Everything You Need To
Know About Deck Cleaning

As a deck owner, knowing how to clean it is an essential skill. It makes a world of difference, boosting the look and overall enjoyment of the space over time. With these five basic steps, you can create an outdoor space that you’re truly proud of—giving you more opportunities to host guests or enjoy the deck for yourself.

Deck&FencePro are trusted in the field of deck maintenance and restoration, and are here to assist you with that. Below, we share a few tricks of our trade, as well as explaining when to call in the professionals.

How to Clean Your Deck

To clean a wood deck, we recommend that you: remove excess surroundings and debris, prepare a solution, scrub the deck, rinse, and finally, restore the deck layout with plants, furniture and decoration. The below steps can be used to treat all deck types.

Step 1: Remove Debris, Plants, and Furniture

This step is about clearing the deck surface and eliminating layers of built up dirt. Here are a few tips to follow:

  1. Move deck furniture or plants elsewhere. If the space under your deck is in use, similarly remove items to prevent chemical damage.
  2. Sweep debris away with a soft bristle brush – or a strong bristle brush with water if you are dealing with stubborn debris.
  3. Purchase pot-plant feet (or saucers) to keep plants from touching the wooden surface of the deck.

For maintenance, it’s best to sweep for leaves and dirt about once a week –  this will prevent further moss and lichen growth.

Step 2: Prepare Your Solution

Safety glasses, gloves and a mask are recommended for this step as it may involve handling chemicals.

Solutions to Avoid
We advise against the use of bleach of any kind, especially on sensitive woods such as cedar and redwood. Using bleach on wood that has been treated will leave it with a white-washed appearance and a damaged, fuzzy-looking finish. Bleach can also corrode metal screws and nails on the deck.

If you’re considering using bleach however, speak to an experienced professional. This will mitigate the risk of staining or damaging the wood.

Solutions to Use
For all types of decks, a simple detergent and a bucket of warm water will be enough to remove any bird droppings and easy-to-remove stains. For removal of moss or mildew, a 30-second slow release product is your best option—short of a professional restoration process. For more stubborn marks, deck cleaning is best left to the professionals.

Step 3: Scrub the Deck

To scrub the deck, use a long handled brush and follow the method below:

  1. Wet the entire surface with a hose so the cleaning solution stays wet for longer.
  2. Dip brush into the cleaning solution.
  3. Scrub the surface area of your deck.
  4. Apply evenly to avoid spotting. With vertical wood cladding, work from the bottom up to prevent streaking.
  5. Leave the cleaning solution on the deck for 10-20 minutes. Any longer than 20 minutes will not be good for the wood.

Step 4: Rinse With a Hose

Once your deck is dry and you have waited for up to 20 minutes, grab the hose and wash the mixture out thoroughly. Leave the deck to dry.

Step 5: Replace Deck Furniture and Plants

Once the deck is completely dry, move your furniture and plants back onto the deck. Now, you can relax and enjoy your newly cleaned deck!

Best Tools for Deck Cleaning

If you’re wondering what the best tools are for a clean deck, there’s a chance you won’t have to look any further than your humble garden shed. You will need: 

  • Broom or brush: bristle-strength is dependent on your type of deck. Long handled ones are recommended so that you don’t have to crouch, but you may want to use a smaller brush to get in between corners and crevices.
  • Large bucket or container: for the cleaning mixture.
  • Cleaning solution.

If you don’t have the right tools, you may benefit from calling in the professionals at Deck&FencePro. Our services come with everything you need, so you won’t have to worry about buying tools of your own.

No Pressure Washer? No Problem.

If you haven’t got a pressure washer, you can wash the cleaning solution off with a stiff broom. In fact, this is a much better alternative as a pressure washer can damage your deck—and is generally not recommended. For more concentrated areas, use a smaller brush with thick bristles. A garden hose is also a suitable substitute, though we’d recommend you use the broom as well if you’ve chosen this method.

See our other Deck&FencePro services?

Professional Deck Cleaning with
The Pro Group - Deck&FencePro

If the process of cleaning your deck is too much for you, or a full restoration is required, call in the friendly specialists at Deck&FencePro. We are experienced in all aspects of deck maintenance: including cleaning and restoration. Tap into our years of experience with homes across New Zealand, and enlist the services of Deck&FencePro today.

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  • Can you apply oil stain to a deck that has been previously painted (or stained with waterbased stain)?

    In order to answer this it is important to understand the differences between paint, waterbased stain, and oil stain. Paint and waterbased stains are effectively the same thing - topical coatings that seal the surface of the timber. Waterbased stains are just thinned down acrylic paint that allow the grain of the timber to show through but they block up the pores of the timber the same as paint. Oil stain is a penetrating product that needs to soak into the surface of the timber to provide nourishment.

    It is not possible to apply oil stain over paint (or water based stain) unless all of the exiting coating is fully removed. This is because the oil will not be able to penetrate through the coating. The only way to remove the paint or waterbased stain is to use paint stripper (or mechanical sanding if the deck allows that). Both of these processes are time consuming and expensive, and may not remove all of the existing coating.

    The result of this is that the new oil stain may be patchy, and may not last as long as on bare timber. Our recommendation is usually to recoat the deck with the same product that was previously applied. In the case of water based stain, this can also result in a patchy finish as the fully stripped timber will soak up more product than those areas that still have some residual product on it.

    We can only do our best in this situation. The only other option is to replace the deck boards with new.

  • Should I stain or paint my new deck?

    We strongly recommend avoiding painting your deck. Decks are subjected to very harsh conditions, from intense sun in the summer, to long period of standing water in the winter. And they are constantly being abraded by foot traffic, furniture being dragged across the surface, etc. There are no paints that will withstand this treatment, and painted decks deteriorate very quickly.

