Deck maintenance isn’t exactly a piece of cake for those who aren’t professionals in the field, but two good annual sessions of deck cleaning with the best deck cleaner can leave you with a clean deck all year round. Regardless of whether or not you have a wood deck or a composite deck, you should never underestimate the power of proper deck cleaning for your home’s general aesthetic. Building a deck in the first place is quite the investment, so homeowners should pay extra attention to deck care so they don’t end up paying more than what they bargained for. Composite and wood decks alike deserve the best deck treatment to shine throughout the year, so homeowners are encouraged to stock up on deck cleaning tips and deck maintenance tips whenever they can.
We’re well aware that the fast-paced society we live in doesn’t allow homeowners to spend as much time as they’d like for composite or wood deck maintenance research. Instead of scouring the internet for wood cleaning tips or painting decking tips or just deck tips in general, you can consult our Ultimate Guide to Deck Maintenance and Cleaning. Not only will you save time you would have spent for background info, but you’ll also get insight into the best methods of maintaining composite and wooden decks. We have the answers to any questions you might have about deck cleaning and staining, such as:
You’ll also find several options so you can find the best way to clean a deck that applies to your home. Furthermore, you will learn about the best time to stain a deck, as well as the options for the best wood deck sealer and the best deck wash for your set up. Without any further ado, here is your complete manual for deck maintenance.
To gain a better understanding about decking and decking cleaning, you need to start with the basics. Sealing, repairs, staining, and proper treatment all depend on the type of house decking you have.
Wooden decking, for instance, cannot be properly cleaned with a composite decking cleaner. When it comes to the choice of decking materials, there really isn’t a ‘right’ way or a ‘wrong’ way to do it. It strongly depends on your visual preferences, budget, and the general architecture of your house. For instance, if your home has a highly modern design with generally cold colours, a traditional wooden patio deck might not look the best. You might want to look into a composite or aluminium deck in this case.
Even though the aim of our Ultimate Guide to Deck Maintenance and Cleaning isn’t to showcase the best vinyl decks or wooden decks, we need to cover the specifics of these materials to fully comprehend decking care and decking maintenance. Therefore, we will go through the main categories of decking material so you can see how to maintain a clean deck accordingly.
If you proudly remind your houseguests that your deck is made of wood whenever the opportunity presents itself, you will need to learn about the particular details of cleaning a wood deck. However, decking wood comes in various shapes, sizes and types, which all require different wood deck cleaning methods.
The most popular option is pressure treated lumber. Nevertheless, experts say that it may not necessarily be the best choice of wood for an outdoor deck. It’s most likely that you have seen this kind of material until now – it’s easily spotted out due to its greenish shade. It has plenty of advantages, but equally as many disadvantages and it’s far from being the best decking wood. Indeed, it is the most accessible alternative for decks, but it requires the most wood maintenance of them all. It will most likely split, crack, or warp at one point or another, especially if wooden deck maintenance is neglected. This is why you need to specifically search for the best wood preservative for pressure treated decks.
Another two common options for wood decks are cedar and redwood. These chemical-free options, however, are considerably pricier than pressure treated lumber. In fact, in some areas, they might be three times costlier than PT wood. Nevertheless, they represent the first choice for many homeowners due to their ease of deck maintenance when compared to PT lumber.
These kinds of decks should be power washed once a year and reconditioned with a coat paint that’s specifically created to protect the wood you use. Be aware, though – the rich colour of cedar or redwood will wear off if you don’t use a reliable wood deck stain and sealer. It is recommended that you invest in some wood deck waterproofing products, preferably the best deck waterproofing products in your area.
A choice of decking that has gained popularity in recent years is composite, mostly due to its recycled content. There are numerous benefits that composite has over wood, but we’ll cover those in a separate section below. When it comes to decking treatment advice for composite structures, one of the most common questions is: can composite decking be stained? Well, the answer is yes and no, depending on the manufacturer of the composite and if you are willing to invest more time in deck maintenance. Sealing composite decking is an option for some homeowners, but once you apply a deck stain sealer, you will need to constantly take care of it. The reason why so many homeowners choose composite decking is the fact that, as opposed to its wooden counterpart, composite decking requires the least amount of maintenance and effort.
Even though it is the rarest kind of decking found in homes, it certainly is the easiest one to maintain. Aluminium requires the least care, so that means you don’t have to stress about wood deck repair, finding the best deck sealant or a pool deck cleaner. It also has the longest product life, but for a price. It is, by far, the most expensive material. Cleaning the deck and maintaining decking will be less stressful, but the base materials will cost you more.
