Time: 5-6 hours
Ah, summer â€” hot afternoons, longer days, and barbecues with all your favorite people. Donâ€™t let a less-than-ready deck ruin that last one. You prepared it for winter. Now itâ€™s time to grab some DIY deck cleaner and prepare your deck for all those rocking summer cookouts.
What's in it for you?
- More stable deck boards
- Decreased risk of mold and mildew
- Increased deck lifespan
Seal, Stain and Maintain Your Wood Deck Just in Time for Summer
Replace missing parts. Notice any missing screws, nuts, nails, or bolts? Harsh winter weather can cause these to fall out. Head over to your local hardware store and get replacement parts â€“ these will vary depending on your deck â€“ and install them to keep your deck stable.
Sweep and rinse your deck. Sweep, sweep, sweep until all debris is gone (weâ€™re looking at you leaves and sticks). Rinse off whatâ€™s left in the cracks by soaking the deck with the hose. Bonus: itâ€™ll open up those wood pores to let dirt out.
Cover greenery with plastic or mix your eco-friendly DIY cleaner. If youâ€™re using premade store-bought deck cleaner, protect your plant life with a plastic sheet. Donâ€™t want to use the chemical stuff? No problem. Make an eco-friendly deck cleaner by dissolving 1 cup of baking soda into 1 gallon of water or mixing 1 gallon of water with 1 gallon of white vinegar.
Scrub your deck clean. Pour or spray your wood deck cleaning solution on your deck and spread it evenly across the surface with a brush. Scrub away dirt, mold, and stains on the wood. Going green? (We recommend it.) Let the deck cleaner sit for 10 minutes before scrubbing.
Rinse away the cleaning fluid. Urban legends claim power or pressure washers are the most effective for rinsing decks. Well, theyâ€™re wrong. Use a simple garden hose with a hard-stem nozzle â€” itâ€™s powerful enough to break apart stains but gentle enough not to damage the deck.
Smooth the wood by sanding. Itâ€™s clean, but is it beautiful? Remove nicks and scratches with a pole sander (a long â€“ and goofy-looking â€“ stick you can find at any hardware store). Use 80-grit sandpaper and lightly sand the surface of the wood. Sweep to remove residue and donâ€™t forget the cracks between the boards â€” you can do those with a small putty knife.
Seal it to prevent water damage. Ever seen water beads roll off a leaf? You can thank the leafâ€™s waxy coating for that. Achieve the same effect by applying a clear sealer to the surface of the wood with a paint roller â€” use at least two to three coats for maximum protection. Going green again? (We still recommend it). You can use mustard seed wax instead of traditional chemical sealers.
Pro Tip: Not sure if your winter seal is still working? Use a splash test â€” spill a glass of water on the deck. Does the water form beads? Youâ€™re good. No beads? The sealant isnâ€™t working anymore and you need to reseal your deck.