    Another consideration is that once painted, you cannot change to stain down the track. There is no practical way to remove the paint well enough to allow an oil stain to penetrate the timber. When we come across painted decks for restoration, our only option is to clean and repaint, and advise the homeowner that this process will need to be repeated quite regularly.

    You must however protect your deck from the elements, and the best product for that is a good quality linseed oil based stain that has UV protection in it. If you do not do this the timber will turn grey within 6 months, and mould will start to take hold.


  • Can I stain or paint my new deck straight away?

    New outdoor timber generally has a high moisture content, so it is recommend not to coat it with stain or paint for a few months to allow it to dry out. If it is coated too early the product may not penetrate or bond very well. Typically we say leave it 3-6 months.

  • Why has my cedar garage door gone black?

    Cedar is a very soft and porous timber and is susceptible to mould and mildew. We usually see the lower half of the door turn darker in colour due to exposure to the elements. Our restoration process strips away the damaged layer so that the timber is even over the entire door, and our linseed oil stain protects the timber from future damage. An annual recoat of stain will keep the door as new for ever.

  • Are your specialists qualified?

    Great question.

    Most of the services The ProGroup offer require no formal qualifications, but every franchisee goes through full training in the services they provide. Ongoing experience and a fantastic support network within the group mean that each of our team are true specialists at what they do.

    Some of our team also offer services outside of the core ProGroup range, and some of them do require certification or specialist qualifications. In that situation they will have the relevant recognised quals. For example we have LBP builders, plumbers, stonemasons, and gasfitters within the team.

  • What are your payment terms?

    These vary depending on the service.

    Typically lower value work requires full payment on completion. Product heavy work may require a deposit at time of quote acceptance, while longer term projects may require an initial deposit and progress payments along the way.

    The terms of your particular situation will be discussed at time of the quote so there will be no hidden surprises.

  • Who will come and do the work?

    Our specialists are all independently owned franchisees who live in your local community. Most are sole operators, who will quote the job and do the work themselves, while others may have an employee or two to help with the workload. Either way, everyone is well trained in the services they offer.

    You can expect prompt, courteous, knowledgeable trades people to help with your enquiries. And all live and work within your local area.

  • What timber should I build my new deck with?

    This really come down to your budget.

    Pine is by far the cheapest and most common option and is treated against rotting. It can be stained to look like kwila or another shade of your choice.

    Hardwoods such as Kwila, Garapa, and Vitex are not treated and will deteriorate quickly if they are not protected by some sort of preservative.

    All timbers will turn grey within about 6 month if they are not regularly treated with a UV resistance product.

    Composite decking has become more prevalent which uses compressed timber fibres and synthetic resins. These are usually made in specific colours and should not fade or deteriorate for many years - making them as close to maintenance free as possible.

  • Do you offer finance terms for your services?

    Yes - we offer a “Buy Now, Pay Later” option through our partners at Latitude Financial (Gem Visa). We offer interest free payment terms of 6 or 12 months (some fees, terms and conditions apply).

  • Should I use oil or water-based deck stains?

    Water based deck stain is effectively very thin acrylic paint, so thin you can see though it. The problem with it is that it clogs up the pores of the timber making it extremely difficult to maintain because the old residue is virtually impossible to remove. We use superior quality oil based wood stain that nourishes the timber and can be recoated time and time again.

  • Why does my Kwila deck have splinters?

    Hardwoods such as Kwila come from tropical climates that have a lot of moisture in the air that makes the timber less likely to dry out and splinter. New Zealand’s harsh climate and intense sun quickly dries out the timber causing it to splinter, and Kwila is the most susceptible to this.

    We recommend maintaining new Kwila decks by an annual application of linseed oil stain that will nourish the timber and stop it drying out.

    There is very little that can be done to fix Kwila that has already dried out and splintered, short of replacing the boards. Because of this, Kwila is becoming less popular as a decking timber with other hardwoods such as Vitex and Garapa becoming more popular.

  • Do you use a waterblaster to pre-clean the timber?

    We use a specialist eco-friendly solution to loosen dirt, contaminants, and dead timber cells followed by a controlled pressure wash to sluice this residue away. Our team are very skilled at this process.

    Over the years we have seen many DIY deck cleans, where the homeowner has used a waterblaster on its own without any specialist cleaning solution, and with poor technique. The result can vary from stop/start marks in the timber that cannot be removed, to chunks of timber being blasted away.

    There are products available that claim you simply apply them and then brush the deck clean. We know that there is a lot of elbow grease required, and many of our customers come to use having given up on these products. Like most things in life, there is no easy way to get a professional result.

  • How do I maintain my restored deck, fence, door, or furniture?

    A wood stain generally requires a top up coat every 12-18 months to replenish the nourishing oils and UV blockers. We can arrange an on-going maintenance schedule with you following the restoration process that will include a light clean followed by a recoat of the wood stain. In between scheduled maintenance, a mild detergent is all that is needed to remove any bird droppings or spills, and a spray with a moss and lichen inhibitor during winter can also help. It is important to not use harsh deck cleaning agents that may remove the oils contained in the stain. Painted surfaces generally last longer than stained ones but are more susceptible to abrasion.

Book a quote now

For any enquiries regarding your outdoor living spaces, or to request a quote, please enter your details and your local Deck&FencePro franchisee will be in touch to arrange an appointment as soon as possible.

If you prefer not to give a full address at this stage feel free to book a quote by phone at the free phone number below.

0508 422 532

Note that The ProGroup has strict operational processes in place with regards to Covid 19 and the relevant alert levels.

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