Old Weathered Decks can be Restored
Wood deck restoration in Seattle is the process of bringing back the natural appearance to wooden structures such as cedar roofs, cedar decks, gazebos and patio furniture. The climate in Seattle is wet, damp and lacking in sunlight; this leads wooden decks to develop:
- Moss, Fungus and Lichen.
- Micro cracks from the stresses of constant rain and sporadic sunlight.
- Weathering: wood uses weathering to protect itself from our climate.
Although your wood deck in Seattle may look like it needs replacing, most of the time a restoration can bring it back to life. The process of wood restoration is accomplished using certain tools and chemicals and done in a certain order. The first step would be a survey of the structure to be restored.
Before starting any restoration project a survey of the structure must be done. Some common questions asked by wood restoration experts are:
- What type of wood is the deck, gazebo or roof made of?
- What type of maintenance was previously done? If the wood structure has been previously stained, a different procedure would be called for.
- Is the damage to the wooden structure on a surface level or will boards and shingles need to be replaced?
- Is the structure infected by moss and lichen or black algae? If so a treatment before cleaning must be done to rid the deck of these.
- What is most cost effective to the customer and what procedure will last the longest?
By starting with a good survey it gives both the customer and the restoration expert the opportunity to take the measured steps required in bringing back the wooden structure to its original appearance. Different types of wood require different types of cleaning procedures and chemicals. The woods condition and its current appearance will give the restoration company, a starting point on what needs to be done next.
Chemicals Used in Wood Restoration
Each chemical in the process of wood restoration carries a function. The mixtures for these chemicals can vary widely due to:
- The level of cleaning needed.
- The wood type being cleaned.
- Whether the wooden structure will be stained or has stain currently on it.
Below is a sample table with some common chemicals used in wood restoration. This is not meant as an all inclusive list but as a starting point for what is commonly used in the renovation of wood.
|Draws dirt to it gently, used as a green material.|
|Brightens and restores natural hues.|
|Removes top layers of grime, kills moss and lichen.|
|Removes paint stains and rust. Helps kill moss and lichen.|
|Brightens and remove rust stains. Sets an even tone to wood.|
WARNING! The use of these chemicals and their mixtures should only be done by an experienced wood restoration expert. Wrongly mixing chemicals such as Oxalic acid with Oxygen bleach can cause VERY serious injuries. These 2 chemicals cause a reaction that causes noxious gases and when mixed with water can even cause explosions.
There are steps to properly restoring wood. Certain chemicals are used for each step in the process; wood restoration is also done in a standard order:
Depending on what the restoration expert believes is appropriate for cleaning; the deck, gazebo or roof is usually sprayed with a mixture of oxygen bleach or a trisodium/sodium hypochlorite cocktail. This is done to lessen the amount of time it will take to power wash the structure. Power washing by the expert is done with the upmost care to limit the furring of the wood, usually at a PSI of 1000 or lower for wood structures.
The process of brightening can be accomplished with either oxalic acid or citric acid or a brightening agent of the restoration experts choosing. This process also helps to neutralize the effects of having used heavy cleaners on wood. It also helps to bring out the woods natural color and grain patterns.
3. Staining, Sealing & Weatherproof
After brightening and neutralizing your deck or roof, a sealer, stain or weatherproofing product should be applied to extend the life of the cleaning and protect the wooden structure from UV rays and rain. The product can vary by the customers or restoration experts’ opinion on the best method for the type of structure. For instance, a cedar roof would receive an oiling while a deck would receive a stain with rain and UV inhibitors.
Appearance and the customers concerns also determine the right product to use. There are many products out there today that contain algae resistant chemicals and coloring to add both protection and improved appearance to the cleaned, brightened and stained wooden deck, roof, gazebo or furniture.
Seattle is home to over 150 days of rain a year. Moss, Lichen and mold are a problem we are constantly battling to control. Decks are an inviting environment for the growth of moss and lichen, and are also victims to the effects of weathering. Proper care and maintenance of wooden structures should be done on a yearly basis. Choosing the right chemicals, tools and procedures can either enhance or ruin a deck. Whether you are considering doing-it-yourself or are seeking a professional for advice you are welcome to call us with any questions or concerns.