Wood care and maintenance are the keys to having a long lasting deck. Every year or two a deck should be cleaned and stained to protect the wood from the harsh elements. UV rays and unwanted moisture can wreak havoc on a deck that is unprotected. The number one reason a deck stain fails is due to the lack of proper wood preparation. Any exterior wood surface needs to be cleaned and prepped correctly in order for the stain to perform as expected. Failure to do so can lead to premature stain failure jeopardizing the wood’s integrity.
To properly clean and prep a deck it starts with a wood cleaner. A sodium percarbonate based oxygenated cleaner is recommended. This type of wood cleaner has been proven to work the best in removing dirt, mold, mildew, wood graying, and in some cases an old failing sealer. It is highly important to remove all of these pollutants in order for the new stain to penetrate properly.
Most oxygenated cleaners have surfactants that help boost the overall effectiveness of the detergent. These caustic detergents do a great job of loosening pollutants but in turn, they also raise the pH level of the wood. Why does this matter? The deck stain will penetrate better in acidic conditions and when the wood pores are opened up ready to receive a coat of new stain. A lower pH also darkens the wood not allowing the true beauty of the wood to show simple fix to this is to use a deck brightener.
Wood deck brightener, also called deck neutralizer, is an acid based product that simply neutralizes the caustic cleaners and helps lower the pH level making the wood more acidic. This opens up the wood pores and brightens the wood bringing out the grain’s natural beauty. A simply application of deck brightener after cleaning is all that is needed to brighten and neutralize the cleaners and will complete the proper prep work needed for an outstanding stain finish that will last.