Whether you enjoy family cookouts or love watching the sunrise and having a quiet cup of coffee before the kids get up, decks serve the purpose and add some great outdoor space to your home. However, wooden decks are subject to the harsh seasons. To keep them looking great and safe, they need lots of TLC throughout the year.
Wood decks help you appreciate the outdoors by adding to the beauty of your home. With their warm, natural appearance, they just feel good. Since they take a lot of abuse from continual exposure to the elements, they can quickly become uninviting without proper care. There are several tips that you can follow to ensure your deck maintains a perfect form.
How to clean and care for your wooden deck
After making it through the winter, it’s now time to enjoy the spring and summer outdoors on a well-maintained and clean deck.
An unwashed wooden deck easily invites mildew and mold and can cause the wood to rot. The cleaning process begins by removing debris from between the deck boards using a putty knife and thoroughly sweeping the area. You can then clean using a solution; ensure you choose a recommended cleanser for your building material.
- Vinyl: you just need mild soap and warm water to remove dirt, mildew, and mold.
- Composite: specifically use a cleaner formulated for composite material. Oil and grease stains can be attacked with commercial detergents and degreaser.
- Wood: just use a standard deck cleaner appropriately.
After cleaning your deck, seal it by painting or staining depending on your preferences and budget. Your finish options include:
- Semi-transparent stain: tints the wood while letting some grain show.
- Clear sealer: lets the natural wood color and grain show through.
- Solid stain with opaque color: seals weathering damage and covers the grain completely.
- Toner: adds color but reveals the grain fully while providing some protection against direct sunlight.
You should also never forget to check your deck railing. Wood railings will get mold and mildew especially considering that they’re exposed to the rain and heat just as much as the rest of your deck. Be sure to clean them accordingly to avoid rotting.
Diagnosing and treating discolorations
Mold and mildew can be removed using bleach-based products, while oxidation and other stains can be removed by acid-based products. You can test for mildew if you are not sure of the stains you have on your wooden deck. This can be done by putting a drop of concentrated household bleach liquid to a black spot. If it disappears shortly after, it’s mildew.
Treating mold, mildew, and algae
Your cedar or redwood decking can be treated using chlorine bleach-based cleaners. These lighten the wood as they remove mildew and mold. Non-chlorine oxygenated bleach can be used to remove mildew or algae stains on pressure-treated pine. The products are environmentally friendly, biodegradable, and non-toxic. Although they clean and brighten the pine, they darken cedar or redwood and are not recommended for such woods.
Dark tannin stains on cedar or redwood decks and oxidized surface fibers can be removed by acid-based products from any hardware store.
You can apply the acid solution on the board using a rag while you scrub with a soft brush. After allowing it to dry, rinse with clear water and allow it to dry again before applying any finish. Wear eye protection, rubber gloves, and old clothes to protect yourself.
Professional deck maintenance
Many homeowners prefer using power washers to clean decks since it’s thorough and easy.
Power washing your patio may be essential for a thorough, hearty clean, a deep clean that is essential before bringing out your deck furniture.
However, without appropriate care, wood can be significantly damaged, which can ruin the deck surface. It’s even more dangerous to power wash newer deck surfaces that have not been coated or sealed. This is why hiring a professional for deck maintenance is important.
Although professional businesses may be well experienced in using power washing machines, the forceful spray from a pressure washer could accidentally damage a customer’s siding or cause an injury. As such, it’s vital that such a business has pressure washing insurance cover. Should anything happen, this will help pay for repair costs, medical bills, and legal expenses that could otherwise sink a business.
If you want your wooden deck to look great as you enjoy the peace of mind that the stain will last, don’t hesitate to consult a professional. This will give you peace of mind and the extra advantage of getting necessary carpentry services and deck repairs. There’s no secret to deck maintenance — it just needs to be repaired, cleaned and protected professionally to make the results last longer.