Tips for Cleaning Your Wooden Deck or Patio
Start by sweeping away all the leaves and other debris. Gently wash down the deck and the surrounding bushes and grass with a garden hose (they will love it!). Mix up a batch of cleaner with your preferred formula. If the wood is extremely dirty, use less water, especially for decks that have been neglected for a long time.
Using pressured water, a mop, or a bucket and brush, apply your cleaning formula. Just remember to wear gloves to protect your hands. To help the cleaner work better, keep the deck wet while working. Let the cleaner set for 15 to 20 minutes; this gives the cleaner time to work on stains and grime. Finally, give the deck a good rinsing.
Preserving the Life of Your Deck
If you’ve already cleaned your surface like described above, you are now ready to apply a stain or preservative of your choice! Clear wood preservatives contain a UV protector which, like sunscreen, helps protect your wood’s natural color from the effects of long-term sun exposure. If you want to add color, use an exterior stain. You can choose from a solid or a semi-transparent. Deep-penetrating formulas are great for repelling water and exterior stains are available as water-based or oil-based products.
Tips for Applying a Stain
Cover all the surrounding areas with a cloth tarp. Apply the wood finish with a roller or brush. Let the product set for about 20 minutes so that it will penetrate the wood. Then go back over the surface with a brush; this is called back brushing. This will give it a more consistent finish.
Brush out any puddles that you see to avoid shiny patches. We always apply a double coat for good coverage and protection. Finally, allow the stain or preservative to dry one to two days. Be sure to dispose of old rags and empty containers properly.
Some Tips from Our Experience
Even though pressure-treated lumber prevents insects and decay affecting the wood, it’s still vulnerable to moisture and the sun’s rays. This includes other exterior woods like cedar and redwood. To keep it looking new and lasting longer, regular maintenance is necessary.
If your deck has some age, a deck cleaner can be used to give it a cleaner, fresher look. Deck cleaners come in bleach and non-bleach formulas. Either formula can remove surface and settled-in dirt, but bleach cleaners lighten the wood, while non-bleach cleaners gently remove dirt and grime without damaging the wood fibers or the wood’s natural color. Non-bleach cleaners are also friendlier to the environment and not as tough on surrounding bushes and plants.