Every spring, we are asked how to clean decking.
When it comes to dressing your outdoor space, whether you choose to keep it wild and interesting or well-manicured and aesthetically pleasing, the likelihood is that you will choose to implement some form of structured groundwork for outdoor furniture and entertaining.
While a patio is one of the most popular and easy to maintain solutions, another option growing in popularity is decking – both composite and wood decking. Each requires its own unique methods of cleaning for a safe, optimum finish.
For those already confused, the difference between composite and wood decking is simple. While wood decking uses straight wood planks, composite is a more complex mix of wood fibres, plastics and bonding agents formed to create a stronger and more durable material.
A great alternative to natural wood, composite is steadily growing more popular with those looking for low maintenance outdoor groundwork solutions – so before you get started on your cleaning process, it is important to note exactly what your decking is made from and whether it is composite or natural wood.
Why is it important to keep decking clean?
The aesthetic appearance, of course, plays a large part in the reasoning behind keeping your decking clean – however, it is not the only advantage to a clear and clean surface.
For one thing, an unclean surface can quickly create a slip or trip hazard if you do not keep on top of regular maintenance.
Similarly, if you don’t clean and treat your decking regularly, you may find that the weather starts to wear away at the decking panels and cause them to become weakened and more susceptible to breaking or splintering.
Can I clean my decking myself?
As with so many other cleaning processes, the DIY approach is perfectly possible so long as you familiarise yourself with the process and with the cleaning tools needed before getting stuck in.
In the case of decking, knowing exactly what your decking is made from is also extremely important. As for the chemicals, we will introduce a natural wood decking clean that can cause damage to composite decking if you’re not careful.
Cleaning your Natural Wood decking:
If you decide to go ahead with a DIY decking clean across your natural wood deck, the first thing to do is invest in a deck cleaning solution from your local outdoor store, as well as a decking stain seal that will protect the surface from adverse weather conditions and keep the surface looking its best.
Other aspects of a full wood decking service, as a regular clean, include sanding and sometimes even replacing boards that come loose – to maintain the decking safety in full.
In terms of the cleaning process itself, before you get started, make sure you have the following handy and ready to use:
- Your chosen deck cleaner solution (we suggest using Net-Trol)
- Clean water
- Hard bristle brush
- A garden hose or pressure washer (only pressure wash if you have done so before and are well versed in how to use it safely)
Before cleaning the deck surface, remove all garden furniture, brush away any debris and then pre-rinse the deck with water to loosen any surface-level dirt and prime the wood ready for the cleaning solution to be easily dispersed.
Use your cleaning solution following the container’s instructions, then spread it across your decking boards using the scrubbing brush.
You may want to do this in small sections for ease and to keep control over the solution as you push the solution around the decking surface to remove dirt, mildew, stains, and mould and algae.
Leave the cleaning solution to dwell for 15 – 20 minutes.
The next stage is to rinse the surface, ideally using a garden hose or pressure washer before leaving it to dry and then protect your decking and apply the final sealant or wood decking oil.
Cleaning your Composite Decking
Composite decking care is a lot less intense than that required by wood decking – however, it is important to note that any wood decking cleaning solution will likely be too intense for composite and can cause damage.
The best way to keep your composite decking looking best is to create a simple solution with warm water and dishwashing liquid, then scrub at your surface using a soft bristle brush.
This should be enough to lift away any stains or dirt splashes before you rinse the surface down thoroughly using a pressure washer or garden hose.
The benefits of bringing in a professional cleaning company
If you are in any doubt about your decking’s surface or what the best method for cleaning it thoroughly is, get in touch with your local cleaning company.
Using a power washer can be a costly mistake if something goes wrong; this could be the way you damage the wood. So, we strongly recommend that you consider bringing in an outside cleaning service to wash your deck if you intend to use high-pressure water to clean down and scrub the deck.
Not only will a cleaning company be able to provide you with a free quote for the full job, but they will bring all the necessary equipment and tools with them and will provide an efficient and seamless clean which restores your decking to its former glory.
For more information on the easy steps to clean your decking and a free quote, get in touch with your local cleaning company or us today.