At this point in summer, your deck has seen some action and it probably has the wear to show for it–stains from a dripping grill, a capsized Cabernet, or a family of birds nesting overhead. But with surprisingly little work you can clean up the deck next weekend and give it a fresh look that will last long past Labor Day.
In the past several years, many homeowners making serious investments in their decks have gone with composite decking. Composite materials for decking have been around for a long time but continue to grow in popularity. The original versions were made up of a mixture of wood pulp and plastic resins. Today, they’re also made of plastic, PVC, and even recycled materials. These products are not maintenance-free nearly all of them age in time, lose their nice new look and have to be refreshed. The original composite materials can weather badly and even warp. The good news is they can all be cleaned and brightened with Benjamin Moore’s Composite Deck Cleaner (313), a biodegradable cleaner that can remove stains caused by mold, mildew, grease, and oil.
For best results, project surfaces must be dry before application. Before starting, protect adjacent surfaces: Pre-wet and/or cover vegetation, remove or cover surrounding lawn furniture, landscape ornaments, and metal objects such as fixtures, aluminum doors, and window frames, which the cleaning solution could tarnish.
The solution comes as a concentrate–for a first-time cleaning, mix 2 to 2.5 cups of cleaner per gallon of warm water in a plastic (not metal) bucket, and for general maintenance, use 1 to 1.5 cups of the product per gallon of water. Apply the mixture to the deck with a plastic garden sprayer or brush. Allow mixture to sit for up to 15 minute making sure it does not dry. Scrub with a stiff brush, rinse well and allow to dry.
If your deck still looks worn or faded after cleaning, or if you just want to change the color, you can apply 1 or 2 coats of Benjamin Moore’s Arborcoat® Solid Stain which is available in unlimited color options.
With both cleaner and stain, a warm, dry summer’s day is the perfect time to break out the brushes. The cleaner works best on a dry substrate with the weather above 50 degrees F, and the stain achieves optimal performance on a clean, dry surface on days above 40 degrees. (Neither can be applied when temperatures exceed 90 degrees.) Decks usually earn their stains during fun times outdoors–but it doesn’t take much to refresh them so you can get back to the business of getting them dirty again.