Deck Cleaning Reviews and Tips
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.
Regular maintenance is a necessity for exterior wood surfaces. Cleaning and ridding the surface of unwanted stains and contaminants such as dirt, mold, and mildew can help increase its longevity. A coat of water repellent sealer or deck stain can further help to enhance the beauty and increase the life of the wood.
When a sealed deck begins to turn dark or collect mold and mildew it is a sure sign that maintenance is needed once again. This is also true in the case of an old failing deck stain that is no longer performing as it should. In most cases, wood decks need attention about every 2-3 years depending on use and the surrounding climate. The easiest way to maintain a deck is to clean it and apply a maintenance coat of deck stain.
When to Use a Deck Stripper over a Cleaner
The benefits of regular wood deck maintenance are well worth the time and cost. Regularly cleaning and protecting your deck with a wood stain or sealer is one of the best things you can do to guarantee years of use.
The proper procedure for regular wood maintenance is to clean or prep the wood prior to applying a wood deck stain. The purpose of cleaning the wood it so the new deck stain will penetrate or adhere properly and perform as promised. To establish whether you will need to use RAD deck cleaner or RAD deck stripper you first have to determine what is on the wood surface that needs to be removed.
Before staining a wood deck it must first be cleaned properly to ensure lasting results. Wood and deck cleaners are designed to clean wood and prepare the surface prior to stain application. The purpose of a deck cleaner is to remove contaminants such as dirt, grime, graying, mold, mildew, and algae. In some instances, a very faded old stain can be removed as well using a wood cleaner.
There are many different types of exterior wood cleaners to choose from. Typically, deck cleaners aid in the scrubbing or power washing of the wood during the cleaning process. Most deck cleaners consist of caustic soaps that raise the pH level of the wood leaving it in need of a deck brightening application that will neutralize the cleaner by lowering the pH level and brightening the wood.