Exposed to the elements, outdoor decks can quickly become dirty and grimy. Some older decks may also have mildew and algae. It is essential to thoroughly and properly clean a wooden deck before applying a stain or seal. Maintaining a clean deck will also extend its life, while also providing a more pleasant atmosphere and experience.
The most common way to clean a wood deck is by pressure washing. Many homeowners who try to do it themselves will quickly discover that it’s not as easy as it appears. Correctly pressure cleaning a surface, particularly wooden decks, requires the appropriate equipment and skill, otherwise, you can unwittingly cause damage. Those who are determined to do it themselves will benefit from learning about common pressure washing mistakes to avoid when cleaning a wooden deck.
Pressure and Distance
While pressure washing looks easy, and even fun, it takes time, skill, and practice to do it correctly. If you just start spraying you will remove dirt, but with it may come some wood. It’s important to use and hold the right pressure at the right distance otherwise you can easily cause costly damages.
Learn and Practice
Professional pressure washers know how to properly and carefully clean wood decks. If you are going to do it yourself, taking time to learn how to do it and practicing is advisable before tackling your deck.
Perhaps the fastest way to cause damage is to use a high-pressure power washer at full blast. The extreme water pressure can leave marks, scaring the wood. Also, if there are any issues (loose boards, hardware, splinters, rot, etc), it can make the situation much worse.
Without experience, it may be difficult to use and maintain the right strokes and distance to do a professional-quality deck cleaning. In order to achieve an evenly cleaned deck, you will want to use feathering strokes over each area. It involves overlapping the areas previously covered making sure each stroke begins and ends at the right places. Always work with the grain or board’s length.
Using only water to pressure wash your deck is ineffective and may end up just spreading grime and mold spores around the surface. However, applying the wrong type of cleanser can be ineffective or end up damaging the wood grain. Consequently, it’s very important to use the right cleanser. Make sure to carefully read the manufacturer’s directions and follow them exactly. For substantial buildup and hard stains, you will want to allow the cleanser to sit and soak on the surface for a few minutes.
Dry, Dry, Dry
Prior to applying stain, seal, or any other deck treatment, make sure your wooden deck is completely dry. It usually takes several days of dry weather before it’s completely dry. If your deck isn’t fully dry, moisture will get trapped which can weaken it, while also promoting mold growth.
About Deck Doc
With over 20 years of experience, Deck Doc provides top-quality deck cleaning, sealing, staining, restoration, and maintenance services for residential and commercial customers throughout Chicagoland. Call 847-979-9299 to schedule your free, no-obligation estimate.