How to Clean Decking, Wooden Garden Furniture etc
The 3 Most Common Problems and How to Deal With Them Correctly.
(1) Wood is untreated, left exposed to wind, sun, rain, frost etc. Possibly slippery when wet.
(2) Previous decking oil etc may be burned off and is now faded & dirty.
(3) Previously ‘oiled’ wood now partially peeled from the ‘high spots’ & clogs the grooves.
Note: This page does not deal with varnished or painted wood.
We know from countless ongoing calls & emails received from browned off home owners who travelled down that road only to be bitterly disappointed who now hoped that we could help them retrieve their disaster.
Why Were They Disappointed?
Know Your Facts Before You Part With Your Cash
As you know, it is extremely difficult to find anybody that knows what they are talking about, or give you proper advice about the subject of cleaning decking, wooden garden furniture etc, especially in large impersonal or general stores.
Establish the proper facts before you rush out to spend your hard earned cash on the first ‘flogged to death on TV’ product you come across. Whether you choose to shop with us or not – at the very least, arm yourself with the proper information and choose your product(s) and method of use carefully.
Why Listen to Us?
Because we are specialists in this field. This company has a long track record, established in 1978 and with14 years direct, hands-on experience dealing with every known wood care problem relative to our less than favourable climatic conditions. We stand over what we say and we stand over our products. When Architects, Specifiers, Professional Painters, Decorators etc, need proper advice on this subject they come to us because they can depend on our advice and products.
Answers on The 3 Most Common Deck / Wood, Garden Furniture Cleaning Problems
Wood Cleaning Problem (1)
Wood is untreated, left exposed to wind, sun, rain, frost etc.
Possibly slippery when wet.
This is the easiest to clean and restore back to life again. Wood is faded and possibly slippery (deck) when wet from the presence of algae. Tables etc may have mildew / mould etc.
First a few words of Caution…go easy with that power washer while cleaning wood because you are very likely to damage the wood and leave marks and streaks on it that will be virtually impossible to get rid off, especially on ribbed / grooved decking. Depending on how you use it, a power washer can also create splinters in the wood which may stick in people’s hands or feet later.
Some home owners use bleach & water or bleach to clean wooden decking. Bleach can be a good cleaner indoors but is not Eco friendly and if used to clean wood etc can do a lot of harm to the wood itself as well as plants etc.
You could also opt for plain water and a yard brush or scrubbing brush and do a reasonable cleaning job but you will not get rid of that faded, drab grey look no matter how hard you try.
Severe scrubbing will only ‘raise the hairs’ or put a ‘beard’ on the wood, not nice to look at.
You can bring the wood back to that new look again with minimal effort if you use a product specifically designed for that purpose called Net-Trol, an Eco friendly, simple to use, proven cleaner.
All you need to do is, wet the wood, apply the Net-Trol, leave 10 – 15 minutes, give it a scrub with a yard brush or stiff bristle brush, allow it to work for a further 20 minutes or so and rinse off with a hose or a power washer (see caution above).
If the Net-trol applied on the wood dries out due to sun / wind during the working time – mist the area slightly with your finger on top of hose to keep the product damp & active otherwise the cleaning action will stop. Follow instructions carefully or call us for advice.
Wood Cleaning Problem (2)
Previous decking oil, stain etc may be burned off and is now faded & dirty.
Not knowing your facts here can lead to a big and costly mistake. IF the wood was ‘oiled’ a few years ago and now it looks like it was never treated, some of that previous coating, oil, deck stain, teak oil or whatever may still be present but ‘out of sight’ just below the wood’s surface, and if not taken into consideration, will have a big influence on the success or otherwise of the job at hand.
Maybe you moved home and inherited this situation and you have no way of knowing the history of what was done with the wood previously!
BUY NO WOOD CLEANING PRODUCT UNTIL
I strongly advise that you do a quick little known & free test first to determine the correct cleaning method required for your wood. When wood is dry, get some water, and using a ‘dropper bottle’ or the handle of a spoon, gently place some drops of water in different areas of the wood surface. Select some less walked on or cleaner sections also as part of this test.
In case you’re wondering if I’m gone mad, the purpose of this test is to establish if any previous coating, oil, stain etc is still present in the wood (out of sight) which can have a major impact on the cleaning method chosen. Without doing this test you run the risk of completely wasting your time, effort and money and you will be disappointed.
