One of the best things you can do to keep your outdoor deck looking as good as new is to clean it regularly. Building and designing a custom outdoor deck can be a fun and exciting time. Everyone would love for their outdoor deck to look as pristine and beautiful as the day they installed it. It is wise to understand the work you will need to do to complete and maintain your deck before you begin construction. The type of maintenance work and cleaning you will need to do depends on the kind of deck you installed.
Different Types of Decks Require Different Types of Cleaning
If you have a natural wood deck, you will need to clean your outdoor deck annually. Your local hardware store will have a deck cleaning solution geared toward cleaning natural wood decks. Or you can use your own homemade solution that will help fight algae, oil, mildew, and debris. If you have a natural wood deck, you will also need to stain or seal your deck routinely to keep it looking clean and fresh. Sealing your natural wood deck also helps protect the wood against the harsh elements Outdoors, including moisture from rain and snow and heat. You also need to replace or repair loose wood planks on your deck from time to time.
If you have a composite deck made up of a mix of real wood and artificial material, you will not need to conduct as much maintenance as you would with a natural wood deck. Composite wood decks do not splinter, and you do not need to periodically stain, paint, or seal composite wood decks. You will still need to replace any broken or damaged boards, however.
Find a Deck Cleaning Solution
The first step in cleaning your deck involves scrubbing your deck with a stiff bristle brush using a deck cleaning solution. As mentioned above, you can purchase a deck cleaning solution at your local hardware store or create one yourself. You will need a garden hose with a power washer or nozzle attached, a brush with an extension pole, a bucket, and your preferred cleaner. Your deck cleaner will have instructions on the back, stating which proportions of water and cleaning solution you should use. If you use dish soap in your homemade solution, make sure that you use ammonia-free dish soap. If you happen to mix ammonia with bleach, toxic fumes can result. After you blend your deck cleaning mixture with water, you are ready to begin cleaning your deck.
Cleaning a Natural Wood Deck
Everybody loves the look of a beautiful natural wood deck, as long as the deck is well-maintained. The sun, rain, snow, and wind can all do damage to natural wood decks. Harsh winters and frost can erode natural wood over time, and the sun can be just as damaging to a beautiful natural wood surface. Cleaning your natural wood deck is extremely important. The first step is to pre-rinse your outdoor deck. Use your garden hose with a sprayer attached to spray the deck with water. Doing so will soften the dried fibers of the wood. Pre-rinsing your deck also helps you apply your cleaning solution evenly over your entire deck.
Next, after you have mixed your chosen solution in a five-gallon bucket, you are ready to clean the deck. Pour the mix over the deck, then scrub the deck with your brush. The stiff bristles on your brush will help remove mildew, stains, mold, and dirt. If your deck is large, you will need to divide up the deck into several different areas. In other words, only apply the deck cleaner to one small area at a time, and complete the entire cleaning before moving on to another section. Otherwise, the cleaning liquid could dry onto your deck before you have a chance to scrub it.
After you thoroughly scrub your natural wood deck, you will need to rinse the decks thoroughly. You can use your hose with a sprayer attached or a pressure washer to rinse off all cleaning solutions and debris. The best time to clean your deck is when the sun is out so that it can dry off quickly. Many people clean their decks during the summer in good weather. If you plan on staining or sealing your deck, try to leave 24 to 48 hours for your deck to dry before you apply the stain.
Cleaning a Composite Deck
Cleaning a composite deck involves a different process than cleaning a natural wood deck. The first step is to select a safe cleaning solution for your composite deck. Stay away from deck cleaners with harsh chemicals, and make sure your cleaner is safe for composite decks. When in doubt, you can speak to an associate at your local hardware store. You can also make your own composite deck cleaner. We recommend cleaning your composite deck twice a year.
First, you will need to pre-rinse the deck with a hose or pressure sprayer. Try to remove as much mold and debris on the surface as possible. Next, mix up your cleaning solution in a five-gallon bucket. Pour the solution onto the deck and then scrub the deck with your bristle brush. Make sure your bristle brush is not too stiff so that you do not damage your composite wood deck. After scrubbing, rinse the deck thoroughly with your hose or pressure sprayer. Keep in mind that if any dirty water dries on your deck, it will remain on your deck’s surface, so be sure to rinse the deck thoroughly.
Looking to Spruce Up Your Outdoor Living Space? Contact Masterpiece Outdoor Living
If you are looking to add to or create a new outdoor living space, Masterpiece Outdoor Living can help. Our designs have been featured on Mega Decks as well as on the DIY Network. Contact us today to discuss how we can create a stunning four-season outdoor living space for you.