The "7-Step" Deck Cleaning Process
The Deck Cleaning Process is what determines how good your deck staining looks and how long it lasts. Every deck cleaning job our company does is different and usually requires different steps but they all need to be cleaned. Our deck restoration processes varies from job to job which has given us the experience needed to ensure every deck cleaning is done properly to ensure a long-lasting staining job.
Our Deck Cleaning Process starts Here:
The Deck Cleaning Process requires a variety of wood cleaners depending on the condition of your deck. We may use bleach, household detergent, oxalic acid, citric acid, turpentine, tri-sodium phosphate, oxygen bleach, etc. Each cleaner will interact differently with your wood surface. As experts in wood restoration, we know just the right product to use depending on the type of wood (i.e. cedar, pressure-treated, or exotic hardwood) and condition of your deck. Some companies out there will tell you bleach is bad for wood, or all their chemicals are Environmentally friendly, but the truth is different decks require different chemicals. We always use the weakest cleaners possible required for the job and will never harm your plants or landscaping.
For homeowners that want to Clean their decks themselves we recommend them to use products like Behr Deck Cleaners or Olympic Deck Cleaners. We get our cleaning chemicals in bulk and most of them are only available to licensed contractors. Although the cleaners available in big box stores work ok, the professional cleaners do a much better job.
Stripping removes the old stain and brings out the wood’s natural beauty. This process removes dirt, mildew, and stains using strong, but safe biodegradable cleaners. We use commercial grade wood detergents that give you the best possible results, even on wood that’s severely damaged by sun and rain. The stripping cleaners soak deep into the wood before we begin the washing process.
After we strip the wood, the surface is pressure-washed using very light pressure. The pressure is so light, that our technicians can put their bare hand in front of the spray. Of course, you should never do this at home yourself. A very light pressure prevents damage to the wood surface. We wash every nook and cranny multiple times to wash out as much stripper as possible.
Once the wood has been washed, a special commercial grade brightener is applied to bring out the natural beauty and color of the wood. This extra step leaves the surface of the wood exceptionally clean, bright, and properly pH-balanced. The brightener also neutralizes the stripper or cleaner compound, which prevents the wood from darkening and becoming unhealthy.
Weathering causes wood surfaces to crack, splinter, and warp. As a deck ages, many of the nails may have come loose or have been pushed above the wood surface. We first correct this problem before smoothing the wood – for light sanding jobs we use a nylon brush. After sanding, the wood remains rough enough to absorb the sealant. This is the typical type of sanding we normally use on most jobs.
Deck Staining and Deck Sealing
Our most popular product is an oil stain/sealer, which protects wood from UV, moisture, and organic elements, including mold, some fungus, and dirt penetration. After allowing the proper drying time, we use an electronic moisture meter to insure that all areas of the wood are completely dry. We perform a “maximum coating process,” to apply as much sealer as the wood will absorb. For exotic hardwoods, we apply sealer using a “double-coating technique.” We offer an assortment of deep penetrating, oil-based sealers in a variety of colors which preserve, protect, and enhance any type of wood. And if any residual mold and algae survived the previous restoration steps (perhaps in the gaps between deck boards) the mildicid contained in our top-quality stain will kill it.
To guarantee a long life for your deck or other wood product, we only use the best, deep penetrating sealers. Even so, our most popular stain will require maintenance approximately every two years for horizontal surfaces and every four years for vertical surfaces. This can vary depending on the amount of exposure the wood will have to sun and snow. During maintenance sessions, we clean the wood to remove the outer layers of old sealer, then apply a fresh coat of stain. As long as you stick to the appropriate maintenance treatment – which is much more affordable than the initial restoration process – further stripping is unnecessary.