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Wood Deck Maintenance

Learn How To Clean and Protect Your Deck.

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These homeowners added this wood deck a few years ago and probably didn't realize how much maintenance there would be in order to keep this deck looking good, and that maintenance always starts with cleaning it thoroughly, meaning that cleaners contain harsh chemicals, so it's important to protect your eyes. A pump up garden sprayer is ideal for this kind of application because you want the cleaner on all of the deck surfaces, both vertical and horizontal. After the compound works for a while, the real cleaning begins. A pressure washer is absolutely the best tool for this job. Depending on the unit that you buy or rent, these machines spray water at pressure from 1000 to 3500 pounds per square inch, and that won't only get your deck clean, but it can also damage the wood itself if you aren't careful; so, take your time. For higher pressure models, you can also get attachments like this deck scrubber. They are great for large open stretches of deck. After your wood deck is nice and clean, you will realize how much better it looks, but you'll also probably realize how rough some of the surfaces can be as a result of being exposed to all the elements. Now, what you'll need to do, use a sander. Sand down any of the rough areas. Any place that you might pick up a splinter needs to be addressed. You also need to look for any nails that may have pulled themselves out over the years, then you can snag a toe on that very easily, so drive the nail back in and replace any damaged wood that may have gotten to the point where it might be unsafe, and you can keep a deck looking really nice over the years and protect it so that it will last as long as it should by applying a stain or sealer. Because stains and sealers tend to be thinner than paint, the application is in some ways easier. For example, you can use the same pump up sprayer you use for the deck cleaner to apply the sealer. Once you coat the surface, you wanna back brush the sealer to work it into the cracks and crevices. The ability of these products to soak into the pores of the wood is what protects the deck, but also means you have to work fast. If you don't brush out the drips and puddles quickly, the deck can look uneven or splotchy because more sealer will soak into those areas. But, if you work carefully and cover one small area at a time, the results can be beautiful.