3 things you should know about cleaning your porch or deck to make it last

With your deck or porch come tough questions, like whether or not you should paint, how to keep moisture away and what type of wood and treatment you want. Keeping your deck or porch clean is part of giving it a good long life in the sun.

3 things you should know about cleaning your porch or deck to make it last

1. Sweep regularly

  • Sweep your porch or deck clean on a regular basis — weekly or more often if leaves, pine needles or other debris tends to collect. It's the simplest, most important thing you can do to prolong its life.
  • Debris collects moisture, and moisture promotes rot and encourages termites.
  • So pay particular attention to nooks and crannies where debris can collect, like the bottoms of posts.
  • Get the broom bristles between the deck boards to remove debris that can collect on top of the joists below the decking.

2. Choose a cleaning solution

  • Deck cleaners are designed to clean away grime and to remove loose wood fibres on the surface of the deck boards and railings.
  • There are a variety of formulas to choose from at your home centre or hardware store.
  • Some cleaners contain only detergents; others may contain oxalic acid or bleach or a combination of these ingredients.
  • Unless you have mildew, moss, or berry stains, you won't need a cleaner that contains bleach (sodium hypochlorite).
  • Avoid the bleach if you can; heavy concentrations can damage the wood. Read the labels and choose a cleaner that best suits the discolouration or staining problems on your deck.

3. Scrape debris between boards

  • When wet pine needles and other debris get caked between deck boards, you probably won't be able to clear the spaces with a broom.
  • Use the teeth of any old coarse saw blade to pull out the debris. A drywall jab saw is perfect for the job.
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