In cleaning your deck, it is important to remove the old deck sealer first with a deck stripper. If you don’t strip off the old sealer, it may interfere with the new sealer’s soaking properties. Surface preparation is also important in cleaning your deck and removing a deck sealer.
Step 1 – Do the “Splash Test”
If you are not sure if a deck sealer was applied before, sprinkle a little water to the deck’s dry surface. You can use your fingertips in doing this test. Little droplets that form in the wood’s surface mean that a sealer was applied into the deck a few years ago.
Step 2 – Cover the Adjoining Surfaces
You need to shield these adjoining surfaces with clear plastic sheets to prevent contact with the detergent and deck sealer remover.
Step 3 – Remove the Debris
You may need to sand splintered areas with sandpaper. Clean between cracks and remove debris using a vacuum cleaner or broom.
Step 4 – Rinse the Surface
Use the pressure washer to rinse the deck surface with the sealer that you want to scrub off. Do not hold the nozzle too close to the wood nor hold it in one spot for too long. Sweep it off in rinsing motion and hold it 8 inches away from the surface. Doing a “golf swing” motion in washing will help you prevent unsightly marks in the deck’s surface.
Step 5 – Use the Cleansing Solution
You can use 1 part of bleaching solution mixed with 5 parts warm water. A paint roller, push broom or garden sprayer can be used as an applicator. Always keep the deck wet with the cleansing solution. A stiff broom or brush can be used to scrub tough areas.
Step 6 - Allow the Cleanser to Soak the Wood’s Surface
Average soaking time is from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the cleanser used. Afterward, rinse thoroughly with water using the “golf swing” motion again.
Step 7 – Apply the Deck Sealer Remover
After rinsing off the entire surface, apply the deck sealer remover. The remover should neutralize the wood’s pH and brighten the surface. You can leave the remover to dry on the surface without rinsing. You can apply the remover by using an airless paint sprayer, paint pad or through a low nap roller.
Do not apply the remover in enclosed locations or if you are under very large roof covered areas. The best time to apply is when the temperature ranges from 65 to 105 degrees F. Do not apply if rain is forecasted within 2 days of application. If you wish to apply another layer of new deck sealer, allow the remover to dry off at least 2 days from application of deck sealer remover.