Best Tips For Cleaning Your Deck Or Patio

Decks and patios need to be cleaned regularly for protection from damage and to maintain their appearance. It’s important to use deck or patio cleaning products according to the surface type of your deck or patio. Some products are made specifically for wood and others are made for different kinds of stone or brick. Take everything off of your deck before you begin cleaning.

Remove Debris
Debris can obstruct the spaces between the deck boards, which can cause dry rot and mildew to grow from the moisture. It should be swept away with a leaf blower or a stiff bristle broom two or three times a week. You could also use the strongest setting on a hose. A putty knife, spatula or a deck cleaning tool can push out any remaining debris.
Deck/Patio Cleaner
A deck cleaner can be used after all the debris is removed. An all-purpose cleaner is great for general cleaning. If there are a lot of stains on your deck, a stronger cleaner may work better. Some deck cleaners are made of strong chemicals so always protect your eyes with goggles and wear gloves. There are also strong organic cleaners that don’t contain chemicals.
Apply deck cleaner vertically and horizontally. Leave it on the surface approximately ten to fifteen minutes. It’s best to use a higher priced cleaner because some of the cheaper kinds contain chlorine bleach, which can damage wood fibers and take the color out of the wood. An alternative is an environmentally friendly product called oxygen bleach. It’s safe for stone and wood. It shouldn’t be used for redwood because will darken it.
High Pressure Washer
Wash or rinse your deck thoroughly once the cleaner has set long enough. A high pressure washer works well. Some home improvement experts recommend a lighter wash with a garden hose for wood surfaces. If you prefer to use a high pressure washer, don’t hold it over one area for a long period of time or it could cause damage. Use a wide tip since wood is a softer material than stone. Also, move the tip with the grain instead of against it.
Remove dirt, algae and other accumulations before the start of winter. Exposure to harsh weather elements can affect the condition of your deck or patio. A lot of snow during the winter months may be damaging to wood by causing some cracking. Clear the snow as much as possible with a plastic shovel used lengthwise to prevent scratching. Metal shovels or tools with sharp edges can also cause scratches. A broom can be used to remove only a few inches of snow.
Decks or patios made of composite wood contain organic materials. Mold grows easily on this type of wood, which is why it needs to be cleaned regularly. Use a mild soap solution and a soft brush to clean it, which can be used for vinyl decks as well. Use a non-toxic product to eliminate mold. Decks or patios should be kept clean and dry as much as possible to prevent mold from forming.
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