Cleaning Wood and Trex Decks

With the approach of spring many homeowners look forward to spending time once again on their deck or patio. Unless you live in a mild climate you probably have some work to do before you will be ready to invite your family and friends over for a cookout. Regardless of whether your deck is a traditional wood surface or a composite material like Trex® the most common spring task is cleaning your deck.

Fall, Winter, and early Spring weather can produce a number of different stains on your deck. Mold, sap, fall leaves, and other debris will all leave a mark on your deck surface and may need to be cleaned in different manners. If this is the first time cleaning the surface make sure that you check before power washing or using a chemical agent to clean your deck AND test a small, out-of-the-way region to make sure there will be no ill effects. Here are some common ways to clean your deck.

Sweep it Up and Hose It Down - Use rake, blower, and/or broom to remove leaves, sticks, dirt and other loose debris from your deck. Once cleared, use you hose and spray down the deck - a surprising amount of the clean-up may be accomplished in this fashion.

More Power - If you still have dirt and stains, you may want to try using a power washer. This works particularly well when you are cleaning a hard and/or porous surface (i.e., cement or pavers) however you must take care not to damage the surface (high pressure water can do a surprising amount of damage if you are not careful). Special caution must be taken when using a power washer on wood, composite, painted, and/or stained surface as too much pressure applied at too close a range can mar the surface you are cleaning and remove even paint and stain. Use a wider angle spray and practice on out of the way areas until you get the hand of it.

Chemical Cleaners - Most home and garden stores will have a selection deck, patio, and wood cleaners for you to choose from as well as professionals to offer you suggestions on what is best for your deck. Many can be applied with a deck sprayer or sponge mop and if necessary scrubbed with (appropriately enough) a deck brush. Whatever cleaner you use, make sure to familiarize yourself with the cautions on the package (some can harm your landscaping if inappropriately applied) and apply it as directed.

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