How to Clean a Cedar Deck
LESLIE: Jennifer in New Jersey tuning in on WABC. What can we do for you today?
JENNIFER: Do you advise powerwashing an outdoor cedar deck annually? I’m hearing a lot of different, confusing things. And of course a lot of people would love to powerwash our deck every year.
TOM: You know, there’s a lot of services out there that just love to do that and it sounds like it makes a lot of sense. It’s, you know, powerful; it’s going to do a great job deep cleaning. But the truth is that when you powerwash, when you pressure wash a deck, you really take some years of life off of it. So you don’t necessarily want to go after a deck with a lot of power. You want to go after it with some finesse.
LESLIE: Yeah, and Jennifer, you know, if you use a powerwash – because you should clean your deck annually. You know, if you live in a warmer climate where you’re using your deck all year long you would want to do it twice a year. But for us in the northeast you want to do it either at the beginning of the season in the spring, after it’s got all that dirt and muck from the winter, or at the end of the season in the fall before you go in. But once a season you do want to clean it.
And if you do use a pressure washer you want to make sure that you keep that pressure down. You don’t want to be aggressive with it. And you also want to make sure that you don’t keep the pressure washer nozzle – gosh, that’s hard to say – so close to the deck surface because you can cause the wood to splinter up and then damage it.
What you do want to do is use a cleansing product and the folks at Flood make one called DEKSWOOD; D-E-K-S-WOOD. And it’s a cleanser that works specifically to restore and refresh and renew so it’s actually going to make the deck look brighter and cleaner and also serve the purpose of cleaning. Because water really is just going to push that dirt around where the cleanser’s going to get down to it and get rid of some of that surface and that ground debris.
JENNIFER: And so do you clean it first and then – powerwash it first and then put the cleaner on or is it a combination product?
LESLIE: First you want to sweep; make sure you get all of that debris that’s on there that you can see off. So sweep it well. Then you want to wet the surface, then apply the product. You can roll it on. You can put it on with the pressure washer. Let it sit there for about 20 minutes and then you rinse with the pressure washer.
JENNIFER: Great. And then, would you follow it up a few days later with a new coat of stain or …
LESLIE: It depends on the condition of the deck. If you’ve had a finish on it that’s finally starting to blister or wear, then you would want to. You want to wait til the deck is thoroughly dry; you know, a few days of good, hot sun on it and then you can go ahead and apply. If you’ve got, you know, built in solid stain that’s peeling off you want to use a chemical stripper and get that off so you can get down to, you know, as new or clean wood as you can so it’ll adhere well. But if you like the natural look and it seems to be in good shape you can just clean it and leave it. Otherwise, if you’ve got nothing on there, definitely get some sort of finish or sealer or protectant on there just to keep the quality of the wood stain where it is.
JENNIFER: OK, I think you’ve just planned a couple of weekends of work for me.
TOM: (chuckling) That’s what we do. Jennifer, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.