Why Decks Need Maintenance
When a wood deck absorbs water the natural resins and color can be washed out over time.
Chemical applicator - Pump-up type sprayer or Flo-Jet type sprayer
Mixing Buckets - 2or3 5 gallon plastic mixing buckets.
Duct tape, Clear plastic sheeting,Cardboard- To protect areas
Extension Cords- Must be adequate length and gauge.
What not to leave behind
Here is a general list of things to bring to your job site.
Test pressure on an inconspicuous area of the deck. Feather each pass.
Rinse deck thoroughly removing all chemical. Outlets, fixtures and jacks have been sealed water tight.
Pressure Washer- Cold water gas machine 5. This is not a suggestion it's a must.
Deck Screws, Nails and Bolts- As required, use galvanized only.
These acid solutions will act as brighteners. filter press Manufacturers Wood and water combined with dirt and even air pollution will also contribute to the proliferation of mildew, fungus and molds.
Mixers- Drill type chemical mixer.
Respirator- Cartridge type with spares
(When working with high caustics and acids)
Face and Eye Protection- Some type of helmet with face shield. In this respect only experience can really guide you. Neutralizing the PH of a high caustic cleaner will restore a deck very close to it's original color.
Close proximity plants and bushes have been protected with a clear plastic tarp.
Ready, Set, Go!
Soak the area to be cleaned thoroughly.
Sometimes "furring will become apparent even at low pressures. These short hair like fibers are the result of a "tearing" action on the wood. Allow your chemical to dwell for 15-20 minutes. Not just houses but both municipal and commercial facilities use wooden decks and walkways extensively. When learning make sure to do more than one. Because of this the PH will have to be neutralized with a mild acidic solution.
Has the deck ever been sealed? Is there old sealer that needs to be stripped and reapplied?
Do I have all the chemicals, tools and equipment required for this project?
( we will include a sample list at the end of this article)
Is there any damaged or rotted wood that needs to be replaced?
( Now is a good time to measure. Keep this in mind when speaking to the decision makers of commercial and municipal facilities.
(Hot Washers are also used but at very low temperatures not exceeding 110F)
Hoses- Sufficient lengths of both pressure hose and supply hose. Decks in upscale neighborhoods will probably contain most of these challenges. Your customers will not like the way this looks and light sanding will be required to correct this condition.
What Chemicals to Use
Sodium Hydroxide ( a high caustic chemical) is very popular with professional deck cleaners.
Cordless Drill- With phillips screw bits and chuck large enough to acommodate the chemical mixer. Different decks can present different challenges.
While Sodium Hydroxide is a very effective chemical it will darken or may even blacken the deck.
There is a learning curve involved when getting proficient enough to clean/seal/restore wood decks for the public. 5oz. These will probably be gone in 2-3 weeks but your customer will want them gone sooner than later..
Brooms/Blower- A stiff bristled push broom (not metal) and/or a gas powered leaf blower.When just starting out a pump up type sprayer will work nicely.
. Because this chemical does most of the work very low pressures of 500-1200 PSI can be used which helps avoid the condition known as "furring". Remember when cleaning use low pressure. As a general rule of thumb use the least amount of pressure that will get the job done. One deck will have harder wood than another and
other decks will have softer and harder areas on the same deck.
Citrus Acid- Used on hardwoods. Use bronze, steel wool can leave rust stains.
Clear the Deck of Dirt and Debris
With a stiff bristle broom or a leaf blower clear all loose dirt and debris from the surface of the deck.
Just look around, decks are almost everywhere.
Rotted or damaged wood has been replaced.
Ok you've cleared everything from the deck and placed it far enough to be out of harms way. acid to each gallon of water. You've locked out the circuit breakers that provide electrical service to the deck area. This creates one heck of a "slip and fall" liability problem. It is best to learn on your own deck or on the decks of close friends and relatives.Pressure Washing Decks
A beautiful wooden deck, properly maintained, can add greatly to the aesthetic and resale values of a home.
The great news is that decks need maintenance.
Oxalic Acid- Primarily used on redwoods. If you chose your day well rain won't become a problem.
I'm very hesitant to suggest a pressure level when it comes to cleaning decks because it's just so subjective. This serves several purposes but most importantly, the deck must remain damp throughout the entire cleaning process.with galvanized fasteners. Acids used are Citrus,Oxalic or Phosphoric.
Phosphoric Acid- Used when an unfinished deck has turned "gray". The underside works well for this
Excessive Pressure. Because of this pressure washing decks can be a great profit center for your business or even the whole business.
If you've sufficiently dampened the deck and haven't dawdled this shouldn't be a big problem.
Only now are you really ready to begin.)
Are the any missing or loose bolts, nails or screws?
Are there any adjacent bushes or plants that need to be protected?
Are there any electrical appliances, outlets, light fixtures or telephone jacks?
Note: these will have to be sealed water tight.
Excessive pressure will cause a deck to "furr". Some of this may not apply to you. The point is to always work with a job list to avoid the embarassment or expense of missing that tool you need right now. Remember water and electricity is a dangerous combination. Never clean against the grain or across the grain.
Hammer- If nails are required. 12 gauge minimum.
When organizing your project or preparing your bid make some simple observations. The pressure used should be enough to remove dead wood but not enough to cause "furring" Experience will be your best teacher.
The combination of wood and water creates a food source for mildew, fungus and mold promoting their growth.. nails and screws have been tightened or replaced.
Electric Rotary Sander- With 60 and 80 grit sandpaper
Knee Pads - You didn't think you'd always be standing when sanding did you?
Remember practice makes perfect get out there and start learning.This is the appearance of small hairlike fibers protruding from the wood.5-11HP commercial grade unit. Make sure the circuit breakers will be accessible to you prior to starting.
"Furring" Happens. Apply neutralizer/brightener solution, wait 10-15 minutes and rinse well again. As beautiful as a wooden deck can be it can be a real eyesore if not properly maintained.
Safety note: Always wear headgear with face shields and cartridge type respirators when working with high caustic or acidic chemicals.
Apply cleaning chemical with the applicator of your choice. Do not allow to dry.
If you are going to seal wait 24 hours if not 48. If necessary spray more water or reapply chemical. One thing to remember is that a wet deck with a thick coating of mildew is very slick and slippery. Give them a light sanding with a bronze metal scrubbing pad.