Decking options have grown exceptionally in the past few years. Different varieties of lumber, plastic decking and hardwood are easily available in the market. Until about two decades ago, there weren’t so many options to choose from.

But, choose what you may, the grace and beauty of wood has no replacement. That’s a fact and I think most homeowners would agree.

It looks classic and warm and lasts for many years. Therefore, in this article today, we tell you about the five most popular woods used for decks across the country.

multilevel deck wood

Cedar

Apart from the aesthetics of cedar wood, what also makes it a great option for decks is its durability against rot, mold, mildew, bugs and insects; and also against weather elements such as UV rays and rain.

cedar wood

It requires little in the name on maintenance.

It handles the changing of seasons better than other wood varieties, and does not allow moisture from the rains to dampen it. So if you happen to be living in area exposed to harsh weather conditions for several months in a year, cedar might just be the right choice for you.

Redwood

Redwood is one of the most durable varieties of wood and therefore widely used for the construction of outdoor decks and porches. Among the many advantages of using redwood, the most outstanding is its ability to resist rotting. It is highly resistant to weather, and also has natural abilities to deter pests.

Unlike other wood varieties, redwood has more capacity to hold water. It will not shrink or widen with the passage of time.

red wood

What’s also good about redwood is that it does not need any kind of staining. A good sealer is all that is required to maintain it and keep it looking good for many years to come.

In case it gets dark due to sun exposure, wash it off with Clorox and water or use a pressure hose – that is all it takes to lighten it up.

Mahogany

Another one in line mostly known for its durability, Mahogany has been credited with a hardness rating of 800, and stands up to the weather exceptionally well.

floor and railing system

The wood grain has a dense pattern and it is available in a great variety of colors. From light blond to rich dark, the color options are in plenty. The only downside of Mahogany is that it is hard to cut, and may not be suitable for DIY projects.

Ipe or Brazilian walnut

Because Ipe is a hardwood variety brought from the Brazilian rainforests, it is also known as the Brazilian walnut. The dense cell structure of this wood makes it resistant to insects, mold and decay. This natural defense eliminates the need for applying it with wood preservatives.

brazilian walnut

What is also interesting about the wood is if you like silver patina, leave Ipe out in the sun without any sealant and the color should automatically drape the deck.

Pressure Treated Pine

Pressure treated pine combines the advantages of redwood and cedar with an added benefit of being a lot cheaper than these varieties. Pine wood is readily available, but in order to make it resistant to insects and rotting, it is treated under pressure with water borne preservatives. These preservatives contain arsenic, which is the underside of pressure treated wood as arsenic is a major pollutant and harmful as well. But to avoid this, home owners can ask for micronized copper quaternary, which is a safer compound in comparison to arsenic.

pressure treated deck

Need any assistance on choosing the most suitable wood for a new deck? We are here to help you out. Just drop your queries in the comment section and expect a quick reply.

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Do you look at your backyard and wonder if you could spruce up its looks without digging a hole through your pocket? Well the good news is that there are several ways in which you may transform the patio and make it more hospitable without spending a fortune.

You just need to whip up some furnishings and play around with the décor. Here are 10 ideas we identified (these are inexpensive and comparatively easy to implement).

transform patio ideas

So there you go, read them up, and see how you may transform your patio with these ideas:

Make It Look Colorful

The right combination of colors can always draw a lot of attention. To add color to the patio, make use of rugs and cushions and contrasting shades. You can use waste material lying at home to stitch your own cushions, or assemble a patched rug. Do it artfully, and see how it changes the looks of the patio in no time, and without costing you much.

colorful patio

Hanging a Vintage Decoration Piece

If you want an instant eye catcher in the backyard, the best way is to place a statement making pieces on a prominent area of the deck. It could be a simple vintage sign or an antique bell, huge and long. It doesn’t need to be perfect, just a stunning piece brought out from the times gone by.

vintage decoration piece

Make Your Own Furniture

Do you have some salvaged pallets lying around the house? They are best waste materials for designing new furniture for your patio. Create benches or tables, if nothing else; just create a small bed. Color it or polish it the way you like. Decorate it with some colorful cushions and see the appearance and comfort of the patio changes manifold.

make your own furniture

Look For a Used Outdoor Fireplace

A fireplace can turn a cold patio into an inviting and cozy space. You may look for used fireplace on the internet, and while you do that, also look for fire bowls and big planters, all of which can make your deck look warm and rich.

