Power Wash FAQ
Is it necessary to clean a deck prior to sealing or staining?
Proper preparation of any surface prior to sealing, staining or even painting is a no-brainer. Don’t waste time applying a sealant of any kind without a thorough cleaning. Chemical cleaning solutions are efficient for removing surface dirt, mold and mildew and will generally “brighten the wood”, however will not completely remove previous stains or moisture barriers that can block new stain penetration. Pressure washing the surface (similar to a light sanding) will do all of the above and open the pores of the wood to allow a more complete penetration of the sealant into the wood. This will not only enhance the beauty of the finish but generally extend the duration of the product.
Should I choose a clear sealant, semi-transparent or solid color stain?
- Clear sealants: A clear sealant with no pigment (color) is a moisture barrier only. While many homeowners prefer a “natural” look for the finished product, we generally recommend this product for little to no sun situations only. These products normally last up to three years as a moisture barrier and they will delay but not prevent the greying process. For homeowners that choose this method we recommend cleaning and treating every two years to maintain a fresh crisp look.
- Semi-Transparent Stains: These products contain both a moisture barrier and UV Protection. The sun and harmful UV Rays are what causes major damage to the wood by baking and drying out the surface. Without this protection the wood will crack, splinter and warp. Because the staining process is more labor intensive than a clear coat it is more costly but will generally last from three to four years depending on weather conditions and traffic. Often, if a homeowner chooses to keep the same color for the maintenance coat we can pressure wash and re-stain only the horizontal surfaces to minimize the cost and properly protect the surface. Semi-Transparent stains provide maximum protection while allowing the natural beauty of the wood grains to be seen. This is by far the most requested method for protecting the surface.
- Solid Color Stains: Solid color stains will cover completely (similar to paint) and do a great job on older surfaces to conceal stains or lightly damaged boards. Once applied these products are difficult to remove and may require several cleanings in addition to paint stripper, sanding and additional time to remove completely, adding to the expense of maintenance. We recommend these products for older surfaces or for homeowners that are in love with a painted surface.
Still uncertain? All situations are different depending on the age of the wood, weather and traffic conditions and other factors. Feel free to contact us for a free, no-obligation assessment of your project. We would love to add you to our growing list of happy regular clients.