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Deck Cleaning: When, Why, How

 
 
sozobe
 
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 02:44 pm
We have a pretty extensive deck. It's in decent shape. Not gorgeous, not decrepit. It was built probably about a dozen years ago. I'm not sure when it was last washed, but we haven't washed it since we moved in about five years ago.

The main thing I want to figure out (and a quick Google survey hasn't provided the answer yet) is WHY you need to wash a deck. Ours is pressure-treated lumber and seems to be standing up just fine to the ravages of heat, cold, rain, snow, mildew, etc. It gets a bit slippery when wet, which I don't like, but overall the main "problem" seems to be that it's gray and weathered-looking instead of gold and new-looking.

Do we need to clean it? I don't mind the color at all. I only want to clean it if it's necessary for the health of the deck (I don't want to replace the whole thing before I absolutely have to).

I can take some pictures if that's helpful.

Thanks!
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farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 03:05 pm
@sozobe,
Dont know if this helps but I use PURE OCEAN Marine Deck cleaner for the wooden deck in my boat. A boat is exposed to all kinds of crap and mold . When my deck topping wears a bit and the black spots appear. I use the MArine Deck cleaner (Its a green product so you wont need the EPA). It works real well, and then we dry under roof and coat with a non skid low gloss marine varnish. It makes the deck look like a million bucks and lasts for a year easily and I usually only do it every 2 to 3 years..
rosborne979
 
  2  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 03:39 pm
@sozobe,
Typically you would power wash a deck before staining it. I don't think there's any reason to wash it without staining unless it's got some nasty stuff on it.

Even pressure treated lumber will last longer if you clean/stain it regularly. Also, they look really nice after a good staining Smile
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 03:53 pm
@rosborne979,
Yeh, we load the Deck cleaner in a power washer but only keep it at about 1500 psi. Im afraid to get it much higher cause at 3K psi they remover paint on boat sides.
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 06:42 pm
@farmerman,
Quote:
Dont know if this helps but I use PURE OCEAN Marine Deck cleaner for the wooden deck in my boat. A boat is exposed to all kinds of crap and mold . When my deck topping wears a bit and the black spots appear. I use the MArine Deck cleaner (Its a green product so you wont need the EPA). It works real well, and then we dry under roof and coat with a non skid low gloss marine varnish. It makes the deck look like a million bucks and lasts for a year easily and I usually only do it every 2 to 3 years..


This sounds good, farmer. I'll see if I can find an Oz equivalent product.
I have a tiny (Victorian) house with almost as much outside decking as indoor floorspace (plus extra yard as well). But having to do the varnishing/sealing thing each year is an absolute pain in the bottom! It would be a huge boon to find a product that lasts years, like this one. One question: if the decking isn't stained & it's dry, any problem with applying a low gloss marine varnish without the prior cleaning?
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 06:45 pm
@msolga,
I wouldnt, course Im a bit anal about leaving any relict dirt in the wood micro grain. Once you seal over the dirt, itll stay there for a lot longer than youd like. You are basically entombing the teeny dirt particles in a nice plastic cover of sealant.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 06:50 pm
@farmerman,
I'm happy with a good sweep & a coat of varnish, farmer. It's protecting the wood from the elements that's my main concern. And it's quite a big job! (for one person.) Thanks for putting this idea into my head! I will make inquiries!
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 06:52 pm
@msolga,
You can rent a power washer but just dont get one that is too powerful or cant be dialed back. 3000 psi can do damage to the wood (or cut your foot like a razor blade)
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 06:55 pm
@farmerman,
Quote:
... (or cut your foot like a razor blade)


Nah, I think I might pass on the power washer! Wink
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