Southern Yellow Pine Decking maintenance.

Deck care made simple:

Looking after your deck can seem like a daunting task, but with a few simple pointers the job can become lot simpler.


Why should I clean my deck?

Cleaning your deck will remove algae build up (the green bloom that appears on all outdoor surfaces if left to do so). It’s the algae that makes any surface slippery especially when wet.

Removing the algae regularly will help keep your deck slip free and its original colour.

Regularly sweeping or blowing leaves and other matter from the deck surface , particularly in the Autumn , will help keep it clean dry and algae free. This will reduce how often you need to clean any deck.


When to do it?

Ideally clean your deck in the warmer months of the year when it will dry out quicker allowing you to carry out a deck service more effectively. April to September are usually the best months.


What tools to use?

A pressure washer is a handy, but not essential, tool when cleaning your deck.

A decent stiff brush to work in any chemical cleaners is also a must.

A rotating head cleaner such as the one pictured below can be used. These start at around £30 but can cost a lot more. The rotating head will keep the jet pressure even and help avoid any scoring or fluffing of the surface that can happen with needle jet heads if left in one place for too long. They give a good even clean to the surface without scoring the wood.

If you don’t have a pressure washer a small headed deck scrubbing brush can be used but there’s a lot more elbow grease required with this approach. You will also need a garden spray or a large bucket if chemical cleaners are required.

What to do and why?

There are 3 steps to deck care and not all of them are needed every time so it’s helpful to be able to figure out what the best approach is to your particular deck.


Step 1 : Cleaning.

Step 2 : Sanding.

Step 3 : Oiling.


No matter what your deck is made of If it’s becoming green in the corners and starting to get slippery when wet it needs a clean. A pressure washer will get rid of a lot of the dirt and a deck cleaning chemical will help, particularly if the green tinge is not readily washed away. Deck cleaner is usually applied  once the decks had a quick clean to remove surface dirt and is then scrubbed in to remove deep seated dirt and algae from the top layer of the wood. It’s usually important that all the chemical is washed off after cleaning before it’s oiled. Products such as Deck Clean Pro or the Expert Stain and seal range of cleaners available at www.woodcareuk.co.uk . The process of using a gentle cleaning chemical is called softwashing as is considered the best way to restore the natural beauty of your deck.

A cleaning product with a biological (bio) element will also help to kill algae , moss and lichens and inhibit their return . A lot of professional cleaning products contain aggressive biological cleaners but are prohibited for DIY applications. Safe Clean Eco from Pureseal is an ecological biological cleaner that is safe to use and keeps on cleaning deep into the wood. It’s ideal for home use and goes a long way.

If the decks been down a few years you may need to give it a flat sand to smooth off any areas of raised grain and to flatten the knap of the wood after washing (a rotating head cleaner helps reduce this, stopping the surface of the wood from becoming fluffy). Always sand when the wood’s dry and it’s not going to rain for a day or more. A 60 or 80 grit paper is ideal for opening up the woods pores in readiness for a coat of deck oil.

While cleaning the deck will remove dirt it will also leave the wood dry.  Oiling the wood feeds the wood and improves its water repellence thus inhibiting algae growth and keeping the deck slip free and looking good for far longer. There are a wide range of deck treatments available, oil and water based can both be good. Try and avoid any product with a polyurethane content. These tend to act as a cheap varnish leaving the wood looking great for a few weeks then cracking and peeling over time and leaving you with a big job stripping the deck seal off when you next come to clean it. These are described as film builders and are often 2 coat products.

We recommend Expert stain and seals range of penetrating deck and fence oils. These soak deep into the wood and feed and protect the timbers natural fibres. They will keep protecting for years and help avoid frequent service intervals. Check out www.woodcareuk.co.uk or this web site for more product information, and please contact us for any advice.

There are products and help on our website www.manchesterdeck.co.uk and please e mail me with any queries. We are only too happy to help.

Finally, if you don’t want to tackle the job yourself there are good deck care professionals who can help (You can normally expect to pay between £20 and £30/m² for this service.). Please contact me and I will let you know who to contact in your area.


Thank you for reading

Chris Lowe .The Manchester Deck Company


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