Dear PoPville – Deck Cleaning and Sealing

Photo by PoPville flickr user Tyrannous

“Dear PoPville,

We are looking to have our deck cleaned and sealed and wanted to see if anyone has recommendations. We would also love to be able to do a semiprivate three-sided fence for a typical rowhouse backyard but the costs for this seem crazy. If we’re going to bite the bullet, I would love to hear any recommendations Popville might have.”

11 Comment

  • I admit, I haven’t done this myself. But, I think you can do it yourself with a powerwasher (~$100) and sealer applied with one of those pump bottle sprayers you can buy for ~$20 at garden stores (for spraying weed killer, etc.). It’s on my to do list.

  • yup. pressure washer rental is the way to go, make sure you get at LEAST 2500psi (3500 is much better), and let it dry completely before applying sealant with a sprayer (or roller). Please consider patronizing your local hardware store instead of home depot.

    same goes for the fence. for half the price of having it done you can do it yourself. go with pressure treated wood from a wholesaler (NOT HOME DEPOT)…I used 1x6s to build a 20 ft fence ~7ft high for about $350. Use decking screws for fasteners, and be sure to get a permit from DCRA in advance. otherwise you stand a good chance of having to pay a fine and tear the whole thing down. if there’s any semblance of an existing fence its MUCH easier to get a ‘replacement in kind’ permit than a brand-new-fence permit.

  • How important is to clean it before sealing it? We built our deck 2 years ago with preassure treated wood. I was going to apply sealing and also a little bit of a light brown color to make it look nicer and protect it. Do I need to water preassure it before I do this? I’m not sure I feel confident using a water preassure.

  • notlawd

    Would the pressure washer remove old paint, or do I have to do some kind of stripping process first? My deck was poorly painted when we purchased the house a year ago and its almost all but peeled off.

  • We actually just got quotes from Dila Construction to stain our porch and fences which were built about 3 years ago with pressure treated wood, but never stained or painted. The quote came back at more than $2,000. They told us they’d do a light sanding if needed but basically I think they use a wood wash and brush to prep. (I have heard not to use power-wash because you basically force everything into the wood and it takes that much longer to dry.)

    Because the quote seems so high we are thinking of doing it ourselves. The question is when to do it when you work full time, have a baby and are confined to doing it on the weekends when the weather has to cooperate?

    • Oh, and we have an upper and lower deck (width of house) and a completely fenced in back yard that is about 30 feet long. The work would inlcude staining both sides of the fence (our yard and neighbors’ side).

      If any of you handy people want to do it for less, let me know. 😉

      • You could always get 1 or 2 more quotes, but $2000 sounds pretty reasonable for that amount of work…I’m sure you buy all the materials and get a handy man to do it for less though…

      • Its amazing how cheap people are with their house, their biggest investment…yeah get an unlicensed, non-citizen or neighborhood drunk to work on your most valuable asset…great advice. Grow up…adults hire competent licensed american citizens because it makes sense!

  • Interesting point about the pressure washer driving water in. Probably want to do it in summer or as soon as you can count on a couple of warm dry days. I bought a cheap one and have found it easy to use to clean/paint fence. Washed and waited a day. After seeing how much dirt comes off, I can’t imagine just sealing or painting over it.

  • Go to HD – buy a cleaning product, and an oil, with or without color, a deck brush, and an applicator (that can use the same handle as the brush). Scrub the deck with the cleaner. Rinse with water. Let dry for for two days. Apply treatment. Check for temp and no rain. Follow directions on labels for application and disposal. I did it myself.

  • Thanks for the helpful thoughts here. We looked into doing it ourselves and I’m sure we could tackle with the right amount of dry weekend(s) and tools. It just seems like a daunting task and it seems we are note alone. DC Contractor is right about investing in your house, but it’s not cool to say things like he/she did. Most people on this site are first time homeowners and paid dearly to get in. If someone is looking out for his/her neighbor, let them. No need to make a statements like that. Geesh. Thanks PoP for posting.

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