A deck is a wonderful place to spend your evenings and weekends, especially with all the lovely weather we’ve been seeing in Fort Collins. However, as we inch ever nearer towards the end of the summer, it’s time to start thinking about cleaning your deck before the snow starts coming down. Aside from just regular maintenance for the sake of appearances, a clean deck is more likely to keep the integrity of the wood and help the deck last longer. Even just sweeping your deck every few weeks can make a difference! However, we do recommend doing a deep cleaning at least once per year that includes a reseal or a treatment. Read on to learn more.
Preparing the Deck
Just sweeping around the chairs and tables on your deck won’t do the trick. Instead, clear away the surface of anything that may get in your way. This includes everything from potted plants to tables. We recommend covering any delicate or fragile plants that may be planted in the ground near the deck, as they can get damaged during the cleaning process if you are not careful!
Sweeping and Clearing
The first part of cleaning the deck simply demands that you pick up any large pieces of debris and put it in a trash bag. Once that is complete, grab a broom and start sweeping the deck. Instead of sweeping the debris into your yard, keep the whole area more maintained by sweeping it all into the trash. You can remove any debris that gets stuck in between the deck boards by using a slim tool to pry it out.
If you don’t have a pressure washer, feel free to just use your hose. Wash the surface of your deck, and make sure to rinse it when you’re done. The most powerful setting is your best option if you want to get rid of all that stubborn dirt and grime! After you’ve hit all the problem areas, you should thoroughly spray the whole surface, starting at one end and making your way to the other. The garden hose will make it easier to catch anything that is really trapped in between the wood panels.
Keep in mind that if you choose to use a pressure washer, it is important to learn how to do so correctly. Using a pressure washer without truly understanding the best way can damage the wood. If you are too close to the deck’s surface, you may gouge the wood. The best practice is to leave a few feet in between the spray nozzle and the deck. A sprayer fan will have the best effect on your deck’s surface.
Instead of just spraying your deck with water, make sure to add a solution of sudsy water! You can pick up a commercial cleaner, or you can use a detergent. Apply the cleaner to the deck, then use a long-handled brush to scrub as much as you feel the deck needs. Just make sure to get all of it! You don’t want one section of your deck to be cleaner than the rest. Once you are done, rinse the whole deck with the hose to ensure that all the cleaning solution has been washed away. There is no need to use a pressure washer at this point!
Bleach if Needed
Your deck may not need bleach, but any areas with mildew or algae growth should be treated with a bleach solution that is one part bleach and four parts water. After you make the solution, pour it onto the area with the growth. Let it sit for about 15 minutes just to be sure that the solution takes it all. Next, take a long-handled brush with stiff bristles to scrub away the mildew. Rinse the area, and let it dry. If there is still growth left behind, you will need to repeat the bleaching process. Be careful with the bleach, and always be sure to use protective gloves.
After your deck is in top shape once again, rinse it very thoroughly and allow it to air dry for a few days. It may be tempting to immediately get to the sealant, but your deck will need to be completely dry before it is ready for that step. Once you have made absolutely sure that the deck is dry, you can take the next step.
Find a nice wood sealer for your deck. Some will offer waterproofing agents and mildewcide that will protect your deck all year long! We highly recommend finding a highly rated sealant to make sure your deck stays in top condition until it’s time to clean it and seal it again.
After the wood sealant has dried according to the directions the bottle provided for you, it’s time to put everything back on your deck! Pick up those potted plants, those chairs, sofas, and whatever else to get them set up for a day of lounging on your new, clean space. Take advantage of this time to add some new furniture, new plants, or whatever you feel the space needs for you to call it your own!
Contact JJ Fencing & Decking
If you don’t have a deck, or if you think it’s time you invested in a new one, give us a call! We are Fort Collins’ decking build professionals you can rely on to give you the deck of your dreams. Reach out now for a free estimate! We look forward to working with you.