While the Homeowner is Saving Pennies For a New Deck, Properly Cleaning the Old Deck Will Suffice

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Last weeks cookout was a big success. The grill fired up, the food was fresh, and the company was pleasant. Even the weather was forgiving. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of the deck. While a deck can be in good condition structurally, it often shows its age through severe fading and weathering from the elements. There are just two options at this point. Redesign and build a new deck or clean it and re-stain it.

While replacing an entire deck for the majority of homeowners is not the most viable option, for those few that are planning on a new deck installation, there could not be a better time. Obviously, most people would opt to clean their existing deck and re-stain it, but this does require more than just a hose, a can of stain, and a brush to revitalize a deck. Staining a deck properly is still considered a do-it-yourself project, but will require several days and a lot of elbow grease.

The first step for any outdoor project is to prepare with safety in mind. Many homeowners already have a set of gloves and safety glasses for working around the house or using power tools. If this basic safety equipment is missing, then the cost to clean a deck will increase by a margin. Other equipment and materials necessary to clean a deck include one pump sprayer, a bucket, bio-degradable wood cleaner, borade, a stiff bristle deck brush, a drill with a paint mixer attachment, and a hose. As one can see, there’s quite a bit of equipment that is required to needed to properly clean and prepare an existing wood deck for staining.

While most “professionals” will just resort to using a pressure washer to blast off the dirt, the majority of pressure washers are far too powerful and will actually cause further damage to the deck. The reason why pressure washers are a popular choice is because of the fact that it’s much easier than actually scrubbing the surface and it saves time in the short term. Pressure washers will actually create small tears and openings in the wood fibers of the deck planks thereby allowing more moisture to enter and degrade the wood at a faster rate. Where regions of the country receive a variety of different types of weather from sun to freezing ice, such as North Carolina, it is especially important to maintain the integrity of the wood.

The key to any paint job or staining is to clean and prep the surface properly. After hosing off the deck surface of any loose debris, fill the pump sprayer with a 1:1 ratio of wood cleaner and water. After spraying down the deck boards and any steps, begin vigorously scrubbing the surface with the deck brush. This will loosen and remove the embedded dirt from the deck. After a 10 to 15 minute break, again hose down the deck. Rinse out the pump sprayer as well. What is left will be a dirt free deck.

The next step is to eliminate any algae which is a common problem on decks throughout the entire country. In a clean bucket, mix a 1:5 ratio of borade to water. It will need to be mixed thoroughly with a mixing paddle and drill in order to prevent any residue from clogging up the pump sprayer. Fill the pump sprayer with the borade solution and spray down the entire deck. Do not hose off the deck. Again, the purpose of the borade solution is to kill any algae. Now clean up and let the borade solution soak into the deck and dry for two or three days.

Upon returning to the deck, inspect the deck for any loose boards or railings. After making any necessary repairs, the next steps are to apply the stain. In short order, that old worn out looking deck will reflect the newness that the homeowner can enjoy for several cookouts and years to come.

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Source by Daniel P Elliott