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Cleaning and Protecting Decks in Northern Virginia

January 22, 2015

Decks in Northern Virginia are exposed to the elements around the clock. Ultraviolet rays affect chemical molecules. Wind is the engine of motion and friction. Oxygen accelerates the deterioration processes, while water, heat, and ice work to destroy wood, sealers, and preservatives. All of natures forces work on your deck in Northern Virginia every minute of every day. This is why it is important to take regular cleaning and protecting measures.

This is why regular cleaning and maintenance are so vital to the look, safety and longevity of your deck. Everyone understands its a hassle, but we also know the value of a couple more years of safely enjoying your deck.

When you clean your deck, we recommend you bypass power washing. The extreme force and concentrated pressure of water can act like a tropical storm, eroding weaker, distressed wood already in your deck. Why risk unnecessary deck damage? Using oxygenated bleach to clean your deck gives you better results and protects the integrity of your deck.

Once your Northern Virginia deck is clean and dry, its time to seal and protect the wood. Tim Carter writes the popular Ask The Builder feature for the Chicago Tribune. He did an extensive year-long test of wood sealers with wood species most commonly used when building a deck. He was surprised at the wide disparity of performance between both products and woods. His results confirm its best to consult with a professional before selecting the wrong product for your wood deck.

There are three types of sealants used on exterior wood decks according to Tom Silva of This Old House: water repellent, wood preservative, and a product that combines the two.

A water repellent is a wood finish that penetrates the wood with oils or waxes to prevent the wood from absorbing liquid and swelling your deck. Water repellent prevents unwanted growth of molds and other pests that discolor and degrade wood. A water repellent treatment can increase wood stability and reduce cracking, splitting and warping. It requires reapplication to bare wood every year or two.

Wood preservatives contain pesticides, so their use is legally regulated by the EPA. A wood preservative kills fungi and insects that damage wood decks. Handle and dispose of wood preservative products carefully, following all label instructions.

Water-repellent wood preservatives should be applied to all sides of a piece of wood before painting or staining. These products provide long-term protection against wood decay. Reapplication is needed only after the exterior coating fails.

Proper cleaning and protection makes for savings and prolongs safe enjoyment of decks in Northern Virginia.