Deck Cleaning: What You Should Know

Learn how to clean your deck the right way.

Decks can be a beautiful addition to any outdoor space, and they increase the overall value of a home significantly. They do require maintenance, however, and deck cleaning is one of the most important ways for you to maintain your deck in all its glory. With a few simple tips, you can keep your deck looking good as new, regardless of the season.

The first step in cleaning a deck is to sand any splintered areas with 80 grit paper. If any boards are damaged or rotten beyond repair, you should replace them.

The next step in cleaning your deck is to sweep it clean of all dust, dirt and debris. You can use a conventional broom, or you can save a little effort by using a leaf blower for the loose debris.

Next, you should determine if your deck needs water sealer. To test this, pour a small amount of water on the deck's surface. If the water beads up in droplets, you still have a good amount of sealer on the deck surface and won't need to re-apply. If the water soaks into the deck, you may want to consider applying water sealer after cleaning.

Your next step is to apply deck cleaner. First, determine if your cleaner requires a wet or dry surface for application. Use a paint roller with an extension handle, a garden sprayer or stiff-bristled push broom to apply cleaner to the whole deck. Don't allow the deck cleaner to puddle. Scrub any tough areas with a stiff brush.

Allow the cleaner to soak into the wood—usually for about 10 minutes, but check product instructions as durations can vary. Finally, rinse the deck dry with a hose, then leave at least two days for the cleaner to work before applying any sealer or other product.

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