Eliminating Algae From Your Deck
LESLIE: Pauline from New York, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?PAULINE: Hi. My question is I have to redo my deck and, right now, in spots, there’s algae growing on some spots of it. And when it rains, the wood gets really slippery. It’s like you stepped on a banana peel. You know?TOM: Yeah. Absolutely.PAULINE: So my question is what do I have to do to make sure I do a top-rate job and eliminate that problem so I can stain it and waterproof it?TOM: Right. What you want to do is you need to apply a mildicide or you can use oxygenated bleach; both available at home centers. You could use like a siding wash, too. Any of those products are going to be mildicides and the trick here, Pauline, is that you need to put it on the deck; you need to let it sit for 10 or 15 minutes. Don’t let it dry in the sun but let it sit, let it saturate, let it go to work. And then you can scrub it. I want you to get like a floor brush; like the kind you use when you’ve got a really dirty floor; you’ve got to really scrub it.PAULINE: Right.TOM: And really work it in and start loosening that stuff up and get it off the deck. After you get the moss off and the algae off, then you can let it dry really good. Don’t try to go from this in the morning to staining in the afternoon because you’re going to have another problem and your stain is not going to absorb. So schedule this as sort of its own project for the weekend. Get as much of this off as you possibly can.Now, is it possible that you could, in the future, arrange for a little more sunlight to hit that deck? Is it possible that you could trim some trees or anything of that nature or are you pretty much blocked in by the buildings?PAULINE: It does get full sun in the morning; the deck.TOM: OK. Yeah, because if you have a real shady space, you’re going to get more of that moss and algae growth and we always say that if it’s possible to sort of thin out some trees or any overhanging things like that, that actually will reduce it in the future. Of course, if you’re in a tight, urban area like Brooklyn, then people get really emotional when you start sort of taking their building apart so you have more light on your deck.LESLIE: (overlapping voices) When you knock down their buildings. (chuckles)TOM: (chuckling) Yeah.PAULINE: OK, thanks so much, guys.TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.