deck cleaning

Wood Deck Maintenance

Over the years the popularity of decks has increased due to the fact that better wood treatments are being made to make wood much more durable. A well-kept deck can make your house stand out in the neighborhood, and one that’s not in good shape can be sore on the eyes. Some people enjoy using Redwood or Cedar on their decks because these woods contain natural preservatives, but the majority of decks are now made from pressure-treated pine.
Wood deck maintenance consists of three important steps and the first of these steps involves preparation and inspection. Regardless of what type of wood your deck is made of, the preparation process remains the same. The process begins with clearing the deck of all grills, furniture, pool toys, etc. At this time you should also cover up all fragile plants that cannot be moved out of the way. With everything cleared away and covered up you should then begin to sweep the deck free of debris. Lastly, inspect the deck for loose boards and nails that stick up and make any necessary repairs.

Cleaning and Sealing a Wood Deck

The second step requires you to give your deck a thorough cleaning. Read the directions that come with the cleaning solutions to find out if you must hose down your deck before cleaning. Also, be very cautious with nearby plants and grass because the cleaning solutions can seriously harm them, especially cleaners that contain bleach. Apply the solutions with a brush or broom or spray it on with a power washer under low pressure. Be sure to wait long enough after cleaning so that the chemicals can work their way into the wood. Lastly, rinse the deck thoroughly.

The last step requires you to seal your wood deck to protect against weather damage. During the sealing process, it is still very important that you cover up important items that could be damaged by the sealant. The sealant can be brushed on, rolled on with a paint roller, or sprayed on. Keep in mind; if you decide to spray the sealant on your deck then you need to be sure that you are capable of controlling it. Spraying is by far the hardest to control.

Sealants come in a clear, wood-toned, semitransparent or solid/opaque. Some are water-based and some are oil based formulas. Also, some sealants contain stain to tint the color of the deck and some contain ultra-violet sunlight protection to reduce the damaging effects of the sun. Your choice in sealant will depend on the type of wood you are working with, the color you desire most, and the level of protection you insist on having.

Some maintenance tips are:

  1. The water puddles sit on a deck or porch for more than two days, brush them off. Standing water can cause mildew to form on the surface of a coating.
  2. The Pitch stains, or crystallized sap, found mainly around the knots of pressure-treated wood, can be removed with turpentine or simply scraped away. Turpentine will not harm an existing coating. Pitch is non-water soluble, organic wood extractive material found in species such as Southern and White Pine.
  3. Do not use a metal shovel to remove snow from a deck; it can pierce the underlying coating and cause it to erode.
  4. Only use sodium chloride types of salt on a wood deck or porch that has been water-sealed or stained. Calcium chloride salts will reduce the effectiveness of a water-repellent coating.

If you are one of the many homeowners that despite keeping up with regular maintenance, then you may want to consider some of the alternative deck materials. Several manufacturers make new decking materials that don't splinter and don't require painting or sealing. They are typically made of plastic or a composite of wood and plastic. The use of these materials is becoming increasingly popular. Up front, they are more expensive than traditional wood decks, but over time they save you money because they don’t require the additional maintenance costs.

Wood Deck Cleansing Agents

The following are the ways and means of cleansing wood decks:
1) Wooden decks can be cleaned effectively using household cleaners and bleaches.
2) There are some other chemicals too which can be used to clean wooden decks like trisodium phosphate.
3) Hy-Tech house wash is a powdered concentrate that is simply mixed with water. It is formulated with oxygen bleach and other agents for deep penetration, long "wet time" and ease of use. It does not harm wood fibers, pets, grass, or most plants and is completely environment-friendly.
4) Chlorine Bleach: Chlorine kills algae, moss, and mildew. However, it must not be used more than 1 cup per gallon of water as the extensive use of chlorine can be dangerous for the wood, environment and the surrounding greenery.
5) There are various acids which can be used as wood-cleansers. Some of the acids are citric, oxalic, disodium peroxydicarbonate and phosphoric.
6) Phosphoric is generally not preferred as it is fast, dangerous, and ecologically unsound. Citric acid is a little slower, easier to control, effective, non-hazardous, and rapidly gaining popularity.
7) Oxalic acid and wood bleach are used for removing stains and lighten darkened gray weathered wood. A solution of oxalic acid crystals dissolved in water applied to the discolored area would remove the stains in twenty minutes or less following the application.
8) Natural fungicides and insecticides can also be used to cleanse wood from fungus, insects, and germs.

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