or use of those products, which is often a good visual demonstration showing some of the pros, cons and limitations of a particular model. I find it useful in deciding whether a particular model is likely to meet or exceed my expectations.
My Pressure Washer Criteria
The prime purpose for wanting a pressure washer is to make decking maintenance easier e.g. a good cleaning of the decking once every two years, prior to applying a fresh application of wood oil to nourish and protect the wood.
As I like the natural look of lichen growing on stone, and the weathering on paths and patios to show aging, I had no intention of using a pressure washer for cleaning everything in the garden; just primarily the decking to make it safe, and perhaps stone statues where needed.
How I Set My Budget
So I couldn’t justify spending too much on the pressure washer as it would be something that’s used infrequently; e.g., once every couple years, although it would need to be fit for purpose and reasonably durable.
Therefore, I set my budget limit at £100 (about $150).
Why I Chose the Nilfisk C110.4
When I did my initial Google search for pressure washers within my price range, the most prominent make was the Karcher, and the reviews for Karcher pressure washers were good. However, I also noticed the Nilfisk as a contender, and the reviews for Nilfisk pressure washers were also good.
In carefully comparing a full range of reviews for Karcher and Nilfisk pressure washers, on balance the Nilfisk came out on top. So I focused my research on the Nilfisk and narrowed it down to the Nilfisk C110 Model; and finally settled for the Nilfisk C110.4 Model, specifically because it came with a wide range of tools as standard, including the compact patio and decking cleaner.
From my research, reviews and YouTube videos, not only did the Nilfisk C110.4 seem to meet my criteria and exceed my expectations, and at less than £90 ($130) it was also well within my budget.
Nilfisk C110 Pressure Washer Product Review
My Experience With the Compact Patio and Decking Cleaner
Having purchased the Nilfisk C110.4 with the compact patio and decking cleaner, I was keen to try this attachment.
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However, on testing it, although it does do a good job, and it does prevent the water from spraying everywhere, I found that I could get just as good a result using one of the other two spay attachments—with the added bonus that with the spray attachments I could see what I was doing.
Whereas, with the compact patio and decking cleaner attachment, the effect of cleaning isn’t seen until you move this attachment away from the immediate area you’ve been cleaning.
Therefore, in conclusion, as nice as this attachment is, I’ll not be using it as often as I originally hoped. Instead, I’ll just stick to using the other two spray attachments, which do just as good a job.
My Nilfisk and Accessories
How I Clean My Decking
From experience, I found that new decking stays good for quite a few years; but then a time comes (over winter) when the build-up of algae starts to make it slippery and dangerous.
So to make the decking good again, in the spring I do the following:
- Brush the decking down with a stiff brush.
- Wash it clean with the pressure washer.
- Apply a good coat of wood oil.
The first time I cleaned and re-oiled the decking, I didn’t have the pressure washer, and following the advice from the web I used decking oil. This kept the decking good for two years, but I wasn’t happy with the decking oil; e.g., it was too thick and didn’t absorb into the wood uniformly.
Therefore, when I came to do the decking for a second time, I’d already bought the pressure washer, which made the cleaning of the decking easier, and I used teak oil instead of decking oil. The teak oil is much thinner and absorbs into the wood much better, and it gives as good protection as the decking oil; so much so that I only now need to re-treat the decking once every two years.
Teak Oil for Garden Furniture
I specifically use the 5L (1 gallon) container of Bartoline teak oil as it’s a lot cheaper (and thinner) than other teak oils. So it’s economical for large application uses outside, and it protects wood from the elements as well as any other product.
For example, I used to apply a fresh coat of wood preserver to our picnic bench every year, but even then it was showing signs of some wood rot. Then I switched to applying a coat of teak oil to the picnic bench, which I have found I only need to do once every two or three years now; and since using the teak oil on the picnic bench, there have been no further signs of wood rot.
Other Uses of the Pressure Washer
Many people will use their pressure washer for regularly cleaning their patios and stone, brick or paving slab paths; but I prefer the natural rather than the showroom look, therefore I don’t use my pressure washer for this.
However, I have found it useful to clean up old stone statues, and my wife and son occasionally use it to wash their cars.
Before and After
Cleaning Quartz Stones for Garden Landscaping
Also, when we bought the house many years ago, on tidying up the back garden I found a big pile of quartz stones used to make a rockery. The surface was well and truly ingrained with dirt so they didn’t look any different to ordinary rocks.
However, in using the pressure washer on these quartz stones they cleaned up nicely, revealing their true beauty. So now they take pride of place on the far end of my conservatory decking.
Arthur Russ (author) from England on January 11, 2019:
Hi Mary, yes I agree, using a stiff brush prior to using the pressure washer is an important part of the cleaning and maintenance process.
Liz, each manufacturer have a range of different Models, and at the time I was making the comparison I found Models from both Nilfisk and Karcher that were comparable in their specification and performance; and at the time the price between the two was similar.
Liz Westwood from UK on January 09, 2019:
I have read your article with interest as a friend recently bought a Karcher pressure washer. He wasn't too popular as in washing the car he got dirty water sprayed on the front door, which he forgot to clean off. How did prices compare between yours and Karcher?
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on January 07, 2019:
We do use a pressure washer to clean our decking and we have gone through several in the last few years. I have to admit I have no clue as to the brand we use as I saty away from this but enjoy so much its clean effect. We also use a strong brush before we use the pressure washer.