outdoor fireplace

Rig Up a Table

Want to host guests in your backyard? Need a table? Pick up some sawhorses from the garage, top them with an old door slab or any other wooden slabs lying around the house. Give it a coat of polish or cover the table with a tablecloth. Place a vase of flowers, natural or artificial and you’re ready to host an evening party.

sawhorse table painted

Curtains and Furnishings

Since we’re talking about outdoor patios, it becomes important to keep in mind weather resistance of the decoration we are going to use. Old bathroom curtains or plastic table tops are best used for decorating a deck.

outdoor patio designs

Used Poufs on Sale

The internet is stomped with used poufs on sale. They can be much cheaper than new chairs and benches. Moreover, they don’t look very formal, and allow you and your guests to spend time at leisure, in the manner you want.

used poufs

If Stone Is Expensive, Go For Gravel

Stone is not only expensive but may look very formal. Now, if you use gravel over stone, not only will it cost less, but also look more interesting. And if you like beaches, further replace the gravel with oyster shells.

gravel patio outdoor

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The patio rightly represents the way a homeowner likes to enjoy his time. It can be used for various activities like sunbathing, socializing, poolside activities and for relaxing. The design of your patio should match your lifestyle and complement your personality. After all, you are going to spend lot of quality time here.

1. A Sun Deck

A swimming pool with a sundeck patio is a value add-on to any property. The basic aim of such a patio is to offer plentiful opportunities to the family members to relax by the pool. You can chill, enjoy the sun and take a dip in the family pool. A well designed deck along the sides of the pool resembles a luxury resort. Add some fancy lounge chairs to the décor to make the place look more luxurious!

a sun deck

2. A Sun Deck with a Pool with In a Pool

This is yet another popular design for homeowners who essentially want a pool next to their patio. In the design, you can incorporate a shelf for tanning, which can be ideally located at the beginning of the pool.

The length of the shelf can be determined according to your taste.

a sun deck with a pool with in a pool

3. A Patio with a Bistro

This design is popular with homeowners who have a small backyard. You can give even the smallest of spaces a makeover by using such a patio design. Just be creative and design a place for everyday enjoyment and relaxation.

a patio with a bistro

4. A Patio with a Bistro and a Swimming Pool

This one is yet another great design of a small patio with a table for bistro. You can attach the bistro to the pool area or keep it independent by designing a small pathway in between.

a patio with a bistro and a swimming pool

5. Get Yourself a Cozy Fireplace

Patio with bistros go very well with pool areas and for all kinds of spaces. But even without a pool, a patio can be made really enchanting by fixing a fireplace in it. It makes the atmosphere intimate and a great place to spend warm summer nights.

get yourself a cozy fireplace

6. Make a Garden Of Oasis

If you are not keen on getting a common patio with pool and bistro design, garden-look patio will perhaps excite you. You can make the patio area resemble a garden and make it look really green with a plenty of plants and bushes. A well planned garden patio will look most welcoming and fresh at all times.

make a garden of oasis

7. A Patio with A Natural Pool and A Waterfall Too

If you install a waterfall with a natural pool in the design of your patio, this will become the central attraction of your dwelling. It will be one place where you forget all your worries and just relax. The falling of the water, the sound of the bubble and the cascading current will spread positive energy all around.

Needless to mention, this one will cost whole lot.

a patio with a natural pool and a waterfall too

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The deck of your home creates a sense of continuity between the indoors and the outdoors. But if you want to keep it in good condition, you should know about the signs that indicate the need for repairs or replacements. You might have put in a great effort to get a deck which is waterproofed and built by the best engineers. But it is still in the outdoors, exposed to the snow, sleet, rain and other weather changes in the weather. By having a close look at the deck you will be able to find out if it needs any immediate repair or maintenance.

1. Know about the Material of the Deck

If you have a fair idea about the material of the deck, your assessment will be much more accurate.

For instance, if you have a wooden deck, it will not show the same signs of wear & tear as that of a composite deck.

When inspecting a wooden deck, look out for damage due to insects, warps on the surface. For composite decks, one thing you should look out for is faded color. If you know the properties of the material, you will be able to make a better plan for replacement and repair.

know about the material of the deck

2. Examine the Posts

Go down and have a closer look at the posts that are holding up the deck.