Now that we have covered patio decking boards and alternative materials, let’s jump right into to the most important part: deck cleaning and staining.
Learning how to clean decking isn’t the hardest thing to do, but it is a meticulous process that should be kept in mind every time you go through the process so that you won’t have to invest in a brand new deck in a decade.
It might seem complicated at first, especially if you’re a clean-my-deck first timer, but it can all be narrowed down to literally three fundamental steps:
This three step formula has saved homeowners literally thousands of dollars in future investments. That’s precisely why it is better to be prepared and meticulous instead of spending a small fortune to get your deck completely redone.
The whole secret to deck maintenance basically comes down to learning when to seal a new deck, how to clean the deck, and finding a trustworthy best decking stain for the materials you used when building it.
As you have previously learned, they all strongly depend on the type of material you have, so make sure that you don’t get the tips for staining deck mixed around. A good deck stain should help you reduce the time spent cleaning painted decks, provided it’s suitable for your base material. If complete deck restoration is required, make sure that you follow all the necessary steps accordingly, so you don’t face this issue again in the future. And, in the end, the best way to ensure deck maintenance from a long-term perspective is to invest a bit in protection. But let’s talk about all of these guidelines in detail below.
Let’s start with the basics of deck maintenance: how to properly clean your deck. This is an essential step in the process, as even the best deck sealers are useless if your deck is dirty. On this note, we want to make it extremely clear that staining a wood deck, wood sealing, or any form of sealing a new deck is not recommended if the surface isn’t clean. Make sure that you have a completely clean deck prior to applying the best paint for wood decks or a new deck stain.
You might be wondering what cleaning wooden decking is all about. It is recommended that you look for the best deck cleaner on the market for your base material. Before you get to scrubbing the boards, you need to get rid of any algae, moss, or other forms of fungal growth. To remove them, you can actually use a basic fungicide, like the one you would use for your garden.
If you also have pests hiding beneath your deck, you can use a bit of insecticide to remove them as well. Make sure that you remove all of these before using the best deck cleaner you found. Make sure that this solution is suitable for the material your deck is made of.
Get your deck cleaner ready and make sure to read the instructions on the bottle beforehand. Apply the solution directly to the boards with a brush (or what’s indicated on your product) and start scrubbing thoroughly. Make sure that you cover all areas of your deck so the final result will be even. After you scrub every board and corner, allow the solution to work its magic for as long as the label indicates. The timeframe is different from product to product, so you might have to be patient in some cases.
The last step you need to take when cleaning a deck is watering down the whole surface to remove the cleaner and anything else that might have been left on. Make sure the water is clean and that you don’t put too much pressure on the boards. It is best to use a hose with average pressure.
Unfortunately, those who neglect deck maintenance entirely can end up with a patio that requires a full restoration. This doesn’t involve completely replacing a deck, but the process is a bit meticulous compared to regular deck cleaning and staining. Instead of investing in a deck cleaner, you now need to consider a deck restorer, like decking oil or a stain for treated wood decking (if this is your case).
Using a quality decking oil can bring your whole deck back to life if applied properly. Many prefer to buy an outdoor wood stain and sealer to both restore and protect their decks. A painted wood deck will likely require frequent oiling or staining to maintain its natural shine and vivid shade. Vinyl deck paint can also be considered by homeowners who have used this kind of material. Let’s continue with the exact deck restoration steps.
Firstly, you need to carefully clean your deck prior to applying the restorer. Remove any and all fungal growths like moss or algae. Like we previously explained, you can easily use fungicide, insecticide or even a combination of both to get the best results. Make sure that no residue is left on the deck before you apply the restorer.
Secondly, depending on the instructions on the label, apply the restorer across your deck. Use a brush for this step, but make sure that you follow any suggestions on your product. Make sure that the restorer penetrates into your deck so you can enjoy the best results. Scrubbing thoroughly will help you achieve this.
Thirdly, you need to wait a while so that the restorer can sink in. Like with cleaning, you might have to wait a bit longer than expected, depending on your restorer. Be patient so you can successfully restore your deck.
Finally, after the restorer has worked its way into your deck, wash the surface with water in abundance. You don’t need to apply a lot of pressure, using a hose should get the job done fine. If you’re wondering when to stain a new deck, you should wait at least two days so the surface can dry entirely. If your deck isn’t fully dry, even the best deck sealer or stain might not work properly.
