Power washing is a very popular technique that many companies and homeowners use to clean decks. Unfortunately this technique will damage your deck instead of help maintaining it. The problem occurs when people set the pressure too high, use the wrong technique, or install the wrong tip for their pressure washer. Also the older the wood, the more it will be damaged by the jet stream of water.
What does power washing actually do?
When a deck is power washed many negative effects occur to the wood. Power washing removes any loose material which leaves thousand of splinters on the surface. Gaps created in the wood allow sun and water damage. This process removes a lot of the woods natural oils which will decrease the lifespan of the wood. These oils can not be replaced by sealants or products so once the damage is done there is not much you can do. With these essential oils gone the wood will dry causing warping and cupping. Nails pushed loose power washing compromises the strength of the deck. With all of these downsides your probably asking me, what should I use to clean my deck?
Steps to refinish deck without damaging
You can either refinish your deck by yourself or you can contact the deck professionals who have the skills and equipment required. If you go with doing it yourself, these are the steps you should follow for the best outcome.
The first step is to evaluate the wood on your deck and see if any boards need replacement. If a board or handrail does need replaced make sure to do that before moving forward with your refinishing. When replacing a large amount of wood on your deck you should let the wood settle for a few weeks before continuing to the next steps.
The second step resurfacing is definitely the most important and hardest. You will need a commercial floor edger and lots of sandpaper for this process. During this process you will be sanding the top layer of wood off the existing boards. The boards will then have a fresh surface layer which adds smoothness and preps for any finishing products used. This can be a long and grueling process but we promise the finish will look much better.
The third step is to Restore the wood on your deck. In this process you are filling any cracks or crevices that are present with sealant. You will use an epoxy polymer and putty knives to apply. This step is skipped by many DIY homeowners but is very important for a great finish. Once all of the product hardens, you will go back and sand down these areas to insure smoothness.
Finally you are ready to cleanse your deck. You will need wood bleach, hot water, a large mop, a bucket, and a hose. Read the directions on your wood bleach and mix into a gallon bucket using hot water. Apply this mixture onto the deck and let dry for 20-30 minutes. Once the wood is dry, use the hose to rinse the deck thoroughly.
Staining is the last process in refinishing and a well know process by many homeowners. Make sure the deck is dry before painting and use a color that matches your home and landscape. Once the paint dries (usually 4 days) it is time to enjoy your new deck!