Posts Tagged ‘Wood Deck Cleaning’

In this article we are going to cover what actually is “Wood Deck Cleaner”. We will compare the different types of deck cleaning options available and what are the positives and negatives of each.

Wood and Deck Cleaners

Exterior wood and deck cleaners are designed to clean and prep your exterior wood prior to an application of a wood stain. These cleaners come in many different concentrates with different ingredients. The main purpose of deck cleaners is to remove contaminants such as dirt, oxidation (graying), mold, algae, and in some cases, a very deteriorated stain that has failed. Deck cleaners are typically made up of caustics soaps that will aid in the scrubbing or pressure washing of your wood during the prepping process. Most deck cleaners will raise the pH balance of the wood resulting in a neutralizing acid (deck brightener) application to cancel the caustic of the cleaner, leaving the wood in a neutral state.

Note: Deck cleaners are not designed to remove old stains. You would need a deck stain stripper for this.

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Wood Fuzzies on Deck After Prepping? Why it happened and how to fix.

Before applying a deck stain or sealer you should prep the wood properly first. Prepping is the most important part to the deck stain’s longevity. When evaluating the prepping process you should look at two options. Does the wood need to be cleaned or does an old stain need to be removed?

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Moldy Deck

Moldy Deck

Black Mold and why it Grows in Certain Deck Stains

Exterior deck stains are subjected to the elements making them prone to natural contaminants. A deck stain is there to shield the wood from harsh weather and the damage it can cause such as rot and decay. In providing protection sometimes the deck stain itself can be compromised.

Black mold is one of the natural occurrences that can affect a wood stains effectiveness and longevity. There are several reasons why black mold can grow on or in a deck stain but here are the most common reasons.

Over Applying Deck Stain

When a deck stain is over applied to the wood it can affect the curing or drying time of the stain. When this happens the deck stain remains tacky for several days or longer allowing dirt and tree pollen to become embedded. Once these contaminants have intruded the stain they can attract and begin to grow black mold even after the stain finally cures.

Tips: To avoid curing issues by over applying a wood stain, work in small areas or one board at a time. Let the stain soak into the wood for several minutes then use a brush or a stain rag to wipe any excess drips or puddles.

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Hiring Tips for a Deck Restoration Contractor

When you have come to the conclusion that deck maintenance is not for you or that bringing a deck back to life is too much work, you can always hire a contractor. Hiring a deck restoration contractor does not have to be difficult but you certainly want to do some research prior to making a decision.

Painters vs. Deck Restoration Professionals

Do not hire a painter to restore your deck unless he has extensive knowledge on the subject. We have found that many painters do not have the experience or know how of the proper preparation and application of a wood stain. Best to hire a professional who specializes in exterior wood deck restoration.

Deck Restoration Costs

The most common key factor for deck owners hiring a contractor for restoration is price. Deck restoration pricing can vary widely. The best thing to remember is most of the time you get what you pay for. This means the cheapest contractor, especially if they are way cheaper than anyone else, may not give you the results you expect.

The price a contractor charges for deck restoration work is closely related to his expenses. If a deck cleaning contractor is very low on price he may not be properly insured, use inferior products, or might plan to take shortcuts to turn a profit. Always be weary of a ridiculously low estimate for deck restoration.

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Best Stain for an Older Wood Decking

Wood decks can be a beautiful addition to any property but when neglected they can also become an eyesore. When a deck goes too long without being maintained sun and water damage occur. The wood loses its natural oils and becomes very dry and porous. Cracking, splitting, warping, and graying are all signs of an old deck that has not been protected against weathering.

Here are the steps needed to make your old tired deck look new again:

Repair First

Do a thorough look over for any rotten boards and replace them. Check for loose boards and railings and tighten these up as well with decking screws. Check foundation for any structural damage.

Clean and Brighten Deck

It is not impossible to bring an old wood back to life. A little care and maintenance can revive most neglected decks. If the deck is still in good structural condition the grayed wood can be cleaned using a wood deck cleaner.

