Any landscape designer will tell you that a deck is an amazing addition to your home. Just like the space inside your house, the deck requires regular cleaning and maintenance for it to remain habitable and safe for the people who use it. So, what is the best way to clean decking? If your deck is made from composite board, it requires less maintenance as compared to decks made of wood. Even so, regardless of the material used to build your deck, all of them require cleaning and maintenance. Here are deck maintenance do’s and don’ts
- Clean the Deck Thoroughly At Least Once A Year
It is important for you to exfoliate your deck at least once every year to allow the protective sealers to sink deeper into the wood. During dry and warm seasons, you should use deck cleaning solutions using a roller or sprayer to get rid of bacteria and molds. Make use of a utility brush to scrub the parts of the deck that are dirty and where mold has accumulated. Power washers or pressure washers can come in handy when cleaning residue. However, they may gouge the wood. Your best bet is a garden hose with a hard stream nozzle such as the fireman nozzle.
- Don’t Depend Too Much on High Power Washers
A pressure washer or power washer is a time-saving tool that is reliable and effective. However, in the wrong hands, it can leave your deck looking old and unstable. You need to know what angle to use the nozzles at and maintain at least an 8-inch distance from the deck when using the power washer. Every time the trigger is engaged, the nozzle should be moving and not just focusing on one part. This is the best way to clean decking.
- Cover Nearby Plants Before You Start Cleaning the Deck
The chemical you use for cleaning and the sealers can kill or harm plants that come in contact with it. Therefore, ensure you either move or cover any vegetation you have near your deck. Cover it loosely but securely to provide protection and allow for air circulation.
- Avoid Using Chlorine Bleach on Your Deck
If you want to maintain the natural color of your wood, you should avoid using chlorine. Chlorine will damage the wood’s cellular structure and weaken it. The best alternative is oxygen bleach. It will not wash out the color of your deck’s wood and is not harmful to plants. Even so, oxygen bleach is still not recommended for redwood decks.
- Sand the Deck Before Sealing It
It takes at least 48 hours for your deck to be fully dry. Once it is dry, sand the surface to get rid of any patches or splintery which may have been caused by the pressure from washing the deck. An 80 grit sandpaper pole sander is ideal for the sanding. Once you are done with sanding, seal your deck. This protects it from warping, cracking and cupping. Clear sealers will last longer than tinted sealants as they fade quicker because of foot traffic on the deck.