The Simple Routine of Deck Cleaning

A well-maintained deck is a fabulous addition to any backyard. As long as you keep your deck in top shape, youll enjoy parties, cookouts and evenings watching the sun set from just outside your door. To make it last, though, youll need to have a great deck cleaning routine.

In order to maintain a wood deck properly, you must annually inspect and assess its condition.

Look for any loose boards and mend them. Check the structural integrity of the deck. Fix what you are able to fix and get professional help if the repairs are beyond your skill level. Make sure there is no rotting wood, which is often discolored and soft. Replace any elements of the deck that are rotten.

Look for loose nails and screws and tighten them.

After you have taken care of the deck structure, you are ready to begin deck cleaning. Start by removing any loose paint with a scraper. Use a sander on any loose paint that isnt removed by scraping.

If you need to remove paint or varnish, youll need to get the appropriate chemicals. Apply them carefully and use the proper precautions. Protective eyewear and chemical-resistant rubber gloves are essential at this step.

Once youve removed loose paint and stripped the varnish, youre ready to apply the deck cleaner.

There are a variety of deck cleaners to choose from; you should use the type that your deck needs. Chlorine bleach cleaners are terrible for wood decks, as they are harmful to the wood. They also leave an unnatural residue. Oxygen bleach deck cleaners can safely remove mildew stains.

They also are great for restoring the color to a sun-damaged deck and removing dirt. Oxalic acid deck cleaners effectively remove tannins from wood decks. Thorough deck cleaning usually requires a combination of oxygen bleach and oxalic acid to completely remove any stains from the wood.

Now that youve procured the proper cleaning solutions, its time to prepare the surrounding areas. Cover any plants near the deck and spray the area with water to dilute any chemical overspray.

Mix the solution according the directions, being sure to wear your protective eyewear and gloves. Working in small sections, spray the cleaner and let it sit for the prescribed amount of time. Scrub with a deck brush, then rinse. Make sure that you scrub with the grain of the wood.

Move to the next section of the deck and repeat the steps.

After youve cleaned your deck, let it dry for at least two days before resealing. When the deck is completely dry, select the finish you want. Avoid using paint. Make sure the finish you choose is water-repellent and resistant to ultraviolet rays.

Use a roller for the large parts and a brush for the handrails. The wood will soak the sealer quickly, so its likely that youll need to generously apply the sealer. Once it dries, youre ready to get the party started.

As long as you keep a deck cleaning and resealing routine, youll enjoy many years of comfort in your backyard. Wood is highly susceptible to the elements, but with a little tender loving care, it will last a lifetime.


About the Author (text)Learn more about decks and deck cleaning at or contact Shane Hester at to get your own construction website.

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