According to a recent article by Steve Ferris, a local writer for, all outdoor decks should be cleaned every spring and wood decks should be refinished quite regularly in order for them to last as long as possible. Depending how long you have been self-educating on do-it-yourself projects you have probably read conflicting opinions and ideas on how to properly treat your deck, porch and fences. Should you clean them every year? Should you sand and stain them every year? When do you seal wood decks and fences? When should you do-it-yourself and when should you hire a professional?

The answer to all of these questions… it depends. Pat Ballon, owner of Brownsville Do It Best Hardware in Redstone Township, in Fayette County, Pennsylvania believes all decks should be cleaned and pressure washed regardless of whether it is made of wood, composite or vinyl. The term Spring Cleaning is around for a reason and it does not apply to just the inside of your home. Late March and early April is a great time to wash your deck and knock off any loose pieces that may be flaking or chipping from the harsh Winter. 

Pressure washing your deck will also remove any mold or mildew that has survived the ten plus snow storms Pennsylvania residents lived through this year. If you want to learn additional Spring Cleaning powerwashign tips, check our previous articles. One thing to keep in mind is that wood deck cleaning detergents like trisodium phosphate helps not only remove dirt, algae and mold but helps keep them from returning longer than household bleach. After pressure washing and sanding the wood you should wait at least one day before applying stain or sealant. 

Stains and sealants will help wood avoid water penetration. Unfortunately, many homeowners will use the less expensive brands, which may only last one or two years before another coat needs to be applied. A higher quality sealant will often last three to five years. One last piece of advice, NEVER use paint on a deck. Paint is not made to penetrate or seal wood, nor withstand foot traffic.

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