How to Clean a Deck for Sealing or Staining?

One of the best ways to preserve the life and beauty of your deck is to give it a proper stain and seal.  This will help maintain the beauty of the color as well as preventing dry-rot, splitting and further damage.  It’s important to properly prep you deck before you seal. Here is what we recommend:

Prep Sealing 101:

Clear the Deck

Clear all furniture whether it is: table, chairs, plants, pots, grills. Pretty much remove everything in the area where you are planning to seal.  Then spray it down to remove easily move debris.

Clear Hard-to-Get Debris

Remove ALL debris including: dirt, grim, sticks, mud, fungus, stains, bird poop, chipped paint and more.  If you can lift it with your nail, or it’s unnatural to the deck, please get rid of it.  This is the nitty-gritty part of the prep work but also very important. If debris is stuck between the cracks of the wood, try to remove it with a putty knife or any other tool that can get between the grooves of the deck.  When you have manually dislodged all of the debris, use a shot-vac or hose to clear the debris out.  If you fail to remove debris prior to staining/sealing your deck, you will trap these fragments in your deck, which can create further problems down the road.

Remove Pesky Mildew/Algae

Sometimes these guys are tough to deal with, but with persistence, you can win.  Get a cleaner from your local home improvement store or use a combination of bleach diluted with water.  Grab a scrub brush and get to work.  With some elbow grease and chemicals, you scrub these pesky nuisances out of your wood.

Sand Rough Spots

Use 80-100 grit sandpaper to sand any rough spots that you notice.  Then when you are done, use the shot-vac again to suck up the wood shavings.

Pressure Wash

If your entire deck is littered with debris, pressure washing can be a quick and effective way to clean your deck.  Rent one from your local home improvement store, and make sure you where sneakers when operating.  Word of Caution: Improper use of a Pressure Washer can splinter your deck.  If you’re unsure, call a professional to pressure wash your deck.  And if you live in the Fredericksburg/Stafford VA area, give us a call to make an appointment.

Final Rinse

After you have inspected every nook and cranky of your roof, give it a final rinse to get rid of the last debris.

Dry Time

Wait for the deck to be completely dry prior to staining/sealing your deck.  Most of the time, it takes one day to dry. But if you live in a pretty humid environment, it may take a little longer.

These are the steps you need to prep your deck for staining/sealing.  If you find this process too cumbersome and you live in the greater Fredericksburg, VA area, please give us a call and we would be happy to assist!