Maintaining Your Deck: Power Washing and Waterproofing

Cleaning and Maintenance

Though wood decks are durable, they do require cleaning and maintenance. One way to clean a wood deck is to use a power washer. Power washing your deck requires some knowledge, a bit of skill, and equipment. Using a power washer can be tricky because misuse can damage a wood deck. If you don’t want to purchase a power washer, you can rent the equipment. Using a power washer is the quickest method to clean the deck to make it ready for staining and sealing commonly called the finishing process. However, it is also the fastest way to cause gouges in the deck’s surface. Using high-pressure water removes the surface layer. Though it does remove the gray dull color and restore the natural color, using the power washer requires skill to avoid irreparable damage.

To avoid serious damage, keep the sprayer approximately four to eight inches away from the deck’s surface and keep moving the sprayer as you use it. It will take some practice to achieve the correct distance to use and to learn how to use the power washer. Perhap’s you could practice using the power washer on another object. Still, using caution is advised no matter the object that is to be cleaned. As you use the power washer, the results should be immediate and you should be able to notice the difference in the color of the wood. To avoid cross-grain streaks and ridges, move the tip of the power washer parallel to the wood grain.


Waterproofing Your Deck

Waterproofing a wood deck is another maintenance task. Materials needed to waterproof or seal your deck include the following: sandpaper, broom, stiff scrub brush, water, paint stirrer, deck sealer, paint tray and liner, lint free nap roller (1/2 inch), small paintbrush, and a lamb’s wool pad. Prep the area to be sealed by removing all items from the deck surface. Check for loose or damaged boards and repair them. Use sandpaper to smooth rough edges or fix minor cosmetic damage. Sweep away leaves, dirt, and debris. Use a stiff scrub brush to thoroughly clean the deck using water. Rinse with clean water and allow the wood to air dry. This process will take two or three days for the wood to completely dry. Choose a time when the air is not humid and it is not going to rain for a few days.

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Choose a recommended sealing product, or sealant, that is manufactured for use on wood decks. Watch the weather pattern and choose a time when the weather will be dry for a few days. Put the tray liner into the paint tray. Using the paint stirrer, thoroughly mix the sealant and pour it into the paint tray. Use the 1/2-inch lint free nap roller to coat the wood. Roll the sealant onto the wood as if you were painting the surface. Use a method of covering two to three sections of the deck boards at a time. Apply a thin and even coat. Use a paint brush to apply the sealant to the corners and railings. Read the manufacturers directions for applying the sealant. Apply several thin layers of the sealant and take your time completing the entire sealant process.