Restore a Deck
When to Restore a Deck
Over time we gradually adapt to changes. In the case of wood decks, its color, strength, and overall appeal starts to fade. Most people become oblivious to it, until friends and family are coming over. If not cared for properly wood can fade and weaken over time. Actually, if a deck is installed without staining and sealing it, you will notice a significant difference within the first month or two! If you have a deck stained and sealed from the start, you will notice a drop in quality in about a year. People begin wondering at this point on how to restore a deck to like-new condition.
Hire a Professional
Making a deck look like new again can greatly improve the image of a house. If someone is planning on increasing their home’s value a little bit, this is a great ice-breaker. Most people love when a new home has a deck. Don’t turn them off with a run-down version of it! To get the most out of a restoration, it’s a great idea to hire a professional. A decking contractor has experience and knowledge of how to keep a deck in its prime-time the longest. This way you don’t have to perform this process more times than necessary.
Steps to Restore a Deck
Step 1 – Scrubbing the Deck
The first step of restoring a deck is to prepare it for staining. Before any staining, the deck should be scrubbed clean. If the deck still has stain on it, it must be removed. We will often use a stain stripper for removing the stain. After the deck has been cleared of any staining and has been cleaned, it’s time to stain and seal the deck.
Step 2 – Staining the Deck
After scrubbing, decks commonly look pretty naked. We need to cover it up with some nice deck staining and a sealant. Choosing a stain color is up to the homeowner, but Redwood has always been a very popular color. Deck staining is a great way to protect a deck from Mother Nature and general wear and tear of use. After you stain your deck, it’s time to seal it. A deck sealant is the best way to protect a deck from water damage. Choose the driest time of year in your area to do this part. We do not want a deck to be ruined because it rained before the deck finishes drying.
Step 3 – Enjoying Your Restored Deck
When all is said and done, we’re left with a beautiful new deck that draws attention. The deck becomes the centerpiece of conversations. Now all that’s left is to grab some furniture and use it at will. Now that’s how you restore a deck!
Pressure washing and power washing have been the main method of cleaning decks.
The cleaning typically was done prior to staining or
painting to remove dirt, molds, algae and fungus. As professionals
began to specialize in deck cleaning chemicals were added to the
process for a more uniform level of cleaning and to allow the use of
low water pressure rinsing (less wood fiber damage). This process
is done by typically wetting down the deck to prevent the cleaner from
drying to fast than apply the cleaning mix, dwell and rinse. Dwell
time is important. The process is than finalized by spraying the deck
with a wood brightener to balance the ph for preparation of a finish.
This is the main method of professional deck cleaning.
At Carlton Cleans we changed the process by removing the
pressure washer from the process. The main reason we removed the use
of a pressure washer is even at low pressure with the use of chemical
cleaners minor damage to wood fibers can still occur and the chemical
strength generally has to be on the strong side to be effective.
Carlton Cleans uses scrub brushing in the place of a pressure washer.
We use a low pressure chemical sprayer to apply our deck cleaning mix
and hand scrub the entire deck. The process is finalized by applying
a wood brightener. The lower chemical ratio is better for the
environment and the technicians doing the work and still effective
because of the scrub brushing process. The scrub brushing is gentle
on the wood and is a very effective cleaning method. Of course the
process of scrub brushing is more time consuming than pressure
washing and high chemical ratio use. Carlton Cleans also applies all finishes by hand.
Part 2—Cleaning the Deck
In the last article, we discussed how to select the proper equipment for a DIY deck cleaning project. In this article, we will address how to use the equipment properly to achieve your desired results without damaging your deck. Before beginning, be sure to remove all grills, furniture, planters and other items from your deck. Any grease spills from your grill should be pre-treated with a solution of dish soap.
Before applying cleanser to the deck, rinse the deck with water. This will aid the cleanser in spreading easily once it is applied. Then, use the scrub brush to apply cleanser to the deck. Most of the work of cleaning the deck will be done by the cleanser, not the pressure washer itself. Many cleaning solutions should not be allowed to dry on the wood, so be sure to closely follow the manufacturer’s instructions and periodically mist if necessary. Typically the manufacturer will recommend a soaking time of 20 minutes to enable the cleanser to adhere to the embedded dirt.
After waiting the recommended time for the cleanser to soak, it is time to rinse the deck. It is important to not let the cleanser soak too long, as this can cause damage to the wood. When first engaging the trigger of the pressure washer, point it away from the deck, people and other objects. If the sprayer is pointed directly at the deck when first engaged, scarring on the deck surface can result.
Cleaning is typically started where the deck is adjacent to the house. Begin sweeping by starting from the edge, then sweep the sprayer out from the house and then back toward it, being careful to maintain a consistent distance between the nozzle tip and the deck to ensure an even result. A typical sweeping section might be about 3 feet wide. Once the first 3 foot section along the length of the house is completed, the next 3 foot strip can be begun.
A technique called “feathering” can be used to prevent lines from appearing between two sweeping sections. To do this, make sure the second sweep overlaps the first sweep, working with the grain or length of the board. An alternative to the sweeping technique is the long sweep, whereby you walk the entire length of a board, making sure to hold the nozzle at a consistent length from the surface. It will typically take a few sweeps to complete one board in this manner. After the whole deck has been washed, allow it to dry for 24 hours, and then re-inspect. Imperfections that were invisible when the deck is wet may appear, and it may be necessary to re-clean some areas.
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.