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Deck Stain Stripping vs. Deck Cleaning

Knowing the difference between deck stain stripping and deck cleaning can be vital to your deck maintenance or restoration project. It’s important first to understand why cleaning a wood surface is necessary.

Besides the obvious of overall appearance and curb appeal, a wood deck should be cleaned and sealed every couple of years to prevent structural damage. Water and moisture wreak havoc on wood inviting mold and mildew which can lead to wood rot. The sun’s U.V. rays also damage wood fibers and turn them an unsightly gray. In colder climates freeze/thaw occurrences can warp, crack, and split boards ruining a deck in no time.

By cleaning the wood and protecting it with a quality wood stain, you are locking out moisture, blocking sun rays, and protecting the deck from the environment. This ensures a better overall appearance and a longer lasting wood structure.

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Restore-A-Deck Cleaner Kit

Restore-A-Deck Cleaner Kit

Restore-A-Deck is the only product on the market that offers both a Step 1 Deck Cleaner and a Step 2 Deck Brightener in the same kit. Restore-A-Deck comes in a powdered concentrated formula. Each 2 lb container makes 5 liquid gallons. Simply pour each into a five gallon container and add water to dissolve the powder concentrate.

Restore A Deck Cleaner and Brightener Scores (1-10)

Removal of Graying, Dirt, Grime: 9

- The Restore-A-Deck Step 1 Deck Cleaner did very well at removing general dirt and grime. The deep cleaning formula made it easy to break down the gray wood cells. All mold was removed as well. The Step 1 Deck Cleaner did not remove some rust stains from the furniture but the Step 2 Brightener did.

Cost Per Square Foot: 10

- The best on the market today. Cost to clean and brighten an average 600 square foot deck is less then $.07 a foot. Since Restore-A-Deck comes in a powder we liked that you only needed to mix as much as you needed. Very little waste.

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Uncleaned Dirty Deck

Uncleaned Dirty Deck

The correct answer is – not if you want the deck stain to last as long as it should. The number one reason a deck stain fails prematurely is because

the wood surface was not prepped correctly. Even a high quality deck stain will not be as effective or protect like it should if the wood deck was not been washed first using the right deck cleaners.

A good deck cleaner should be used to remove gray wood fibers, dirt, mold, mildew, and other pollutants that are deep down in the wood. In some instances a deck stain stripping agent is required to remove an old failing deck stain. It’s vitally important to remove all remnants of an old deck stain so the new stain can penetrate the wood. More times than not, most deck stains will not adhere to each other. When a deck stain is applied over an old failing stain it will start flaking and peeling within a year or so making an even bigger mess.

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EFC 38 Wood Cleaner

EFC 38 Wood Cleaner

EFC-38′s unique formulation provides the strength necessary to clean gray wood, mold, mildew and heavy accumulations of grime. EFC-38 contains sodium percarbonate and additional surfactants that boost the overall effectiveness. EFC-38 was designed to clean and prep all exterior wood.  EFC-38 is safe to use and makes an excellent tool for wood preparation prior to applying a wood coating..

EFC-38 Wood Deck Cleaner Scores (1-10)

Removal of Graying, Dirt, Grime: 9

- EFC-38 is very effective at removing graying wood cells and algae. The wood surface looked 90% or better when done with the cleaning. All algae and mold was removed from the fence.

Cost Per Square Foot: 10

- Cost to clean the 1000 square foot fence was less then $.04 a foot. The powdered formula makes 5 gallons of liquid wood cleaner for 2 pounds of EFC-38

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Pressure Washing A Deck

Pressure Washing A Deck

Wood restoration can be one of the most misunderstood services and one of the toughest for do-it-yourself homeowners. One thing to keep in mind is that the main reason a new deck sealer will fail prematurely is because the wood was not cleaned properly beforehand.

When wood becomes weathered, it needs to be cleaned prior to sealing. Cleaning a wooden deck can be a difficult task for a homeowner that is uneducated about the process.

Using a pressure washer can be an effective method. You must also use the proper cleaners to get the dirt and grime out that is deep down in the wood. Most people make the mistake of using too much water pressure when using a pressure washer. Wood is actually pretty soft and can damage easily from excessive water pressure.

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