Dig out some dirt and if you find the post rotting or damaged, you need to plan a replacement immediately. If such problems are discovered early, it may be possible to replace just a post or two, without having to remove the complete deck.

In case you notice rotting in all posts, let us tell you that it is about time you plan to get a brand new deck built by a professional. The support structure needs to be safe and secure at all times.

examine the posts

3. Survey the Joists Closely

The joists are as important as the posts that hold up the deck. If the joints appear to be showing signs of rotting, have them inspected immediately. A simple test to check out if deck joints are in shape or not, is to drive a screwdriver through them; if there is no resistance, you should be worried. Sadly, the deck has to be dismantled to replace the joints.

survey the joists closely

4. Lean on the Railing to Check

Before you actually lean really back, ensure that the railing has not suffered any damage from water. It is on the railings that most people lean in social gatherings and hence they bear maximum load on most occasions. At the first sign of an unsteady railing, you should plan for deck repairs or railing replacement immediately.

lean on the railing to check

5. The Age of the Deck

After every five years, you should get your deck inspected by a professional. You may not be able to see the signs of decay and repair that he can. Just like people decks ages too and need to be given a boost of life with repair and maintenance.

Bryan Miller shares some useful information on warning signs your deck needs repair or replacement in this short, 6 minute video.

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An outdoor deck totally enhances the look of your home. The benefits that that a well-constructed deck offers are countless. You would be able to read in the sun, hold late night dinners or just relax in peace. And since it adds real value to any property, it is import that you choose the right material for building one as an extension of your dwelling.

As a rule, always go for a material that you think you can maintain (and repair) in the long run. The following compilation, we hope, will help you make an informed decision:

1. Natural Wood

Natural wood is durable and it’s aesthetically pleasing too. But it looks the best when it is well maintained. A good quality timber deck is a sound investment for a very long time. You will need to seal and stain the timber at regular intervals to keep it looking good.

natural wood

2. Composite Decks

Composite decks are very popular amongst homeowners as they are totally environment friendly. They are resistant to changes in the weather, stains and are very light weight too. They are made of recycled plastic and wooden fiber. They do not splinter like natural wood and are very low on maintenance. All you need to do is wash it to keep it looking good.

composite decks

3. Synthetic or PVC decks

They are also known as wood plastic. They are the best alternative for homeowners who are looking for a deck that demands very little maintenance on a regular basis. They are resistant to scratches, stains and mildew too. And decks made from PVC are just perfect for homeowners who do a lot of entertaining, as they can take high traffic very easily.

Such decks are a very cost effective option and can be cleaned very easily. But they will not last you a lifetime and you might require replacement in a few years.

synthetic or pvc decks

4. Metallic Decks

Off late, metallic decks have been getting popular amongst homeowners. They are the ideal option for homes that are built close to the forests or natural vegetation, as metallic decks do not pose the risk of catching fire.

The metallic decks are completely weather resistant, affordable and need no maintenance at all. They come with just one big disadvantage – when they get wet they can become very slippery. Also, prolonged exposure to sun can turn the metal hot to the point of making it difficult to stand barefoot on a metallic deck.

5. Bamboo decks

If you like the natural look but are worried about maintenance and splinters, bamboo perhaps is most suitable deck material option for you. It looks like timber, comes in great lengths and requires very little maintenance. It is the most sustainable option for outdoor decks.

bamboo decks

Do you need more information on this topic? Just drop a comment below and we will revert in no time.

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Installing a patio on the outdoors can transform an ordinary space into an interesting place for hosting guests or relaxing in your spare time. You can opt for wooden patios, or those with pavers. Pavers are easier to maintain and if you’re planning to pave your patios, here’s how you can do it on your own like a pro.

patio pavers

Patio Supplies You Need To Buy

How many pavers do you require? Calculate this by multiplying the length and width and get the area in square footage. Now according to the length and width of the tiles, calculate precise quantity required.

patio supplies you need to buy

If the area of the patio is not square but round, there are options available for round shapes as well. Now that you know the number of pavers required, select the size, shape and color you want, and determine which pavers are best matched with your budget.

If in doubt, you can always ask a local sales associate at your neighborhood home improvement store for advice.

Along with pavers, you will need gravel and sand, to layer below the pavers. General rule is that gravel should be at least 4 inches deep and the sand should be 1 inch thick. Calculate the filling space in cubic feet, and you will know the exact quantity of sand and gravel to purchase.

