Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Your Deck

clean boards next to dirty boards

With the Stay Home order this spring, you likely have been spending a little more time than usual around your house- and to notice- this place could use some work! More people are looking to their backyards for relaxation and enjoyment. If you are looking for ways to improve your yard, look no further than this guide to clean deck boards and other parts of your deck!

If your deck needs more work than a simple cleaning or transform your deck into more usable space for your home, here at Dupont Decks, we have more than 20 years of experience with building decks, 4 season rooms, and more.

Pressure Washer on deck

Assessing Your Deck

The first step of a good deck cleaning is to assess what work needs doing to your deck. Do you just need to clean the deck? Or does there need to be structural work, as well?

It makes no sense to be halfway through cleaning your deck and yard only to realize then that it needs significant work or replacement of structural supports. If you think your deck might need a facelift, call Dupont Decks today.

Clear all furniture, rugs, flower pots, grills, and other items off of the deck and place them in a safe location in your yard or driveway. They may need to remain there for several days as assessing how to clean decks and carrying out that plan may take longer than anticipated. 

Walk around all areas of the deck. Examine the boards for rot, sections that are dried out, or nails or screws that have come loose. You may want to carry a hammer and electric screwdriver with you and tighten any nails or screws that have come loose.

Assess if there are any areas of the deck boards that appear stained? Because of the porous nature of wood, over time, water can penetrate the grain, which can lead to mold development. Materials leaked from plant pots, grills, or fallen from trees can also lead to stained and unsightly areas. 

Examine any structural supports. Do they seem to be in good shape? Consider all areas of supports from where they join the flat area of the deck to where they connect to the ground.

scrubbing deck

Gathering Supplies

Depending on the condition and composition of your deck you can use a variety of tools to clean your deck. It is crucial to select any cleaning products with your deck material in mind. If your deck is wood, it is more likely to have open pores that need cleaning with a different product than a composite deck with a harder outer surface. 

Select a cleaner that is labeled as specially formulated for your type of decking. You will also want a brush with stiff bristles and can work the soap into the deck enough to clean deck stains, while still gentle enough to not hurt the deck. If you don’t have one already, a hose with a durable spray nozzle will make cleaning your deck easier. 

Using the cleanser as directed and the brush, work the cleaner into the boards and then spray it clean. You may notice some areas that are still stained. You can go over these areas a second time, or replace singular boards if they cannot be cleaned.

Man using high pressure washer cleaning deck

How to Clean Deck Boards with a Pressure Washer

If your deck is stained and worn enough that a hose and brush will not thoroughly clean it, a pressure washer may be needed. Pressure washers come in a variety of styles and powers. Pressure washers can be powered by: 

  • electricity 
  • gas
  • battery

Pressure washers can be purchased or rented from most large hardware stores. They can also be used to clean siding and other hard surfaces around the home. You may also consider purchasing a pressure washer, but the cost is an investment that may not be worthwhile with sporadic use. 

While pressure washers can thoroughly clean your deck, care must be taken to not damage the deck while you clean. To clean deck boards with a pressure washer, try to move the spray nozzle in long, slow motions. Do not leave the nozzle spraying in one location for an extended period. 

cleaning wooden terrace planks with high pressure washer

After Cleaning Your Deck

You don’t want to have to do that again any time soon. You want to protect what you have just cleaned. Like deck washes, there are a variety of finishes that you can apply to your newly cleaned wood. 

Some finishes are designed to preserve the look and feel of the natural wood without adding any color to the wood. Other finishes are designed to complement the colors of your house or to add a punch to the look of the backyard. 

Finishes can also come with added features that may make them more attractive options. If your deck has splintered, you can select a finish that will seal the deck and help prevent splinters. Other deck finishes may give the choice of additional grit if your deck is too slippery.

Man Washing Deck

What if the Deck Can’t Be Cleaned?

You may find that as you clean your deck that there are more stubbornly stained areas than you initially thought. You may also discover that the wood is too worn and is breaking under the pressure of the scrub brush or pressure washer.

If the worn or damaged areas are restricted to a singular area, you may be able to have a specific area replaced. It may be the case that the whole thing is in need of more TLC than you can give. Here in Minnesota, winters are notoriously harsh on decks. 

At Dupont Decks, “Our Work is Our Word.” We are a family-owned business that strives to treat each of our customers as if they were part of our family.

If you decide that your deck is not worth all of the effort or discover major structural issues, contact Dupont Decks to learn about the variety of deck options that will add useability to your backyard, look beautiful, and last long into the future.