You want your house to look nice, and you want your yard to match the house. The custom deck you added should work with both. So, if the pristine and clean condition of your home makes the town jealous and your green, perfectly manicured yard is the envy of the neighborhood, how do you keep the porch the same?
One very important way to make sure it matches in cleanliness is by getting rid of the mold, mildew and moss that can grow so easily on those wood boards.
But first, you should know what causes this growth. Mold needs several components to grow and flourish: moisture, debris and shade.
Mold and mildew need water to form. To be specific, they need nutrient-rich water to grow. So, if water is just sitting on your deck without any drainage whatsoever, you need to fix that. This can be caused by the gaps between boards being plugged by gunk like mud, leaves or pine needles. If there’s standing water on your deck, make sure the drainage works and it dries easily.
If debris gets on your deck a lot, whether it be from trees, dogs or kids running in from the yard, this can also cause mold to grow. Things like leaves block the sunlight from reaching the porch’s wood boards, and that lack of light will help stimulate the mold. Make sure you sweep or blow all this debris from the deck.
Along with debris, if trees cast their shade on the porch, this too will help give the mold what it needs. But you probably don’t want to cut your trees down just so the sun will help prevent fungus from taking root. If that’s the case, you’ll need to do an annual deep clean of your deck.
Just know that if you don’t clean the mold, mildew, moss or algae from your porch, it can cause structural damage or just general safety hazards like guests and family slipping or people getting sick from it.
- Cleaning solutions
If all your attempts at preventing the mold from growing have failed, then it’s time to bring out the big guns: cleaning solutions.
- Laundry detergents
This one is a simple, do-it-yourself solution with ingredients you likely already have. For each gallon of warm water, use one-third cup of laundry detergent. Put these ingredients in a bucket and clear the affected areas so they don’t have furniture or debris. Then scrub it with a scrub brush. Once all the mold is removed, rinse it.
- Powdered oxygen bleach
Mix enough warm water with enough powdered oxygen bleach to create a paste. Then use a scrub brush to apply it to the areas with mold, and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Then you have to get back to scrubbing to clear it all away. Once again, rinse it.
This is better than chlorine bleach because it’s not toxic to the plants. Just know that any bleach you use may need to be followed up by a deck brightener.
There are other combinations of cleaners that use powdered oxygen bleach too, so if this one doesn’t work, it may be worth it to look into those.
- White vinegar
Vinegar is a powerful substance that can work its way into a porous material, like wood, and kill the mold at its roots.
Mix equal parts of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. Then spray the areas you want to clean off. Follow that with a good scrubbing and then rinse your custom deck.
- Baking soda
Mix one cup of baking soda with one gallon of warm water. Then use a scrub brush to work the solution into the moldy areas of your porch. Then, as usual, rinse it away.
- Trisodium phosphate
Finally, trisodium phosphate can be used to get rid of that unwanted deck guest. You should make sure to cover or remove any nearby plants to avoid harming them.
While wearing gloves, mix one gallon of warm water with one cup of trisodium phosphate, then scrub the porch. Be sure to rinse it thoroughly afterward.
- Pressure washer
Often, you may need to use a pressure washer with a cleaning agent that will kill the mold and/or lift it out of the wood. The power will then help push all the mold and mildew off. You just need to be careful about which settings you use, because using one that’s too strong could damage the wood. A good pressure is between 800 and 1,000 psi, with 40 to 60-degree nozzles. After getting everything off, make sure you let it dry properly, or else your wash may be in vain.
Not only are mold, mildew, moss and algae dangerous, they’re unsightly and can ruin a perfectly good deck. Need more information on keeping your deck clean—or building a new deck? Contact our Denver residential deck builders. We’re here to help you create the yard you’ve been dreaming of.