Have you ever taken a look at your wooden deck and wondered what went wrong? As time passes, paint & stain begin to peel, chip, and crack. Algae, mildew, mold, and lichen set in and take over. The deck eventually dries out, becomes slippery when wet, and has splinters readily available. You try power washing it, and apply a big box store product which fails within a few months and makes the wood look even worse. Now it seems like the only option you have left is to replace the boards or the deck entirely. Ah! There is one more card left to play - call a professional to restore it for you!
There is only one proper way to clean wood: Soft washing. This method utilizes wood friendly chemicals to first pull all unwanted growth out from boards such as algae, mildew, mold, lichen, etc. Depending on the solution used, it can also remove old paints and stains as well. Once the cleaning is done, an acid is applied to the wood to boost PH balance and to brighten everything up. This two step process can make your deck look years younger and remove / fade the toughest of stains. If interested, homeowners can also proceed with deck refinishing after the soft wash has been completed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I just power wash my deck?
- We NEVER advise homeowners to power wash a deck. Using a power washer is like sanding wood (at an accelerated pace). What ends up happening is that while the surface may appear clean, by power washing the wood all the natural oils are pushed our by the pressurized stream of water. This causes the deck to become dry and brittle in the long run. Power washing a deck can take years off of its lifespan.
Why is my deck slippery?
- Decks become slippery because of organic growth such as algae and mildew. Wood is a thriving ecosystem and if examined under a microscope, your deck has an entire species of bacteria living on it. The best way to stop your deck from being slippery is either with a soft wash or a full restoration that includes sanding and oil application.
What causes splinters?
- As wood is exposed to natural elements it dries out, shrinks, and cracks. This is a natural process and happens to every untreated deck. To prevent splinters homeowners should avoid power washing, and to ensure that they coat the wood with a protective product to preserve it.
How long should a deck last?
- A wooden deck should last for 15-20 years and upwards if properly cared for. We've had many homeowners report that they've had to replace a deck in just 6-8 years (which we find outrageous). The cost of maintaining a deck is usually just a fraction of what it costs to replace a deck.
Many people take pride in having a deck that looks good. Now what that means is a personal preference. Some people prefer untreated wood, others prefer a stain, and some even a paint. No matter what look you like - it's important to get it done right. Every year we get hundreds of calls from homeowners who took it upon themselves to refinish the wood themselves, and in just a few short months everything begins to fall apart. The product they use begins to chip and peel, and the wood underneath is dirty and slippery. What went wrong? How did it go from looking so good to absolute misery? More importantly - don't be discouraged! The deck doesn't need to be replaced, it just needs a professionals touch!
The first step to refinishing wood is to begin with a soft wash. This prepares the surface for refinishing. This process can't be skipped (otherwise sanding will take 10x as long). Once the deck has dried out enough, the first stage of refinishing always involves sanding. Sanding removes splinters, deeper organic stains, and opens up pores in the wood. It can also remove any stubborn paint or stain that wasn't fully resolved during the soft wash process. Once the wood has been thoroughly sanded, the next step is to oil the surface. Oil is a transparent finish that simply hydrates the wood, and can add a tone of your choice to the surface. It is a great preservative that extends the lifetime, and also keeps the surface looking good for a long time to come. Over time, it slowly fades out of the wood as opposed to chipping and peeling. We can guarantee that there won't be any of that. Once a deck has been fully prepped, it typically doesn't need this process for quite some time to come. The only necessary maintenance going forward is just reapplication of the oil.
Frequently Asked Questions
What colors are available?
- We are able to offer cedar, pecan, redwood, mahogany, chestnut, walnut, and black cherry. Please note: colors may slightly vary depending on the age of your wood, the type of wood, and the sun exposure.
How long does oil last?
- Oil typically lasts one to four seasons, depending on several factors. Future maintenance generally only involves reapplying the oil, and a soft wash / sanding does not need to be done. This means that maintenance is fairly inexpensive going forward.
Do you offer painting and staining as well?
- No. We do not offer paint or stain as these products typically fail prematurely. When the product does eventually fail, the entire deck needs to be washed, sanded, and refinished. This process isn't good for wood (each time it's sanded a layer of the deck is removed) and it becomes quite expensive.
What is the benefit of oil vs. other products?
- Using oil on a deck hydrates the wood fibers, blocks organic growth, reduces splinters, prevents a slippery surface from occurring, and acts like a natural sealant. The oil fades our over time (instead of chipping and peeling) and it makes your deck last longer. Paint, stain, and sealants are mixed with a ton of chemicals that is neither good for the wood or the environment. They don't last very long, and often make the deck look worse within a few short months.