Owning a wooden deck can be very pleasurable, especially in the spring and summer months, enjoying the outside, barbecuing, soaking up the sun, or simply just relaxing in the cool breeze. The wooden deck you enjoy requires regular maintenance, keeping deck surfaces in perfect condition, withstanding weather’s harsh elements. Many times decks are neglected, causing wood to blacken and gray over a long period. Cedar can grow mildew if enough moisture is present, and can be very difficult to remove. Discoloration must be removed before re-staining, not only to beautify the wood, but clean mildew spores and contaminants that can blacken wood very quickly again, even with a new stain applied. Much work is needed rolling and brushing new stain into wood, so therefore cleaning should be limited to a very rare occasion, requiring just as much work, if not more, cleaning.
Cleaning the deck, most think of power washing, or pressure cleaning. Understanding the difference can save your wood from being ruined. Both uses a high pressure water jet, power washing normally uses tap water from a garden hose. Pressure cleaning on the other hand uses a kerosene or propane heater to heat the water to near boiling temperatures. Pressure cleaning is never used on wood, and power washing can harm it also, holding spray wand too close to surface. The least amount of times power washing a deck the better, as this high pressure takes off a small amount of wood as fuzz wet, or dust dried.
Different types of power washing, cleaning the deck depends on which kind of stain was once used. If a semi-transparent stain was used, black and grayed wood appears left UN-finished. This is where the deck cleaners come into play, brightening the wood before any high pressure power washing takes place. The best deck cleaner is not your normal “Deck Cleaner and Wood Brightener” but a detergent found in most grocery and hardware stores. OxiClean is by far the very best wood cleaner out there. You can even watch the black ooze to the top, making grayed wood like new. When the power washer hits it, not needing to be very close at all, your deck will look like it was, first built! After 24-48 hours drying completely out, your deck staining procedure is ready to begin.
On the other hand, decks stained with a solid body deck stain, gives appearance of a deck paint. Normally 50% stain soaking into the wood, and other 50% lays on top as a thin mill thickness, appearing as a paint. Cleaning this type of stain is relatively easy, applying the same OxiClean using a large shop broom, making you feel your aboard a ship as a deck hand. Power washing this residue off goes fairly quickly, and no concern of brightening the wood. However the OxiClean cleans stained surface allowing the next solid body deck stain to bond, with proper adhesion capabilities. Mixing OxiClean is also very elementary. A few cups in a 5 gallon bucket, filling bucket up with tap water, makes a very strong deck cleaning solution. One box will go a long way, using for other uses around the house.