Building a new deck can be an expensive proposition with most decks costing in excess of $25 a square foot or more. That means that a person can easily spend anywhere from $4,000 to over $10,000+ dollars having their deck built. With that kind of money invested, it’s no wonder more and more people are looking for quick, easy, and inexpensive ways of maintaining their decks.
Since we know how important it is for people to keep their decks in good condition, we’ve decided to write this guide on the subject. In this guide, we’re going to explore properly cleaning a deck, how to properly stain a deck, and how to use one of the many quality deck sealers to seal the deck. This will ensure that people protect their investment and that their deck stays as nice-looking for as long as possible. If that sounds good, then let’s get started with basic deck cleaning and work our way from there.
How To Clean Your Deck
The first step to keeping a deck looking good and lasting a long time is routine cleaning. Bird poop, dirt, and grime can all take their toll on a deck’s wood surface, so it’s important to remove this debris on a regular basis. Although we won’t tell our readers exactly how often they should clean their deck, we will say that they should keep an eye on it and clean it when it is beginning to get dirty. For some people, that’s every 3-months, and for other people, that’s only once a year.
- Putty Knife
- Scrub Brush
- Power Washer
- Bleach Or Deck Cleaner
Step One: Sweep And Clear Cracks
The first thing that a person is going to want to do is to give the deck a thorough sweeping. This will remove the debris that isn’t stuck to the surface of the deck—debris that includes leaves, dirt, and twigs. Once that’s done, the homeowner should then use a putty knife to clean the dirt and grime that’s stuck in between the deck’s boards.
Step Two: Scrub The Wood Clean
How a person cleans their deck is up to them and is certainly informed by the size of their deck and the amount of dirt that’s found on it. For cleaning smaller areas of a deck, using bleach and a scrub brush should be more than sufficient to clean it. However, for larger areas of the deck, you will want to use a pressure washer and water mixed with bleach.
Do not use straight-up bleach on your deck or you will ruin it. Instead, use a mixture of one part bleach to four parts water. A homeowner can also purchase one of the many deck cleaning products that are available nowadays. The benefit of using a commercial deck cleaner is that many of them have built-in mildew-cleaners.
How To Properly Stain A Deck
Once the deck is clean, it’s time to put down a stain on it. The first thing that we’d recommend anyone doing is taking the time to read the directions listed on their deck stain product. This is especially important for people who may not be familiar with re-staining their deck. After that, the homeowner can then follow the few brief steps to stain their deck.
Check The Weather
The first step to the process of staining your deck is to make sure the weather is appropriate. There need to be at least two days of dry weather and the temperature needs to be between 50 and 90-degrees Fahrenheit. While staining the deck, the homeowner is going to want to do it when there’s not full sunlight on the deck. That’s because the stain will dry too quickly and the wood won’t have time to properly absorb it.
Clear The Deck
Make sure that you remove everything from the deck before you start, so you don’t have to stop and start when you begin the staining process. After this step is when the homeowner is going to want to clean their deck—per the above instructions.
Stir The Deck Stain
Now it’s time to open the deck sealer and give it a good stir. This is to properly mix the ingredients. You should never shake a sealer to mix it because you can cause bubbles to form in it. It’s always stirred and never shaken.
Apply The Stain
Using a paint roller, sprayer, or paintbrush, apply a thin coat to a three-board section. It’s better for homeowners to apply several thin coats than to apply one thick coat. Thinner coats dry more quickly and end up making a more durable coat.
Some people choose to back-roll their deck to achieve a better looking coat. Back-rolling requires two people to work in tandem. One person lays down the base coat of stain, and the second person uses a broom or roller to smooth out the finish and work it into the wood.
Repeat And Let It Dry
Once the first coat is laid down, the homeowner is going to want to lay several other coats down—making sure to take the time to allow each coat to dry before moving on to the next. When the last coat is dry, the homeowner should make sure to give the deck the proper amount of time before returning furniture to the deck.
Applying Deck Sealer
This last section is dedicated to giving our readers tips on using their deck sealer. This isn’t a comprehensive guide but is only intended to give some tips on the process to our readers. Anyone who needs a more detailed guide on deck sealing should be sure to consult one of the many ones found on the Internet.
- Make Sure Weather Is Between 50 & 90 Degrees Fahrenheit.
- Clear The Deck Fully.
- Apply Sealer Over A 3-board section.
- Apply Thin Coats.
- Apply At Least Two Coats.
- Give The Deck Time To Dry Between Coats.
- Give The Deck Proper Time To Dry Before Adding Furniture Back To It.