We recommend that you clean your deck two times every year to keep it in a healthy state, so to speak. The first time round, you should clean it during spring so you can prepare it for the hot summer ahead. The second time, consider thoroughly cleaning your deck in fall so you can get it ready for a potentially harsh winter.
If you’re done with cleaning and restoring your deck, it’s time to perform one of the most significant steps in deck maintenance: protection.
Not only will proper deck protection help prevent damage caused by the elements, but it will leave you with a beautiful deck any time of the year. To help you better understand the importance of protection, just think about all the weather conditions your deck is constantly exposed to.
If you’re experiencing a particularly rainy season, most of the water will be absorbed by your deck, contributing to long-term damage. This is why water sealing a deck is crucial for deck maintenance. On the other hand, long and hot summers can equally ruin your decking. By being continuously exposed to the sun, wood can lose its colour and turn grey or silver. If your deck was designed to be a rich, reddish brown shade, for example, you wouldn’t be that happy seeing the vivid tone wear away.
The best way to stain deck is to pay attention both to the preparation and the execution. Make sure to pick a sunny day when applying oil to your deck. It’s crucial that your deck is dry so the stain or oil can work well. This also means that you will have to wait a few days after you clean your deck to stain it.
As far as cleaning a deck before staining is concerned, you should follow the instructions we have provided in the previous two sections of our Ultimate Guide to Deck Maintenance and Cleaning. Removing all growths, applying cleaner and careful washing are all prerequisites of a successful staining process. Also, if any repairs are needed, make sure that you get them done prior to staining.
When you’re ready to start staining, we suggest that you invest in a quality stain that will enhance your deck’s colour. The best way to apply stain to a deck can vary, but there are three main elements that can help you get the job done like a pro:
In addition to these, we also recommend that you consider a long pole for the roller so you don’t put too much strain on your back. You will be pressuring it enough as it is with back-brushing, so try to reduce it during the first stage of the staining process.
Just like with any other paint job, homeowners are encouraged to test the stain on a small portion of the deck to make sure that the tone is the one desired. If all is well and the result looks like the one you want, then you can start applying the stain. Here are the specific steps and tips you should consider:
If you want to protect your deck without changing its colour, there are two main alternatives you have at hand: decking protector and decking oil. The first option is translucent and will work for preventing water absorption effectively. A decking oil will help bring out the original colour of the deck without modifying it. It will replace the oils that your decking boards have naturally while maintaining full protection.
It is highly encouraged that you stain your deck on an annual basis to keep it bright and beautiful.
It happens even to the best of wood decks. Discolouration will almost inevitably take place at one point for your unprotected deck, due to various factors. The lush shade of brown that your deck initially had can easily turn into grey, silver or some other unsuitable tone in time. We’re sorry to say that any kind of wood will get discoloured if it’s outside and not properly protected. We can do our best to prevent it, however, with the suitable deck maintenance methods. Before we offer solutions for deck discolouration, let’s talk a bit about the causes:
You can already guess a few of the solutions for avoiding discolouration. In most cases, you have to work your way through the causes to prevent the unpleasant effects. For example, protecting your deck from the elements is imperative for preventing discolouration.
Even though aluminium decks are now widely available for homeowners across the world, the two main, widely accepting decking options remain wood and composite. When it comes to choosing the best material for your home, the answers will vary depending on the company or decking professional you work with, as well as your personal preferences. In the end, your choice of deck material depends on:
To make it clear, both timber and composite have their fair share of advantages and disadvantages. However, composite has gained widespread popularity in recent years, owing to its abundance of benefits. To help you understand the differences here is a list of pros and cons for each type of decking.
When it comes down to your final choice, it’s all up to your preferences. Most decking professionals will now recommend composite, thanks to its numerous perks. If you are planning on building a deck and looking for low maintenance options, composite is definitely the right material for you.
To wrap up our Ultimate Guide to Decking Maintenance and Cleaning, we want to offer a set of additional tips for keeping your deck clean, sparkling and pleasant for the whole family and guests. The most relevant tip for maintaining a great deck is to clean it and optionally stain it, provided it’s made of wood. If you follow these basic steps, your deck will most likely last for years on end. Aside from cleaning and staining, you should also take this advice into consideration:
All in all, these are the main tips that you should consider for long-term deck maintenance. You can avoid many of these situations by investing in reliable decking materials and working with contractors when setting your deck up. If you feel that you don’t have the time or patience to constantly maintain the deck, think about using composite decking.Remember, your deck is an extension of your home. With the proper love and care, your deck can continue to be gorgeous for years and years and bring a smile to every guest’s face.