Tips For Cleaning Wood Decks
When cleaning a wood deck there is alot more involved than simply pressure washing. The condition of your deck and whether it is painted, stained, sealed, or untreated plays a big role in how to clean it. If you have a raw wood deck it takes a 3 step process to get optimum results.
First you should wet deck thoroughly then apply a 3-4% sodium hypochlorite solution(pool shock/chlorine bleach) and let dwell for roughly 5-10 minutes. This will kill all mildew and algae growth on the surface. DO NOT ALLOW TO DRY! Work in sections as needed. Once you have seen the growth begin to fade and wood brighten it is time to wash. ONLY use roughly 800-1,000 psi to pressure wash wood with. Any more and you can damage the wood causing a fuzzy surface or cracking of wood. Always clean with the grain of the wood and go end to end of board.
Never stop in the middle of a board or you will see lap marks where you started and finished. If you feel a area needs to be hit again go end to end twice or more until desired result. Once you have finished washing, rinse any debris and over spray off of deck and surrounding areas. Now you will want to apply a neutralizer/wood brightener to the deck to neutralize the chlorine used. Wood has a natural low Ph level. Chlorine will raise the ph level and not allow stain or paint to adhere and soak into the surface. To neutralize we recommend an oxalic acid or citric acid. You will use a pump sprayer to evenly apply to entire deck while still wet. A nice even generous coat and keep wet misting water until you see the natural golden/tan wood color return. Once desired brightness of wood is reached, thoroughly rinse deck with water. Now you can sit back and admire your work. If planning to stain wait a day or so of dry weather and check wood with moisture meter. If moisture is less than 15% then the wood is ready to be stained, any more and stain may not adhere properly and discoloration can occur.
Don’t forget to visit our Residential Power Washing page.