Has your wooden deck lost its fresh, new look? To keep decks made from pressure-treated wood-the most common decking material-looking their best, try these tips from Huck DeVenzio of Arch Wood Protection in Smyma, Georgia:
• Scrub the deck well with a brush and mild detergent. Rinse thoroughly. If the wood has weathered, restore the look with a commercial deck-cleaning product from your hardware store or home center. Common brands include Thompson's, Dekswood, and Wolman.
• To prevent wood from fading or cracking, DeVenzio suggests applying a good water-repellent every year or so. (Depending on exposure to sunlight, rain, and foot traffic, you may need to apply more frequently.)
• If you don't care for the greenish tinge of some pressure-treated wood, try a semi-transparent stain. Look for all-in-one products that contain a UV-blocker (to help prevent fading), a water repellent, and a fungicide. Brands include Behr, Cabot, Flood, Olympic, and Thompson's. (Many of these companies also make water-repellent treatments.)
To treat mildew on wood, use a commercial fungicide or try this mixture from the USDA's Forest Products Lab (FPL) in Madison, Wisconsin:
(Makes about one gallon)
• 1/3 cup household detergent
• 1 quart liquid household bleach
• 3 quarts warm water
Wearing waterproof gloves, mix and brush well onto wood. Rinse and let dry. Caution: DO NOT use a detergent containing ammonia, which reacts with chlorine bleach to form a poisonous gas. Remove plants from the area before applying.