deck cleaning before stain
Our 14 y.o. PT deck is in need of some attention. It's not cracking or splitting, but it's stained in various places with an assortment of junk (some areas appear to have oil spills or excess sealer puddles that weren't wiped up, green stuff growing around the edges, generally dirty). Other than the odd greasy spot, it's not repelling any water anymore.
The question is, how should it be cleaned before staining it? Pressure washer? What sort of cleaner in the pressure washer?
I plan to use a tinted oil-based stain, like cabot, for what that's worth.
Hit the green/mold/mildew with a Jomax mix from a hand pump srayer
Powerwash off (carefully, you can do some real damage with those things)
Clean the whole deck with Cabot's Problem Solver Cleaner
Again using the hand sprayer
PW off, again be careful
Depending on how tinted/clear the stain will be, you might need to use Cabot's Problem Solver Brightener (hand sprayer) to rejuvenate and even out the color of the wood
PW off (carefully)
Let dry (a couple days)
I'm not a fan of bleach mixtures on wood. The sodium hypochlorite overdries the wood and leaves it with an unnatural silver/whitish tone. Viewed microscopically, the fibers become "tangled" and wood sealers do not penetrate correctly. In addition, bleach cleaners wil remove mold but not remove remaining sealer and imbedded dirt.
Your best bet (and what we do professionally) is to use a two step process starting with a sodium percarbonate based cleaner. Follow this with an acidic pH balancing agent. These are usually sold as "brighteners" (look for ingredients like citric or oxalic acid)
A good restoration cleaner will allow you to use very low pressure on your deck. You should never go above 800-1000 psi on a deck. Even less for soft woods like cedar.
When the deck dries to 15% moisture or less (usually 2-3 sunny days depending upon the time of year) apply a semi transparent, penetrating oil based stain/sealer. The oils will rejuvinate the wood. Stay away from anything sold at Home Depot or Lowe's. Paint stores will carry better products like Sikkens SRD, Cabots, or Penofin.
any deck cleaner or brightner you buy is gonna have bleach in it.. best thing to do is use the deck cleaner made by olympic sold by lowes .. a nice bit of that in a pump sprayer let it sit for a few minutes wash off with low pressure if you smell pine you hitting it too deep change your angle
use a white tip for you nozzles
There is a ton of rhetoric out there about deck cleaners and how to do wood restoration. I have done this for years. My company PressurePros, Inc does 150 decks per season. Trust me, bleach is not the way to go. This is why most people's decks look lousy after one year.
Yup, most in fact do not have bleach in them
I'm also not a big fan of bleach, and only use it when absolutely necessary
(and only spot usage at that)
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