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Deck cleaning and finishing Q's & A's

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How to clean, restain & protect wood deck.

My outdoor deck has some mildew and has been stained. What is the best way to clean the deck? Should I use a deck cleaner/wash or power wash? After I clean the deck and apply the stain should I apply a preserver such as Thompsons water sealer?   I am a 1st time homeowner and the previous owner cleaned and stained the deck 2 yrs ago.

You can clean your deck with the deckwash you can buy, for stubborn dirt or neglected decks a power washer works wonders (you have to be careful you don't damage the wood with the very high pressure models)

Once it is clean, apply the stain. If you are using a deck stain, you do not need to seal the deck too. The stain will seal it and protect it better than just a sealer and adding the sealer is unnecessary.

You should count on having to stain your deck about every other year to protect it.


Deck Cleaning prior to restaining 

I'd like to restain my 3 yr old PT deck, but have a lot of spots where sap is coming through.   Does anyone know if a Power washer will get that off or is there a better way, prior to staining..not to mention the damage it's doing to my kid's clothes/shoes and eventually linoleum kitchen floor?

A pressure washer will most likely to the trick. Be careful that you don't use too high a pressure too close to the surface (bring it closer slowly) or you can damage the wood's surface.

Refinishing Deck - Paint Vs Stain

We moved into a house with a relatively new deck that already needs to be refinished. How do you tell if it has been painted or stained? I am assuming you need to follow up with same materials and have heard that you want to stay away from using paint at all costs. Any suggestions on how to proceed?

Use a high-pressure washer and wash off all loose paint. Spot sand where needed. Let dry thoroughly. We like to use a product called "solid color deck stain " which comes in all sorts of colors. You can roll it on and it is water cleanup. It is a Behr product and can be purchased at Home Depot. We do lots of renovations and have used it on all sorts of decks not knowing what products were used previously. Good luck!!

Power washing a deck

Do you have any recipes for the solution for power washing the deck?

I found that plain bleach worked pretty well. I have a 2100 psi power washer and nothing else is required to bring back a new wood look to any untreated treated wood or to vinyl siding.

Another Answer:
I have found that bleach works quite well. But even if you use no deck wash, the power washer will do quite a good job cleaning the deck. Just be sure you don't spray too hard, too close or you can damage the wood.

A few alternatives

Why not try a good scrub brush..the floor ones with the long handles...using Fantastic, household
cleaner, TSP or just plains dish soap and try that FIRST. It just may get it clean enough to restain as most of dirt and grime will be on the top only anyways.

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Yes, most are just chlorine.. in fact some of the best cleaning I have done is just with bleach and water.... The wood discolors.. grey with the age and sun and rain. It isn't just that it is dirty. So when people use a deck wash, they are really bleaching it to make it look new again.. not just cleaning.
I completely non chemical way to clean it,is a high pressure washer.. you can rent one.. It will blast everything including that grey layer off the wood. (Be careful about how close you hold it.. it can damage mar the wood)..
If you have a few friends and neighbors that all want to use it, it can cut down on the rental costs, and it doesn't take long to do a whole deck so there is time to share.

Many thanks for your suggestions! I could use a high pressure washer too to clean the vinyl siding on the house -don't think it's ever been done!

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