How to Clean Decks and Bring Out the Best of Them

Cleaning decksOne would (rightly) argue that cleaning the outdoor decking takes a broom. Maybe, some water with the hose. And such an approach will be alright only and only if the deck was last cleaned the other day – not last year.

Considered the living room of the backyard, decks embrace all summer (and late spring) activities of the family, from eating and reading to playing games and chatting with friends. Amidst all this energy we bring on board, we also bring mud, dirt, and debris – all of which can be cleaned with the water hose and the broom. But how about the times you want to clean the deck to prep it for the long summer? Will a broom suffice? We’d say no.

Why do you need to clean the deck well?

There are three very good reasons why you should clean the outdoor deck very well before you actually settle in for the summer.

  • Obviously, cleaning the deck well is necessary for aesthetic reasons. Who wants to sit and eat, read and socialize in a filthy deck?
  • Cleaning decks well is a matter of safety. Don’t forget that over the months that nobody steps foot on deck, the weather takes its toll. And it leaves all sorts of dirt behind – flying objects, debris, mildew, mold, dirt. Slipping and falling will be easy if all the above is not efficiently removed.
  • It’s also about keeping the deck for longer. If you don’t want a deck built from scratch pretty soon, you need to take care of it. All this dirt accumulated over the winter months will harm the material. Since we likely talk about a wood deck, it won’t tolerate the dampness the tree leaves leave behind again and again.

One more reason why cleaning the deck well at least once a year is a good thing?

  • When you remove the dirt from the surface, you can see if there’s a problem with the wooden deck. You can see if there’s a need for some deck repair or painting and do what’s required to avoid additional problems. To also prevent the premature replacement of the deck.

How to clean the wooden deck

power wash-deckBefore you do anything, you may want to consult with your deck contractor. Why? Because not all timber species are the same. Naturally, if we are talking about composite decking, the material is particularly resistant to all things and so easier to clean. With real wood, things are a tad different. You cannot scrub too hard, you cannot use any solution, you cannot power wash with absolute confidence – you get the meaning. You need to be quite careful of how you approach the whole wood deck cleaning process so that you won’t do more harm than good.

With all that said, let’s see the basic steps of cleaning wood decks.

  • To do the job right, remove the garden furniture, the flower pots, and anything else from the deck.
  • Remember the broom? Start with that. You need to sweep the deck first to remove the first layer of dust and dirt – perhaps, some tree branches and leaves.
  • To remove the remaining dust and dirt, you need the water hose. It would be great if you could set the nozzle so that the water is not too pointy – to avoid wood damage. Since we are talking about two enemies – wood and water, try to choose a nice day to do all that so that the deck will dry easier and faster.
  • If you are going to use a deck cleaner, make sure it is suitable for your deck material. It’s often important to use a cleaner since there’s no other way to efficiently remove stains, algae, and mildew.
  • Rinse with water and let dry.

It’s vital to check the deck finish to see if some parts are ruined and must be refinished. Of course, it all depends on whether this is a pre-treated wood deck, if it’s painted, or if the deck is stained. You should also look for cracks, holes, and protruding fasteners – all of which may become safety hazards for you and for the deck. And so, if you see any problem at all, it’s best to contact a deck company to do the necessary repair, finishing, or sealing.