Deal Yourself A Clean Deck
Every Spring is spent the same old way – wondering why the deck won’t stay bright and fresh looking for more than a year at a time?!? Well, don’t fret – we know the feeling and are with you 100%. Fortunately, we have had the good fortune to learn the easiest technique for care and cleaning of wood decks. And if you know our technique you’ll enjoy Spring time a lot more. In a nut shell here’s what we do:
- First, we wash our deck with good old laundry detergent and water. Experiment with the concentration to see what works best for you. We use a half cup of detergent in a gallon of hot water.
- Wet the deck with plain water first.
- Then, use a garden pump sprayer to apply a plentiful amount of the soapy mixture.
- Use a stiff brush on a long handle to make scrubbing easier. Scrub, scrub, scrub.
- After a quick rinse with fresh water apply an ample layer of oxalic acid (wood bleach).
- We sprinkle it on like we were applying dry rub to barbeque. The more the merrier. Note: Think safety here. Use gloves, eye protection and wear a filter mask over your nose and mouth. You can get a mask for about a buck and a half.
- Scrub the bleach into the wood and mist it with plain water from time to time to keep it wet. After scrubbing for about 5- to 10-minutes you will notice that the wood is beginning to look better than brand new.
- Repeat this process 2 or 3 times to get your deck looking brand new.
- Rinse with fresh water and let dry for 48 hours.
- Finally, apply a wood preservative – we suggest one that is pigmented. Pigmented (colored) wood preservatives last longer than the clear ones.
- Don’t over apply the preservative – if it puddles you’ve applied too much. Wipe any excess away with an old cloth.
If you use the wrong type of preservative you can get into trouble. Using a wood preservative on a deck that was designed for use on walls or fences would be a mistake. Wall type material used on a deck will end up being tracked onto the floors in your home. It’s important to know about the differences in wood preservatives:
- There are two basic types of wood preservatives. Know the difference, use them for their intended purpose, and you will definitely prevent major heartaches.
- One of the two is used for vertical surfaces (walls and fences). This type is usually very thick and opaque. It is not designed to be walked upon. Walking on this material will remove it.
- The other type is used for horizontal surfaces (decks and furniture). This type is usually semi-transparent. Designed for very thin application. Pudding during application is a very bad thing with this type of material. Paddling should be dealt with immediately. Use a cloth to remove excess material. Puddled materials always result in a sticky mess.
TIP: A pressure washer can be used for the final rinse. It isn’t an absolutely necessary ingredient, but makes the entire process easier and the result is usually superior.
Spring also is a good time to deal with tattered outdoor furniture as well. Here are a few tips that may help to reduce your work. As we mentioned a moment ago, a pressure washer is not an absolutely necessary ingredient in the cleaning process, but it sure makes things easier – especially with metal and plastic furniture. Apply your favorite cleaner, scrub and then rinse with a pressure washer. For metal, canned spray paint can be used to brighten the finish in less than 5 minutes for most pieces of furniture. Count on using a can or two on each piece. You also can paint plastic, but it simply won’t last. We recommend scrubbing only.
Wood furniture is a bit more complicated. Here, you do not want to use a pressure washer and if you use water for cleaning you must immediately follow with drying. Water will raise the grains in the wood and you may end up sitting in a bed of splinters if you aren’t careful. After the cleaning, follow with a very light sanding and an even lighter coat of wood preservative. Apply the preservative carefully and wipe excess vigorously. Otherwise yo may end up with a new color on your clothing.
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