Deck Cleaning Reviews and Tips
When using wood restoration and maintenance products like the line of RAD (Restore-A-Deck) cleaners it is important to know how to apply them. One way to apply RAD products like the wood cleaner, wood brightener, or stain stripper is by the use of a pump sprayer. When using a pump sprayer for application be sure to premix the solution in a bucket first before transferring to the sprayer. This will help ensure proper blending.
Cleaning wood is not rocket science but it does require a little knowledge of the products and methods available. If you are going to restore your own deck then you will certainly be using a wood deck cleaner. There are several types of cleaners out there but the two basic and most commonly used ones are sodium percarbonate cleaners and bleach-based cleaners. There are pros and cons to each type.
Restore-A-Deck (RAD) products are specifically designed for the do-it-yourself homeowner wanting to get professional results. The RAD products were formulated by professional woodcare experts. This easy to use two-step system will make the job of bringing your deck back to life easier and quicker. The RAD products were designed to use with a simple deck brush and garden hose for homeowners whom do not have a pressure washer. A deck brush used with these products will get rid of gray wood fibers, mold, mildew and dirt. With that said if you do have access to a pressure washer it can have great advantages to using with RAD products.
If you do not own a pressure washer you can rent one from a local hardware center. Try to get the one with the highest GPM (gallons per minute). The higher the GPM the faster you will be able to wash. The pressure is not as crucial since you should not clean wood with high pressure anyway. Excessive pressure can cause serious damage to your deck. Damage can differ from raised grain and splinters to wand marks that will show up even more after staining.
Deck maintenance is the key to prolonging a deck’s structural integrity and overall appearance. It is well known that a wooden deck has to be cleaned and sealed every couple of years to deflect the major causes of water and UV damage that would otherwise occur. Board warping, cracking, splitting, UV fading, discoloring, and mold infiltration are just some of the major damaging effects that unprotected wood is subjected to.
Before now you could only purchase a wood cleaner to clean common dirt, grime, and mold from a deck surface. You would then have to purchase separately a wood brightener to level the pH of the wood and open the wood pores to prepare them for a coat of deck stain. Because of this hassle, many people would simply skip the all-important brightening step, which unknowingly, would cause the deck stain to fail prematurely. A lack of proper deck prepping is the number one reason a deck stain or sealer fails prematurely. The wood professionals, to get the most performance from a deck stain use this 2-step restoration method.
In choosing RAD products for your deck restoration or maintenance needs you know you will be getting the best deck prep possible prior to staining. Cleaning and staining a deck is only problematic when you do not use the right products. It truly comes down to using the best cleaners for a smooth flowing project that will end with great results. RAD products will bring life back to your deck and safe you money. RAD products are concentrated powder formulas that save you big on shipping costs compared to heavy and bulky premixed water based cleaners.
Here is a great review and testimonial by one of our customers:
I just wanted to let you know I am very happy with your Restore A Deck kit. My deck was neglected for 7 years prior to me using your product kit. It made my deck boards look almost new again. I used it in conjunction with Armstrong Clarke stain and I have a great finished product. I have a home repairs and upgrades YouTube channel called TightWadRepairs. I recorded a video of me using your product to share with others and lately it has become pretty popular with over 20,000 views and 99% positive feedback. You are welcome to add a link to my video on your site if you wish.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Strip and Brighten? What is Best Prep?
When it comes to deck restoration and maintenance it is important to know that in order to get good results the wood must be prepped correctly. When a deck stain fails prematurely it can normally be associated with incorrect or lack of wood prep work prior to the stain being applied. Any research on deck restoration will reveal that you need to remove any old failing coatings prior to applying a new stain. You might see the words strip and brighten. So what is the best prep? Strip or brighten?
Actually, both are necessary to get good results. To explain, stripping or using a stain stripper is the method of using a stripping agent during the cleaning process. This is typically done with the aid of a pressure washer. A stripper will emulsify old coatings making them easier to remove with the washer. This will reveal bare clean wood, which will make the best surface possible for the new deck stain.
During deck or wood maintenance it is important to prep the wood correctly so the new stain you apply can perform as expected. Any old failing stain that may be left on the wood may end up causing the new stain to peel, flake, and fail prematurely. There is no need to hinder the performance of a new deck stain by leaving remnants of old stain on the wood surface. This is easily remedied by using a deck stain stripper during the cleaning and prepping process. Today there is a product that is user-friendly that homeowners can use to get professional like results when it comes to prepping a deck.
If an old failing stain is present the use of a stain stripper will help to emulsify the stain so it can be washed away using a pressure washer or stiff brush. The first and only powdered concentrated deck stain stripper, designed to be injected through a pressure washer is Restore-A-Deck Stripper. Reviews have indicated that this product can also be applied in higher concentrations if necessary by the means of a pump up sprayer.
