Decks are becoming extremely popular. They are a low-cost way of adding living space to a home. To get the most out of your deck, make sure it’s always clean. The following are 10 tips all homeowners should know about how to clean decking in your home:
1. Safety Measures for Cleaning
Safety should always come first when you clean the decking in your home. Pressure washers can be a safety hazard to both humans and surfaces because they eject water at high pressure.
Before you get started with the cleaning process and handle any equipment, there are a few things you should know. Never place your hand on the pressure washer spray, and don’t point it at pets or kids either. If you are using this piece of equipment near flower beds and other landscaping, don’t wear shorts and flip flops.
Wear protective attire like work gloves, goggles, pants, ear protection (especially when using a gas power washer) and enclosed shoes (steel-toed boots if possible). Do not use a ladder when using a pressure washer. They produce a significant kickback force that can result in a nasty fall. If necessary, make use of extension wands instead.
2. Remove Everything from the Deck
Cleaning a deck while it still has things like planters, chairs, toys and grills on it can make the process take longer than it should. If removing everything from the deck isn’t possible in your case, your only option is to do the cleaning in two parts, move things to one side of your deck while you clean the other.
Ensure all fragile items are secured against accidents, which may cause them to break. Removing everything from the deck also gives you peace of mind while cleaning. This is because you won’t have to worry about things like your chairs getting wet from runoff water. You also want to make sure children have no access to that area before you begin the cleaning process.
3. Inspect the Decking
Before you begin cleaning, inspect the deck for damage. Watch out for protruding nails or loose boards, and make sure they are immediately repaired if present. If not attended to, they can injure your feet, or be tripping hazards.
A hammer will come in handy in this case. It can be used for most of the repairs on a deck, but if you don’t want to make any dents in the wood, you’ll need to purchase an accessory known as a drift pin. Cover any vents, exterior lights, and close your windows. Plants and shrubs should also be covered with a tarp to prevent them from getting damaged by the soap.
4. Sweeping the Deck
If there are areas covered in moss or mould, scrape them off, and sweep them up. Using a stiff-bristled broom, give the entire deck a thorough sweep, making sure you get in between the grooves.
Cobwebs tend to build upon the deck railing, you can use a broom to get rid of them. If it’s possible to get beneath your decking, clean the underside too, it helps eliminate debris, which tends to collect moisture.
5. Cleaning the Deck
A cleaning solution is powerful for how to clean decking in your home. With the right cleaning solutions used, you can make your outdoor deck look brand new again. To make a DIY deck-cleaning solution at home, mix a cup of oxygenated bleach with two gallons of hot water in a bucket. It’s better to work in sections when using this solution.
6. Scrubbing Down the Deck
The process of how to clean decking depends on how dirty your deck is. If tree sap, mildew, or other types of embedded grime are not present, you can skip this step; otherwise, it’s time to scrub. Add your preferred deck cleaner to the pressure washer’s soap dispenser, and ensure you’re using a cleaner that’s safe for your type of wood. Change the pressure washer tip, or setting, to a soaping nozzle.
Now, turn on the machine and spread the cleaner all over your deck. Let it sit for about five minutes so it can break up the dirt and grime, but don’t allow it to dry completely. Using a synthetic, stiff long-handled scrub brush, scrub the deck thoroughly to loosen the grime. Pay special attention to hard-to-reach areas like corners. For tight spaces, a smaller brush may be necessary.
7. Rinsing the Deck
Make use of the power washer to rinse and clean the decking. You’ll need to switch to a wide-angle nozzle, preferably a 40-60 degree one. Anything stronger will damage your deck.
Be at least two feet from your deck’s surface when spraying, move closer if necessary, but not more than six inches from the surface. When working on the corners, start from the corner outwards to avoid pushing the grime back into them.
8. Let the Decking Dry
If you’re cleaning a wooden deck, it generally takes 24-48 hours for it to completely dry. Before it does, avoid placing anything on it because damp wood is fragile, and moving heavy grills or furniture can gouge the wood.
9. Sand and Stain
After the deck is completely dry, sand it with an orbital sander or a 60 to 80 grit sandpaper. When you are done, sweep away all the wood dust, then apply a stain, but make sure you follow the manufacturer’s directions.
10. Seal the Deck
A sealant is used to protect a wood deck. A good quality sealant features ultraviolet sunlight protection, which helps reduce the damaging effects of the sun. Remember to cover objects such as plants, which can be damaged by the sealant. You should clean your deck at least once a year to prolong its life span.