How to Clean, Renew and Seal a Wood Deck in One Day

Video Transcript

Video Transcript

RON HAZELTON:
You know, even a deck that's as dingy, dirty and discolored as this one is only one day away from rejuvenation. Let me show you how. The secret to making this a one-day process is this water-based system from Thompson's. There's no need to let the wood dry between steps.

We're going to begin with a deck cleaner. This is a concentrate, so I'll first add two quarts of warm water to my deck sprayer, then the cleaner. A thorough stirring is a good idea. Then I screw on the top and pump up a little pressure.

I apply the cleaner by keeping the nozzle about a foot from the surface and moving back and forth in smooth, even strokes, overlapping each one. Now the idea here is to thoroughly wet the surface but to avoid cooling. If it's a warm or breezy day, you may need to go back and reapply the cleaner.

Work smaller areas at a time, say 20 or 30 square feet. Allow the cleaning solution to sit on the surface for about 10 minutes. Then using a synthetic bristle brush, give the wood a good scrubbing. Now you don't need to use a lot of pressure. Just agitate the cleaner and work it well into the surface.

Now I rinse off the cleaning solution with a garden hose and high-pressure nozzle. If I were working on the lawn, I'd pre-wet the grass to help dilute the liquid being washed off. You know, it's amazing how much of the darkness and dinginess on a deck comes just from dirt.

Now this is a piece of lumber from the same decking section and you can see how much different it looks from this deck, and that's just the result of a good cleaning. Now this next step, brightening might be considered optional on some decks.

What it does is sort of make the entire deck a little bit lighter and even up differences between boards like these two. The brightener is mixed the same way as the cleaner -- warm water first, then the concentrate, followed by a thorough stirring.

I can apply the brightener while the deck is still damp from the cleaning. No need to wait around while it dries. Again, I spray the solution in long, even, overlapping strokes to a small area and give the mixture time to do its work.

After 10 minutes or so, I re-wet the deck, using a mist setting on the nozzle. Then do another light scrubbing to work the brightener well into the surface of the wood. Now it's rinse time again.

Well, our deck's been cleaned, lightened or brightened, now it's ready for some protection. Today I'm going to be using a water-based product that would not only seal the deck, but also add back some color. Now here I'm going to pour the solution into a painting tray because my favorite way to apply a sealer to a deck is with a large applicator pad made just for the purpose like this one from Shure Line.

I dip the pad in the sealer, work off the excess by passing the pad over the ridges in the pan, then begin applying the material in straight strokes, moving with the wood grain. As I apply the stain and sealer, I'm doing several things. Protecting the deck from water and damaging UV sun rays, enabling it to better repel dirt and, of course, making it more attractive.


From dark, dirty and dingy to downright handsome and weatherproof and in less than a day, that's what I really like about this water-base system.

Complete a One Day Deck Restoration with Water-based Products to Wash, Brighten, and Seal the Wood without Requiring Drying Time

Spray, wait, brush, and rinse. No, it's not tooth brushing--it's one-day deck restoration using three water-based products to wash, brighten and seal without drying time between these steps. Apply each product in a separate pass: spray in consistent sweeps to wet the surface, let stand, scrub with a synthetic-bristle brush, rinse, and apply the next product.

For more information on the deck maintenance materals used in this segment click here.

Begin by Mixing the Deck Cleaner Concentrate with Water
Step 1

Begin by Mixing the Deck Cleaner Concentrate with Water

Pour two quarts of warm water into the deck sprayer and add the cleaner concentrate. Stir thoroughly with a piece of wood before assembling and pumping up the sprayer. Be sure to wear protective covering on your eyes and hands.

Spray Deck Cleaner over a Small Area of Deck Restoration
Step 2

Spray Deck Cleaner over a Small Area of Deck Restoration

Spray cleaner in consistent strokes with the nozzle a foot from the surface. Thoroughly wet a 20 to 30 square foot area without pooling the liquid. Let the cleaner soak on the deck for about 10 minutes.

Work Cleaner into the Wood with a Synthetic-bristle Brush
Step 3

Work Cleaner into the Wood with a Synthetic-bristle Brush

Work with the wood grain and scrub the treated area with a synthetic-bristled brush. Apply gentle pressure to agitate the solution and work it into the deck surface and lift embedded grime.

Hose the Area with Water and a High-pressure Hose Nozzle
Step 4

Hose the Area with Water and a High-pressure Hose Nozzle

Equip your hose with a high-pressure nozzle and hose the cleaning solution from the deck. If you are working on grass or near plants, wet them to help dilute the solution before it touches them.

Mix Brightener Solution to Lighten and Even Color Tones
Step 5

Mix Brightener Solution to Lighten and Even Color Tones

Mix the brightener the same way as the cleaner, adding water and solution and then stirring. Brightener blends the color tones. Using brightener is somewhat optional, but wearing protective covering over eyes and hands is not.

Apply Brightener to the Cleaned Deck Surface
Step 6

Apply Brightener to the Cleaned Deck Surface

Spray brightener on the damp cleaned deck with consistent overlapping strokes. No drying time is required on the deck restoration before applying the brightener.

Wait 10 Minutes, Mist Deck with Water and Scrub
Step 7

Wait 10 Minutes, Mist Deck with Water and Scrub

Let the brightener stand on the cleaned deck surface for about 10 minutes. Set the hose nozzle to mist and dampen with water. Lightly scrub with the synthetic-bristle brush and then rinse with the hose nozzle set to high pressure.

Apply Water-based Sealer with a Large Paint Pad
Step 8

Apply Water-based Sealer with a Large Paint Pad

Use a large paint applicator pad on a long handle to weather-proof the cleaned and brightened deck boards with the sealer/stain product. Run the pad with the wood grain to fill crevices and coat the planks evenly.