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deck cleaning

How to Pressure Wash a Deck: Scrubbing a Deck vs. Power Washing

Remember these Key Points on how to pressure wash a deck

  • Never power wash a deck with high pressure
  • Low pressure should be used minimally
  • Oxygenated cleaners are the best cleaners for older decks
  • Decks will not be “bright” or “blonde” without a brightening solution
  • For best results, always use a professional deck cleaning company

Many homeowners want to know how to pressure wash a deck. The simple answer is not to. Scrubbing the deck is a better option. Pressure washing can and will take everything off of whatever you are washing. When it comes to washing a deck, this sounds like a great idea, but pressure washing really works against you in this case.

High Pressure Power Washing

So why is it a bad idea to pressure wash a deck? The same reason you would pressure wash it. Pressure washing takes everything off. All decks contain loose fibers of wood. Due to these fibers, the high pressure will pull up and leave splinters in the deck. Older decks notice the effects of pressure washing more severely than a newer deck, but the effects still exist. So what does high pressure power washing do exactly?

  • Gets under the wood and raises splinters.
  • Causes noticeable gaps in the grain that will expand and contract with the weather conditions.
  • Damages the wood, lowering its expected lifetime.
  • Makes the wood more vulnerable to the Sun.

One answer to the question how to pressure wash a deck is lowering the PSI of the washer so it protects from the damages. However this method still requires scrubbing to get that true deep clean you’re looking for.

Scrubbing a Deck

Carlton Cleans scrubs all of our clients’ decks to get in deep and get the deck back to looking like new. Scrubbing with a deck cleaner is the best way to prepare the deck for staining and get any dirt, algae, and any other nasty substances that may have soaked into the wood.

Cleaners

Cleaners come in a variety of options, such as:

  • Bleach-based
  • Oxygenated
  • Oxalic Acid-based

Carlton Cleans prefers oxygenated cleaners because of the existence of sodium percarbonate. If your deck is covered in mold or mildew then you’ll see a significant difference in the appearance of your deck using an oxygenated cleaner.

Using a low pressure washer, Carlton Cleans removes a good bit of dirt, mold, and mildew. For example, here is a customer’s deck in the middle of a cleaning. Just after a low pressure wash:

You can also see that the deck doesn’t really have that fresh, clean color to it yet. This is because a pressure washer, when used at a lower pressure, does not go as deep as you need.

Second, Carlton Cleans then scrubs the deck with oxygenated cleaners for the best treatment possible. The oxygenated cleaner also has a natural tendency to strengthen the wood, protecting it from some of the Sun’s UV rays. However oxygenated cleaners and a thorough deck scrubbing is not enough to give your deck that beautiful blonde-colored look, like this one.

In order to get your deck bright and clean like the one here, you’ll need a brightener. The oxygenated cleaners raise the pH and the brightener will neutralize the pH levels and give you that blonde-colored look you’re looking for, all the while being as clean as the day it was installed. Lastly, once it’s dry and ready, Carlton Cleans stains the deck to protect it from the Sun.

Professional Deck Cleaning

Finally, a deck cleaning can transform your deck from a rotting, gray plank of wood to a bright, clean, and ready-to-use deck. Unfortunately, if not done by a professional deck cleaner, such as Carlton Cleans, the deck will not turn out like the pictures above. Carlton Cleans knows exactly what pressure is right for your deck, when it’s okay to use a pressure washer, what angle to use when power washing, and what cleaning solutions will work best for your deck. Carlton Cleans hopes that it has answered your question of how to pressure wash a deck. Make sure you contact Carlton Cleans today to get your deck it’s like new look back!














5 Outdoor Spring Cleaning Tips

pressure washingSpring has officially arrived and it’s time for spring cleaning. This past winter was harsh and has probably caused quite a bit of damage to your home’s exterior. Between fall’s leaves, winter’s snow and ice, and spring’s pollen, you could probably use some outdoor spring cleaning tips.

