Learn how to apply water-based stain with four different tools and methods.
Learn how to replace damaged decking; includes details on hidden fastener systems and sealing decking
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Viewing Project in Decks & Patios > Decks > Painting, Staining, & Waterproofing > Staining & Waterproofing
Dirt, water and sunlight, they all take a toll on wooden decks and it isn't long before a new one ends up looking like this. But the good news is, it's surprisingly fast and easy to restore a deck like this to its original beauty.
Decks get dirty, plan and simple and products like this deck cleaner and brightener from Thompson's are designed to get that dirt off. From my experience, the fastest and easiest way to apply a cleaner is with a pump sprayer. As a precaution, I usually wet down nearby grass and shrubs to dilute any runoff.
And if it's a hot, sunny day, I always pre-wet the deck itself to keep the cleaner from evaporating before it has a chance to do its work. I spray on the cleaning solution by holding the nozzle a couple of feet from the surface and moving it steadily from side to side. The idea is to wet the deck thoroughly and not let it dry out. After a few minutes, I use a synthetic bristle brush to work the cleaner into the wood. Now it's not necessary to do a whole lot of scrubbing here, just agitate.
You may have noticed by the way, that I have one rule when it comes to deck maintenance: work standing upright, as much as possible. My back appreciates it and it's a great deal easier on my hands and knees effort. After waiting a few more minutes, it's time to rinse.
On some decks, a high-pressure garden hose is all that's needed. For stubborn stains or deeper discoloration, a pressure washer does the trick. Just be careful to keep the nozzle moving and not get it too close to the surface.
The water, which may be pressurized at over 1,000 pounds per square inch at the tip can actually etch away the wood. Once I'm finished, I give the deck some time to shed any standing water. This is a high performance sealer, again from Thompson's. In addition to providing excellent protection from sun and rain, it can be applied to a damp surface and even used on fresh pressure-treated lumber.
This version has a transparent tint. Now all sealers need to be worked into the surface if they're going to penetrate and do their job. For that reason, I find it easiest and fastest to apply sealer, especially this one, using a large paint pad attached to a long handle. Oh yes, and remember that remain upright rule.
Getting the sealer on the side of the boards though, does require a bit of bending of the knees and handwork. Cleaning and sealing not only makes the deck look great, it offers real protection too. All you have to do is look at the water beading up on the surface to know this treatment is doing its job.
You know, it's hard to believe that this is the same section of deck that we actually started with. Restoring, reviving and protecting a deck, well, it's just never been easier.