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The Deck--Cleaning up after Dirty Birds

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white pine

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Our deck got hammered this winter/spring, and with so little rain the stuff is dried on/in. It needs serious cleaning before we stain. Hose and brush & elbow grease work very slowly, and do not get all the stain off. We have lots of dark stained deck. Deck care forums say clean off as much as possible and stain over. I think it might still show through. Anyone know of anything that works to really get it clean?
 

Redbirds

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Power washer - I was amazed at what our deck looked like after it was power washed last summer! Then, we put on two coast of stain. I was told to avoid the stuff that seals the wood with a varnish - it starts to chip, turn white and will look bad.
Of course, your mileage may vary...
 

Country Girl

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We have a mahogany deck that needs to be cleaned and recoated every year. My husband cleans it with TSP and water.
 

Morticia

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Power washer?
 

Redbirds

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Power washer?.
You can rent or buy one. I have an ActiveProducts 1450 Electric Pressure Washer.
900 pounds/square inch with a maximum of 1450 psi.
You can add detergent to it as well.
 

Morticia

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Power washer?.
You can rent or buy one. I have an ActiveProducts 1450 Electric Pressure Washer.
900 pounds/square inch with a maximum of 1450 psi.
You can add detergent to it as well.
.
I wasn't asking what it was, I actually have one in the shed right now that we just borrowed. It's wonderful!
 

Sanctuary

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I use a power washer to remove crud. Turn gray weathered wood to looking brand new, I use an acid wash to remove the black mold/stain that gets down in the crevices. It's a 2-part cleaner. The first part is an acid that turns the wood very dark very quickly. Then I use a stiff brush on it which brings out lots and lots of goo (gotta rinse the brush often). I hose that off and then apply the neutralizer and brush that in, then hose it off. The neutralizer instantly turns the wood to a beautiful honey blonde. When it dries, it looks like freshly sawn lumber. I do this on my handrails and teak swim platform - I don't see any reason why it won't work on a deck. Here are some before/after photos. The "after" photo does have a coat of Watco Teak Oil on it (great stuff!).
 

Morticia

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My husband uses a power washer too with the TSP..
Power washer seems the answer. I was leaning that way too. Thanks all.
.
Yep ..power washer is great..but do be careful..it doesn't have all that power for nothing. In the hands of an inexperienced person..it can tear wood up.
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catlady said:
Yep ..power washer is great..but do be careful..it doesn't have all that power for nothing. In the hands of an inexperienced person..it can tear wood up.
It can also put out a window or completely soak your living room if you forget to close the windows. Don't ask...
 

Sanctuary

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My husband uses a power washer too with the TSP..
Power washer seems the answer. I was leaning that way too. Thanks all.
.
Yep ..power washer is great..but do be careful..it doesn't have all that power for nothing. In the hands of an inexperienced person..it can tear wood up.
.
catlady said:
Yep ..power washer is great..but do be careful..it doesn't have all that power for nothing. In the hands of an inexperienced person..it can tear wood up.
It can also put out a window or completely soak your living room if you forget to close the windows. Don't ask...
.
Ditto on the power washer warnings. You can carve your name in the wood with a power washer if you're not paying attention.
With a really powerful one, you can carve out your intestines. Had a "power washer gone astray" lawsuit over that one once back when I did plaintiff's personal injury work in Ohio. YUK!
 

swirt

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I wouldn't use the TSP with a pressure washer.... it would be fine for the wood, but you don't want to breathe that stuff that gets atomized by the pressure washer.
Also doubling the warning on the use of the pressure washer. It digs into the wood and leaves a rougher / more porous surface in its wake. So it makes cleaning easier, but probably means you will have to clean it more often as the porous wood surface traps more dirt and crud. The more you use it, the more you end up using it.
I use a good stiff brush on a long wooden handle (don't get the cheap metal handled one at Lowes/Homedepot. That handle will fold over if you are using it hard enough to do its job.
 

white pine

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I wouldn't use the TSP with a pressure washer.... it would be fine for the wood, but you don't want to breathe that stuff that gets atomized by the pressure washer.
Also doubling the warning on the use of the pressure washer. It digs into the wood and leaves a rougher / more porous surface in its wake. So it makes cleaning easier, but probably means you will have to clean it more often as the porous wood surface traps more dirt and crud. The more you use it, the more you end up using it.
I use a good stiff brush on a long wooden handle (don't get the cheap metal handled one at Lowes/Homedepot. That handle will fold over if you are using it hard enough to do its job..
Thanks for the info. I was concerned about the TSP on the plants too. It possible to get a pressure washer that adjusts-- maybe just enough to do the job without destroying the deck? I googled this too, and the deck people don't recommend pressure washers--just the dreaded brush.
 

white pine

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I use a power washer to remove crud. Turn gray weathered wood to looking brand new, I use an acid wash to remove the black mold/stain that gets down in the crevices. It's a 2-part cleaner. The first part is an acid that turns the wood very dark very quickly. Then I use a stiff brush on it which brings out lots and lots of goo (gotta rinse the brush often). I hose that off and then apply the neutralizer and brush that in, then hose it off. The neutralizer instantly turns the wood to a beautiful honey blonde. When it dries, it looks like freshly sawn lumber. I do this on my handrails and teak swim platform - I don't see any reason why it won't work on a deck. Here are some before/after photos. The "after" photo does have a coat of Watco Teak Oil on it (great stuff!).
.
Looks beautiful! I have always loved teak decks on boats!
 

white pine

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I got to thinking, what is bird do?
One of the components is ammonia. I went to the hardware and bought 1 gal of janitors ammonia, a new deck brush, and went to town with about a 50/50 solution. It washed off fairly quickly with relatively light brushing. One area I did twice. Hosed it all off and it looks really good. Recommend a breeze and eye protection.
 

swirt

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I got to thinking, what is bird do?
One of the components is ammonia. I went to the hardware and bought 1 gal of janitors ammonia, a new deck brush, and went to town with about a 50/50 solution. It washed off fairly quickly with relatively light brushing. One area I did twice. Hosed it all off and it looks really good. Recommend a breeze and eye protection..
smart thinking.
 

BBBBoB

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My husband uses a power washer too with the TSP..
Power washer seems the answer. I was leaning that way too. Thanks all.
.
I power wash our deck every year. Be careful with it though. I use a 20° head, keeping it about 3" from boards. Keep it perpendicular to the boards. If you angle it there is a good chance that you will rip the grain. I also mix some "green" end cut with the Thompsons Water sealer. It protects the wood & gives it that new green colouring. Apply when dry. I use a paint roller to do that. (Only for the pressure treated product)
BBBoB
 

white pine

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I got to thinking, what is bird do?
One of the components is ammonia. I went to the hardware and bought 1 gal of janitors ammonia, a new deck brush, and went to town with about a 50/50 solution. It washed off fairly quickly with relatively light brushing. One area I did twice. Hosed it all off and it looks really good. Recommend a breeze and eye protection..
smart thinking.
.
Happy on the poop deck!
 
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