  1. Cleaning Up the Siding – The siding of your home is what the majority of people notice when they first look at your home, and the primary color of your home is directly influenced by the color and condition of the siding. In rare cases, the siding may need to be replaced, but that’s only necessary if it’s damaged or missing. In other cases, a quick power wash will do just fine. Power washing your home is a quick, easy way to bring your home back to life and give it that color that it was lacking.
    A power washer can reach where hoses and sponges just can’t. The power that comes from the tip of the pressure washing hose is around 3000 PSI and can even get those moldy spots underneath the panels that creep out unexpectedly.
  2. Yard Work – We all dread the thought of cleaning up the yard, but just picture the results! Giving your yard that beautiful view back can make all the difference in the world, especially when you have guests over for a cookout. It’s a good idea to trim your trees as well to clear out any spots that may be blocking your view. Clean up the leaves and check for bald spots in your grass. If you find any bald spots (you likely will), then just plant some more grass seeds there and help it grow back. Keeping a healthy yard is one of the most time-consuming and tiresome parts about spring. At least you only have to do this part once a year, though.
  3. Deck Cleaning – Clear off the deck of any furniture and other objects and get ready for a hard scrubbing. We recommend not pressure washing your deck to preserve its health and keep it in good shape, because a pressure washer can damage the wood fibers. Instead, grab a brush and some wood cleaner. Once it’s all soaked up and scrubbed down, it’s time for some deck stain. Staining your deck can preserve it for the months or years to come. Deck staining can protect against heavy foot traffic, severe weather conditions, pet scratches, and general wear-and-tear.
  4. Clear out the Gutters – Oftentimes we forget about the gutters because we can’t actually see what’s in them. Hop on a ladder and head up there to see what we’re talking about. It can get pretty nasty, but it can also cause damage to your home if not cleared out regularly. The best way to do this is the old fashioned way: rubber gloves and a trash bag. Once you clean the vast majority of debris out of the gutters, the water should wash the rest down. Feel free to test and observe your gutters by spraying the hose up there and see where the water goes.
  5. Clean the Windows – The windows are always there and can get pretty dirty and cloudy if not cleaned regularly, especially during the beginning of spring. Winter moisture builds up around the edges and can even create a mold residue. To make matters worse, pollen stacks up on top of it all in the spring. Always be sure to keep your windows clean and sparkling, just like the rest of your house.

Spring Cleaning Checklist

In order to keep your home in top-notch condition, it’s important to keep it maintained. Here’s a quick checklist of the most important things to do:

✓     Clean out the gutters of debris

✓     Power wash the siding and other exteriors of your home

✓     Scrub and stain your deck

✓     Trim the trees, if possible

✓     Clean up the yard of leaves and other miscellaneous debris

✓     Clean your windows to give them a sleek shine

Cabot Australian Timber Oil

Cabot ATO is a fast drying oil that will flash easily including on soft woods. Flashing is when the stain dries creating a shining finish prior to all the stain penetrating into the deck. Always take clean rags and wipe the entire deck to remove non-penetrated stain after the deck is stained prior to finishing for the day. If the deck is large you may need to do this in stages.  Carlton Cleans prefers to use conditioning oil stains like Armstrong Clark which will not flash and will penetrate completely into the deck even if it takes a few hrs.  On hard wood decks Cabot is a fine choice  but stills need to be ragged the same day as application. If Armstrong Clark is used on hard wood decks come back the next morning and rag the excess stain. Call Carlton Cleans for quality deck refinishing at 301-904-4446.

Refinishing Peeling Deck Stains

Carlton Cleans refinishes old peeling acrylic stains or paints. Carlton Cleans starts the prep process by brushing the deck with Safe Wash using elbow grease. After the deck is cleaned it is rinsed with a pressure washer. The deck is allowed to dry for at least 2 days than peeling acrylic pieces are scraped and in some cases feather with a sander. The dust is blown from the deck and repainting begins. All painting is done by hand using brush and rollers.

How Long Does a Wood Deck Last?

The wood deck, especially made from fabricated or composite wood, is an affordable option for homeowners. Wood planks or beams are used to construct walkways, stairways, and wraparound porches for houses built above the ground. For example, wood decking can provide a wraparound porch to cover the crawl space under the house.

According to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), a wood deck should have a life expectancy of about 20 years. For wood decks located in dry areas, the lifetime of the wood deck may extend up to 25 years. In southern climates, the lifetime of the wood deck is considerably shorter (10 to 15 years). In the North, the lifetime of the wood deck is 20 to 30 years. If your home is located in Maryland or Virginia, therefore you should expect a life expectancy somewhere between 10 years and 20 years, but it will depend on the amount of humidity in your local climate.

Your wood deck’s long-term sustainability also has to do with the quality of the manufacturing process that was used to prepare the wood materials for the deck.

When you consider deck restoration, you may not feel qualified to estimate the condition of the wood deck. How many years of use have you gotten out of it? How much time have you spent cleaning, sealing, and restoring the deck to its original condition? Especially if you have taken over a home without this information, you can benefit from consulting a deck restoration expert. Your well-qualified Virginia deck restoration or Maryland deck restoration expert will provide an estimate so you know exactly what you will have to pay before agreeing to the job.

