How to Clean Deck Details
Erasing the dirt, grime and unwanted oils that are gathered across the wood surfaces is
simpler on some decks than on others. Although this depends on deck design, much
can be applied to all.
The upright balusters, or 'spindles', and especially the thin ones, can be wrapped by a flexible scouring pad.
This can work on situations with 2" by 2"'s as well as the thinner 1" by 2"'s.
Working the pad in-hand will clean the surface areas of the uprights themselves and the bendable flex comes
in handy to apply added pressure to any surface irregularities. Two sides at a time can be cleaned. Too, the thin
pads are easily slid in-between or clear of any non-deck surface, such as house walls. This technique can save on time but
be cautious of splinters with your grasping hand - it might be wise to give each section a quick scan before doing this.
If added pressure is needed, opt for a nail scrubbing brush. The broader, standard nylon version of brush
offers greater rigidity for handling multiple rail surfaces at a time, but the bristles
won't reach the finer pores (as the natural brush). Also, reconsider whether to use the tougher nylon
on select softer species of wood like pine and especially wider grain pines.
By sawing the ends off of a wood handled nail brush, nearer to the bristle-ferrules,
it then becomes able to reach tighter spots and angles.
The rail cap also can be scoured with a pad or else scrubbed with a brush. But surfaces
such as inside corners, like at rail cap undersides, are best detailed with the pad-edges.
The stiffness of a reduced nylon brush size does come in handy in confined spots, like upper balusters. The standard brushes are optimal on boards having open surfaces.
For cleaning two square baluster faces, work the standard nylon brush horizontally if they are in straight alignment to go double.
If the balusters are cased in shoe boards, this presents a special challenge with the inner vestibule and the rigid stripping pad
can be slid right within it (upper and lower).
Another option is to wrap a flexible scour pad around a 1 1/2" putty knife and work it, that is if you can manage to keep it wrapped.
Lower casings are hit with a vigorous brush scrubbing, including the baluster end-cuts.
Utilizing pads, in combination with the help of a pointy dryer vent brush, entering from both top and bottom ends, will finish off
these vestibules where even power washers cannot reach. By working the brush scrubber head side-to-side it is possible
clean with the direction of the grain pattern.
The slat floor is best done with a handled deck brush while exerting standing force, working in a continuous,
overlapping pattern. The slats are soon covered but should be gone over repeatedly to remove grime and inground particles
from foot traffic. Tilt the brush head into the wider plank gap edges (a contorting force on the strands).
Clean the inner base posts with a small scrub brush.
As a rule and with few exceptions, after the cleaning is thought to be complete, run fresh water over the entire wood decking
and with this "wet look" locate areas in need of attention.