In the past, cleaning and prepping a wood surface was difficult. With any research, you may have found information about cleaners, strippers, brighteners, and neutralizers. This can be confusing for anybody but it is also necessary for getting good results. After all, the number one reason a new deck stain fails prematurely is because the wood was not prepped correctly if at all. No deck stain no matter how expensive it is will hold up and perform as expected if it is applied to a wood surface that was not prepared properly.
Today Restore A Deck Kits are available to homeowners. These kits contain the necessary two-step process cleaner and brightener making deck prepping a breeze. The RAD Kits come with the step one wood cleaner. This is can be used with a pressure washer to remove contaminants like dirt, grime, and wood graying as well as some failing deck stains. This will provide a clean surface of bare wood for the new deck stain to penetrate or adhere to.
It is no secret that the elements can play havoc on a wooden deck. When a deck is neglected it can become an eyesore in a relatively short time. Water damage causes cracks and splits boards while harsh UV rays turn the wood fibers gray making the whole deck very unsightly.
To protect a wood deck from Mother Nature regular maintenance is necessary. Cleaning and refinishing a deck every couple of years is adequate maintenance to ward off sun and water damage.
Prior to staining or sealing a deck it must be cleaned. A safe and effective method is to use the Restore-A-Deck Step 1 Cleaner to remove dirt, grime, and gray fibers. Deck cleaner powders are common and effective for loosening up these contaminants so they can be washed off the wood. There are some advantages of using deck cleaner powders as opposed to the liquid form deck cleaners.
Ability to Adjust the Strength
With powdered deck cleaners you can adjust the strength needed to do the job. Most powder deck cleaners will have mixing instructions for blending a mild or a more aggressive (hot) mix depending on the type of deck stain you are attempting to remove.
Safer and Easier to Store
Though care should still be taken while storing deck cleaner powders they are safer to keep around than the concentrated liquid forms that can leak or spill easily. Always follow the storage suggestions on the label. The smaller container of a powdered deck cleaner also saves storage room.
Cheaper to Ship
A huge advantage of using the deck cleaner powders is that they are cheaper to ship. A small bucket of deck cleaner powder may make up to 5 or 6 gallons worth of cleaner depending on how strong you mix it. Compared to a heavy 5-gallon bucket of liquid deck cleaner these are a much more economical choice.
Liquid deck cleaners certainly have their place but as you can see there are some big advantages to using deck cleaner powders when it comes to deck maintenance.
Restore-A-Deck Stripper - Deck Stain Removers
Removing an old deck stain from a wood deck is an essential part of restoring the wood to like new condition. Most wood stains or sealers will not adhere well to an older existing wood stain. Deck stain removers will soften and emulsify an old wood stain so that it can be removed more easily. Wood stain removers consist of chemicals that break the old stain down and allow it to be pressure washed from the wood using a lower amount of pressure so no harm is done to the soft wood fibers.
Using too much pressure to remove an old deck stain or sealer can damage the wood fibers beyond repair. Wood stain removers will help to eliminate this problem. Most deck stain removers are made up of caustic chemicals such as sodium hydroxide and may have other additives that act as cleaning agents. This loosens old deck stains and grayed out or sun damaged wood fibers making them easier to remove.
As mentioned, removing an old stain is crucial in preparing the deck for a new coat of deck stain. Restore-A-Deck Stripper is effective for removing clear sealers, semi-transparent stains, and semi-solid stains. The may assist in removing a solid stain or deck paint but may not remove it completely. Several applications and some sanding may be necessary on these heavier pigmented deck stains to achieve optimal results.
After Restore-A-Deck Stripper is used the wood naturally becomes dark colored and has a high pH level. This is not ideal in appearance or for proper adhesion of the new deck stain. To restore the wood’s pH level to be more acidic a wood brightener, Restore-A-Deck Brightener should be applied. This brightens to wood appearance and helps to open the wood pores to better accept the new stain. This also ensures the new wood deck stain will give better longer lasting protection against the elements. This step is just as important as removing the old stain. Preparing the wood correctly as mentioned will guarantee a better deck restoration and give you lasting results.
Different Types of Deck Cleaners
Deck cleaning and prep is a crucial step in any deck maintenance plan. Exterior wood must be cleaned prior to staining to ensure proper stain penetration and longevity. Let's compare the different types of deck cleaners and review how they can positively or negatively affect your wood deck.
Wood Deck Cleaners
The purpose of cleaning wood is to remove any dirt, grime, mold, mildew, graying, or mill glaze that may prevent the deck stain from performing as it should. Exterior wood cleaners aid in the scrubbing or pressure washing of wood prior to staining. Deck cleaners primarily consist of caustic soaps that make the cleaning process both easier and more effective. Because of the caustic condition of most deck cleaners, the wood's pH balance is raised during cleaning and will appear very dark. It's important to apply a deck brightener to the wood once it is cleaned. This cancels the caustic level by restoring the pH balance and enhances the beauty of the wood.