Source: http://www.nahb.org/fileupload_details.aspx/?contentTypeID=3&contentID=51&subContentID=262451

 

Proper Deck Cleaning and Sealing

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Having your deck properly cleaned and sealed is essential to its longevity. Cleaning and sealing a deck should not be a one time thing; it needs to be done every couple of years. Most professional deck cleaning companies will offer a deck maintenance program so that your wood deck looks good all the time and lasts for years to come. In this article we will answer some common questions home owners have pertaining to deck maintenance.

How soon can I have my new deck cleaned and sealed? Many people have heard that you should let your deck “dry out” for a year prior to cleaning and sealing it. This is a myth and the truth be told, most of the damage is done to your deck in the first 6 months or so.

After 12 months the wood can be split and cracked from water damage and will have turned gray from the suns damaging UV rays. At this point it isn’t too late to have it cleaned and protected but the sooner the better.

A professional deck restoration company can take moisture readings in the wood and let you know for sure when your deck is ready to be sealed. Usually within 1-3 days, depending on the climate and location of the deck, it will be ready for a proper cleaning and some deck sealer.

Is it possible to restore a deck that has aged? Depending on the situation an older deck can be brought back to life. As long as the boards aren’t too warped or rotted, getting rid of all the gray dead wood fibers is not a problem. Some sanding may be necessary before it is sealed and your deck contractor may offer those services also.

Even if there is some structural damage a deck contractor could probably do some repairs for you before having it cleaned and sealed. A quality deck cleaning contractor should be able to make an assessment of your deck before attempting to restore it, that way you know what to expect.

Can I clean and seal my own deck? It is possible for a do-it-yourselfer to restore their own deck but I recommend they have some knowledge of the chemicals used and experience in using a pressure washing unit. Wood is actually very soft and when hit with too much water pressure it can easily be marked and scarred. Some people don’t realize all the skill and know how that is essential in restoring a deck properly and will sometimes get a friend are family member to do it for them.

Again I don’t recommend letting anyone lacking the experience to touch your deck. When a wooden deck is cleaned and sealed improperly it will only cost you more money to have it fixed and done right the next time.

Can I just seal my deck without washing it? The answer to this question is NO, not if you want the sealer to penetrate properly and last. The number one reason a sealer fails is because the wood was not prepared properly. Even a very expensive sealer is not going to do its job unless the wood has been prepped correctly.

Special chemicals need to be used to remove dead fibers, dirt, mildew and other pollutants and it all has to be cleaned using low water pressure so the wood isn’t damaged. In some cases a deck sealer stripper is used to remove an old failing sealer, it is important to remove all traces of old sealers so the new sealer can adhere to the wood.

More times than not, most sealers will not adhere to each other and some sealers won’t even adhere to itself after a certain amount of time. Contractors using the proper stripping technique will depend heavily on their chemicals to do the work so the right amount of low pressure can be used.

After the cleaning or stripping process a neutralizing step is then needed. The reason for this is because the cleaner or stripper used is considered a caustic and will leave the wood with a high PH level. Deck sealer does not adhere well or properly in this situation. A neutralizer is sprayed on the wood to lower the PH and leave the wood more acidic so the sealer will protect and last a couple years like expected.

Deck restoration and maintenance is a wonderful service when done right, it saves you money by protecting your added living space. Please understand that not all deck cleaning companies have the proper knowledge, just like any industry there are the unethical companies out there just trying to make a buck, so be sure to ask the contractor what his methods and techniques are so you can get the service you expect.

Learn more about deck cleaning and proper deck maintenance at Midwest Pro Wash or contact Shane Hester at WebFirstCreations to get your own construction website .

Deck Restoration Saves Money

Deck restoration will help you to maintain the investment you’ve made in your home. Your deck is an outdoor extension of your house, providing you the space to both relax and entertain friends. A knowledgeable Deck Cleaning Professional can restore your decks beauty, while applying a protective finish, which will more than double the lifetime of an untreated deck.

Replacing your deck may cost as much as twenty-times the amount of restoring an existing serviceable deck, and the longer you put off having your deck restoration, the more damage weather can do. Mother nature works day and night, 365 days per year, to destroy your decks integrity. The sun’s UV rays break down the fiber in the wood, leaving your deck vulnerable to further degeneration, even as the damp underside of your deck provides a near-perfect environment for mold, mildew, and fungi to quickly spread. So why wait until your deck loses it’s natural color, or begins to decay and fall apart – when treating it promptly can eliminate these problems?

Hiring a licensed/insured Deck Cleaning Specialist, guarantees the best results in maintaining your deck’s appeal and safety for many years to come. Their careful use of pressure washing equipment, along with scrub brushes and hard work; should give your deck a clean, new look. Then by using a preservation product such as high-end penetrating stain, formulated with non-drying oils; your deck should hold up to the harshest weather. Reapplication every 2-3 years is necessary to maintain maximum protection and beauty.

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