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  • Writer's pictureBill

Cleaning and Maintaining Your Deck

Your deck is an important part of your home, how it looks can say a lot about you the homeowner. It also takes a lot of beating from the elements, especially given how unforgiving the winter in Toronto can be. So, it is crucial that you must take steps to regularly maintain your deck.

Your deck can say a lot about you!
Your deck can say a lot about you!

Basically, there are 2 steps to properly caring for your deck: cleaning and applying finish. Cleaning your deck

The first step of cleaning your deck is sanding down any damaged areas on your deck. You can do with sandpaper or a sander. You want to sand down the damaged portions of your deck to bare wood.

Then with a bristle brush, scrub clean your deck. Remove anything covering your deck like dirt and foliage. Avoid using a metal bristle brush, because it can scar your deck, especially if your deck is made of cedar or redwood.

Now you are ready to apply a cleaner to your deck.

There are 3 types of cleaners for you to consider.

Chlorine based cleaners

Chlorine based cleaners can remove dirt, mold and mildew from your deck. It can also dry out the deck too much. Most importantly, it can be harmful to the surrounding plant life.

Oxygen based cleaners

Also called oxygenated bleach, this option is eco-friendly as it is oxygen based. It also targets dirt, mold and mildew.

Acid based cleaners

Also called brighteners because they can brighten your wood. Avoid using this type if you have a deck made from softer wood like cedar or redwood because acid can be a tad too corrosive.

After selecting your cleaner, you are ready to apply it to your deck.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and carefully mix the product.

While reading the instructions, pay close attention to how to apply the cleaner, the level of dilution needed, and the drying times.

Use a stiff bristle brush with an extension handle to really work the cleaner into your deck. The extension handle helps you apply force which helps the deck absorb the cleaner. Again, you would want to avoid using a metal bristle brush because it can be damaging to your deck. Follow the directions on the packaging.

After applying the cleaner, you want to use your pressure washer with a 45 degree fan spray nozzle to rinse your deck. Your aiming to give your deck a good rinse and to remove whatever residue covering your deck. Using a pressure washer is really good because that extra power can really give your deck a good clean. Be careful not to use too much power, you don’t want to use more than 1200 psi as it will damage the wood, especially cedar and redwood. Wait at least 24 hours for the deck to completely dry before attempting to apply finish.

Applying finish to your deck

After your deck has completely dried, you are now ready to apply your deck sealer or stain. Apply with a sprayer, roller, or brush, whatever you prefer. Follow the instructions on the packaging. Make sure to work the finish well into the wood, getting all of the grains, gaps, and seams. Lastly, wait another 24 hours or however long the product recommends before using the deck.

Work the finish well into the wood, make sure you're getting all the nooks and crannies!
Work the finish well into the wood, make sure you're getting all the nooks and crannies!

Viola! You are all finished! Taking care of your deck is quite time consuming but well worth the effort. Just be sure to finish whatever you need to do before the winter season begins.

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