Keeping your decking clean is an important step to maximizing its overall use and value. When your deck gets dirty or mouldy, it will become slippery. A slippery deck is particularly dangerous, as you could potentially fall and injure yourself.
Although commonly mistaken, wood decks tend to only get slippery when there is a lack of maintenance. Below, you will learn why your deck may get slippery, what products you should use to clean your deck, and the steps that you should take to clean slippery decking.
Why Does Decking Become Slippery?
Wood decking, as well as composite decking, will only become slippery when the presence of algae, moss, or mould exists. When it rains as well, the surface of your deck will become treacherous for anyone who steps foot on it.
When it all boils down to it, the reason your decking becomes slippery is that it has not been properly maintained. The location of the deck can play a considerable role as well. For instance, if your deck isn’t built in an area where it gets a lot of sunlight, then it won’t completely dry during rainy parts of the year. This, unfortunately, increase the risk of algae and mould growth.
For this reason, your deck needs to receive plenty of sunlight. In addition, it needs to be maintained regularly, which means removing dead leaves, keeping debris off of the deck, as well as annual maintenance. Annual maintenance will include a deep clean, as well as re-staining or re-oiling of the decking.
What Should You Clean Your Decking With?
When it comes to cleaning your decking, what should you use? Just water? Water and soap? A special deck cleaning solution?
You can opt to use soapy water to clean the surface of your deck. However, in certain instances, you may require something a little stronger. For example, if mold has grown on the deck, soapy water is not going to cut it. Instead, you will need to invest in a quality decking cleaner that can either be brushed or sprayed onto the deck.
Step-by-Step to Cleaning Your Slippery Decking
Let’s take a closer look at the steps you should take when cleaning your slippery decking.
Step #1: Clear Away Debris and Protect Belongings
First things first, you must clear the surface of the deck. Sweep off twigs, leaves, etc., and remove any furniture, planters, pots, and other décor from the deck so it doesn’t get in the way. If there is grass or plants nearby that cannot be moved, make sure to cover them before starting to clean.
For a little bit deeper scrubbing in the beginning, you can use a stiff broom to remove debris.
This will not only get rid of any accumulated debris on the deck, but it will also serve as a great start to the removal of any mould and moss that may be growing on the deck. For decks with grooves, make sure to brush in the same direction as the grooves.
Step #2: Use Soapy Water to Wash the Deck
Grab a bucket, fill it with water, and add some dish soap. This dish soap solution can be applied to the surface of the deck. When used with a stiff scrubbing brush, the soapy water will clean your deck thoroughly. Make sure to rinse your deck with clean water.
If you prefer more of a natural cleaning solution, consider filling a bucket with equal amounts of water and distilled white vinegar. Once mixed together you can add a few tablespoons of baking soda.
Keep in mind that if vinegar is not diluted before being applied to the deck or if it is used too frequently, it can damage the decking. Otherwise, vinegar is completely safe and serves as a great deck cleaning solution for tough stains since vinegar is more acidic. Make sure to rinse the decking thoroughly with clean water.
Step #3: Apply a Deck Cleaner for Hard-to-Remove Stains and Mould
Now, soapy water generally won’t suffice if your deck has already started to grow mould, moss, algae, etc. on it. A quality decking cleaner will be needed to remove any stains left behind by this type of bacteria.
Depending on the product used, the cleaner can be brushed or sprayed onto the deck. Usually, it needs to be left on the deck for several hours (possibly longer). With that being said, you will want to ensure the weather forecast is dry and sunny for a couple of days.
In addition, pay attention to whether the cleaner needs to be rinsed off or if it can be left on the deck after application.
Step #4: Use a Pressure Washer
If you are still having problems getting the results you would like with your deck, you will want to use a pressure washer. These can be rented from the local hardware store if you don’t currently have one.
Make sure to keep the pressure washer on a low setting to ensure you don’t damage the decking. Keep the nozzle at least two feet from the deck to begin. You can move closer as necessary, but don’t get any closer than six inches, as the pressure could cause damage.
In addition, move the pressure washer along the natural grains of the wood and work on the deck one section at a time.
Step #5: Re-stain or Re-oil the Decking
If your decking needs to be re-stained or re-oiled, you will need to ensure the deck dries completely before applying the oil or stain.
If you try to do this before the wood has completely dried, the water within the wood pores will attempt to keep the oil and stain from penetrating the wood.
Hopefully, the information above will help you keep your deck clean and non-slippery. By keeping your deck clean with the aforementioned steps, you can confidently walk across your deck—even when it is wet!
If you’re having any issues with your deck being too slippery, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here for advice.