In our final article, we will tackle one of the most pressing concerns on the minds of anyone who has installed a deck with muddy, stained boards. As we mentioned in our other articles in this series (see Parts 1, 2, 3 & 4), this caked-on dirt, grime, and mineral deposits will build up as the decking boards make their long journey from the forest to your job site. There’s no sense in trying to clean them at any point in the process before installation. However, once your deck is installed, how do you ever get it to look clean and new?
Use a Deck Cleaner
The best way to get rid of all the unsightly stains on your boards is by applying a deck cleaner and brightener product. With a mild abrasive cleaner designed specifically for use on decks, you’ll finally be able to take out that hard-to-get-rid-of mud and muck. It’s even more effective than pressure washing.
Apply a Brightener Product
After thoroughly cleaning the deck, you might want to add an acidic brightener product. The acid works to lighten the deck and also helps to reverse the graying impact of the sun’s UV rays. Different brightener products have different types of acid in them. Search for a citric acid brightener rather than one which is bleach-based. You may have to pay a bit more for the better quality brightener, but it will be worth it in the long run. Bleach can harm the wood and interact adversely with the wood oils and stains which you may choose to apply.
Not every deck owner will choose to use a brightener. After cleaning your deck, look at what sort of condition it’s in. Wait for a few days to see if your boards start to change color after being out in the sunlight for a while. After observing the appearance of your deck after cleaning it, if you decide you want something to help the colors blend more, use the brightener. If it seems to be looking fine without the brightener, you could omit this step in the finishing process.
Add Oil to Your Deck
Once your deck has been thoroughly cleaned and brightened, should you choose to use brightener, it’s time to add oil. You can purchase an oil-based wood finish that’s designed for use on Ipe, Cumaru, or whichever tropical or domestic species of hardwood decking products you plan to use. These products can add lasting beauty to your deck while helping to protect it from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. For best results, always be sure to use each of the wood finishing products according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Cleaning, brightening, and adding deck oil to your deck is a great way to enhance its appearance. Once you take these preparation and maintenance steps, you’ll finally be able to enjoy the beautiful new deck of your dreams. All it takes is a little hard work and carefully following the right order when it comes to the use of different products.