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Spring Deck Prep Tips To Clean,
Restore and Protect Your Deck

Our appreciation to Wolman Wood Care Products for providing this article (with slight editing)

It's finally spring! Time to move out the patio furniture and get ready to enjoy the great outdoors.

But, before you do, make sure you clean, restore and protect your deck so you can get the most out of it during the spring and summer months ahead. Here are some deck prep tips from the experts at Wolman Wood Care Products:

Use a commercial deck cleaner for the best results and the least effort...

Clean the deck thoroughly to remove embedded dirt, fungus stains and gray surface wood with a formulated deck cleaner like Wolman Deck & Fence Brightener. The weathered gray wood left behind from last year's sun exposure, black or green stains from mildew, moss and algae, or brown-black tannin bleed common on new Cedar can ruin the look of your deck. Even newly built decks can require cleaning to remove invisible surface barriers like mill glaze on new Cedar or excess wax on pressure-treated wood. These invisible barriers can prevent the adhesion of protective coatings, including colored stains and clear sealers. Wolman Deck & Fence Brightener, removes surface barriers, gray wood surfaces and even the toughest of stains and restores the wood to its natural beauty without bleaching or yellowing, like chlorine bleach can.

Remove badly deteriorating finish for the best appearance of your new finish!

Strip any deteriorating or unwanted finish. If the colored stain on your deck has seen better days... or if you want a different look... now is the time to strip your deck's finish. Products like Wolman DeckStrip Stain & Finish Remover remove both oil and latex solid or semi-transparent stains and clear finishes and prepares the wood for the reapplication of protective finishes and stains. Deckstrip works fast, and can strip years of multiple coatings buildup in 15 minutes.

After thorough cleaning, seal the deck with a water repellent finish with a mildewcide...

Once the wood is restored and your deck is rid of any surface barriers or unwanted finishes, it should be sealed with a protective water repellent finish. You may want to apply a semi-transparent stain to enhance your deck's appeal, or a transparent finish to let the natural wood color and texture show through. But, even if you are undecided on whether or not to stain – or on the deck color – it's important, at minimum, to protect it with a clear water repellent. Water repellents stop spring showers from penetrating the wood surface, which can cause swelling, shrinking, warping and cracking. Many water repellents, including products like Wolman RainCoat, also contain a mildewcide that will impede the growth of mildew on your deck during the warm months ahead. Look for products like Wolman RainCoat, that offer a guarantee on water-repellent longevity, as they will provide longer lasting protection so you won't have to apply a new coat every year. 

(Note from NH:  If you use a finish without a mildewcide or want increased protection, you can add additional mildewcide!  Ask your paint supplier to mix a package of compatible mildewcide into your paint or stain.  It's better to have them mix it with their paint shaker rather than doing it yourself.  You'll never get as thorough mixing by hand!)

For more information on Wolman wood cleaners, strippers and water repellent finishes as well as more helpful deck care tips, visit the Wolman web site!

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