Leave the water drops on the wood for 15 minutes or so and then check to see (a) if the water has soaked into the wood or (b) water is still there in a little ‘ball’ more or less the way you applied it earlier.
If your test result is (a) above, you can clean the wood / deck as per Problem (1) above. If test reveals result (b) above, it means that there is still some previously applied oil or coating present in the wood – may be not visible because it is just below the wood surface and if you want a properly cleaned & restored deck you must remove the previous coating first, otherwise any fresh application of oil etc will probably peel off later as it cannot penetrate the wood properly.
To remove traces of previously applied deck oil you need a powerful stripper cleaner specially designed for removing decking oil. We offer Prepdeck (can be diluted depending on job) a unique product specifically created for this purpose. It is applied on to dry wood doing a section at a time. Leave for 10 minutes to work on the coating, give it a slight scrub, allow cleaner to work for a further 20 minutes or so and rinse off. You could use a power washer (see caution above) for this but keep it well back +/- reduce pressure, rinsing just one or two planks at a time in the direction of the grain. Like Net-Trol above, if Prepdeck dries out during the 30 minute ‘cleaning action window’ sprinkle or mist some water on it to keep it active.
As Prepdeck is a very powerful cleaner, you need to neutralise the wood surface with Net-Trol prior to any oiling. Net-Trol should be diluted by 4 parts water to ‘take the taste’ of the stripper cleaner out of the wood to avoid reaction with oils later. Always read & follow the directions.
Wood Cleaning Problem (3)
Previously ‘oiled’ wood now partially peeled from the ‘high spots’ & clogs the grooves.
This problem is especially common on grooved decking and is probably the most difficult of all to restore. Previously applied decking oil etc has solidified in the ‘valleys’ grooves and has peeled off the ‘hills’ or the high spots – mainly in areas most frequented or used. Peeling happens because the oil did not penetrate the wood properly in the first place. The same applies to oil gathering in the grooves which you cannot sand off.
Some decking oils penetrate better than others and the rule of thumb here is…you tend to get what you pay for. Cheap decking oils tend to look well for a while but their lack of penetrating power +/- being applied to incorrectly prepared surfaces will almost certainly result in peeling etc. All wasted effort, time and money.
Follow method shown in Problem (2) above but there will be no need to do the ‘water drop test’ as it is obvious there is a previous coating present which needs to be removed prior to any oiling.
By the way, if you don’t remove all the gunge and accumulated decking oils out of the grooves, any further application of oil will be a total waste of time and money because it will congeal +/-peel off again – guaranteed. Always read & follow the directions.
NOTE: We are upgrading this website and our shopping cart is
temporarily unavailable. If you wish to place an order for any wood cleaning products mentioned here, please do on our sister website http://www.upkeepers.co.uk
Materials for Wood Cleaning Problem No 1…
Available in 3 sizes 1, 2.5 & 15 Litres. Coverage: 5 to 25m2 per Litre depending on dilution.
Materials for Wood Cleaning Problem No 2…
Net-Trol is available in 3 sizes 1, 2.5 & 15 Litres. Coverage: 5 to 25m2 per Litre depending on dilution. For faded or very dirty wood we suggest you use it neat or dilute slightly.
Materials for Wood Cleaning Problem No 3
Net-Trol is available in 3 sizes 1, 2.5 & 15 Litres.
After Your Decking or Table etc is Cleaned and Looking Great Again – Here’s How to Keep it Looking Great.
If you don’t treat / oil the wood after cleaning, it will gradually return to its previous condition, i.e. faded and possibly become slippery when wet in the case of decking. After you get the deck cleaned & allowed to dry out fully you should oil / stain it properly with a good quality decking oil.
We offer Textrol, a highest quality, deep penetrating, non-peel decking stain / decking oil / wood oil which is available in Clear /colour of water, Golden Oak, a bit darker – lovely on Cedar and mid tone woods and Rustic Oak, darker again.
For hardwoods like Balau, Ipe etc, consider another product called Deks Olje D1 to feed the wood.
Note: If there is varnish or paint etc on exterior wood, it requires a different approach. Ask us.
Note: Danish Oil is a generic name given to wood oil. Textrol is a superb oil for any exterior wood such as garden tables, chairs and of course decking, spindles etc.