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Q&A with Handy Mac: How to clean a pine deck

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Michael needs advice on his wooden deck:

 Q: I have a CCA-treated (copper, chrome and arsenate) pine deck that is going a bit grey in places, and I feel now is the time to clean and reseal it before the winter rains. What do you recommend as a cleaning agent? I have cleaned it twice in the three years since it was installed using soapy water and a stiff-bristled broom. I have looked at the Builders Pride Spirit of Salt. What do you think of that product?

A: A quick check on the internet shows this product should be used on slasto, concrete and cement floors, paving and brick-work. This means it may not be a product to use on timber. It also depends on what type of stain you used on the deck.

Most manufacturers will recommend a product for stripping their coatings. Your previous method is the one that comes up first on Google: “Create a deck cleaning solution by mixing ¼ cup liquid dish soap with 4.5 litres of water. Use a stiff-bristled brush broom to scrub the deck. After you have thoroughly cleaned the stained deck, rinse it clean with the hose.”

I think the term “rinse” is important, as YouTube videos show the damage that can be caused by using a high-pressure cleaner with the pressure set too high.

If there are stubborn bits of dirt left, use a scraper and sand the whole deck lightly before applying your new sealer. I prefer to dry sand to remove old stains. I have a thing about water and pine. However, if you are near the sea you obviously do need to get rid of salt build-up.

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