Prepare the Surface

Begin by checking for any underground utilities, for which you may call utility companies in your area. Once it clear your backyard or front yard has no utilities, mark off the patio area.

prepare-the-surface

Take a string or rope and outline the patio’s perimeter, this ways you only prepare the surface marked for the patio.

marked for ratio

This should be followed by digging the ground and leveling it with gravel and sand. The depth of digging will vary according to the thickness of the pavers, and how deep you want the gravel and sand to rise. During all these measurements, keep a level perimeter string handy and measures down the patio space, to ensure a consistent depth.

Pour at least 5 to 6 inches of gravel into the patio trench using a ground compactor. If you don’t have a ground compactor, you can rent it from any local home improvement store.

prepare the surface end

Make sure the gravel is spread evenly across the trench, and preferably slopes a bit away from the house.

Add a layer of fine sand over the gravel and compact it.

Laying the pavers

This can be best explained in the following points:

  • Select a desired pattern and place the blocks as close to each other as possible. Tap them down with the help of a rubber mallet.
  • Once all the pavers are placed, check if they are level or not. Push down any protruding paver with a mallet. If a paver is too low, pull it out, and put some more sand under it.
  • Cut pavers to fir the patio boundary and around objects. Use a saw with diamond blade to cut the pavers.
  • Install edging around the patio perimeter. Edging is available in a variety of materials, including plastic, wood and metal.

laying the pavers

Finishing the Surface

Fill up cracks with sand. For this you may simply spread a thin layer of fine sand and using a broom, fill the gaps.

fill cracks with sand

Compact the pavers once again. This time spread a towel or cardboard under the compactor and run it all over the patio. Apply slight force as you move ahead for proper cushioning.

Fill edges around the patio with sand, gravel and grass.

Seal the pavers or they won’t last very long. Take time out every six months, or at least once in a year to seal pavers for a lasting patio.

compact pavers

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Decks are a great place to relax and entertain. But unlike indoor rooms, decks are subjected to more elements. They experience a lot of foot traffic, and weather elements such as rain and harsh sun can always take away their glory. Deck staining can be of great help in keeping the deck look like new. If done correctly, the deck will not just look good, but the looks will last longer.

useful tips for staining decks

To help homeowners get the process right, here is list of useful tips:

Prepare Wood Surface before Staining

Whether it’s a brand new deck or an older one that needs re-staining, the surface needs to be cleaned thoroughly. New lumber will have mill scale, residue from the milling process, which needs to be cleaned otherwise it may prevent wood stains from evenly penetrating into the wood.

Old decks may have dirt and mildew, which needs to be cleaned. The sun may have turned it gray over time, and if the surface shows signs of chipping, it needs to clear before a fresh layer of stain is applied over the surface. Sodium percarbonate wood cleaners are considered ideal for effective results.

preparation

Use Wood Brighteners

The most skipped out step, wood brighteners are easy to use and open the surface for better penetration of stains. They will help in neutralizing the impact of stain strippers, and restore weathered looks of old decks. Just spray them onto the surface, leave it there for a few minutes and rinse it off. No scrubbing and no elbow greasing.

use wood brighteners

Rinsing Is Very Important

Rinsing off any chemicals used during cleaning is an essential step in preparing the surface. Residues of chemicals left on the surface can resurface over time and begin to attack and break down new stains.

rinsing is very important

Say No to Cheap Stuff

You may be on strict budget, but that does not mean you should settle for cheap products. Premium results come at a premium prices. The quality of stains depends upon their composition, some are resin based, and others have pigments and mildewcides. Talk to an expert before buying any specific stains.

Try Water Borne Stains

Water borne stains are rapidly replacing oil-based alternatives. They offer some distinct advantages over other stains. Firstly, good water based stains can be cleaned with soap and water and have no nasty solvents to breathe. Secondly, they are highly resistant to weathering and can be used on wet wood as well. They dry quickly and are much easier on the environment.

try water borne stains

Follow Directions

Every product comes with an instruction manual, which enlists the steps of using the product. Don’t ignore this little instruction book. It will teach you how to apply stains, clean the deck after application of stains, and also have tips on regular maintenance.

Don’t Layer Too Much

Semi-transparent wood stains look the best as they allow the natural grain of the wood to show through. You may be tempted to layer it with more stain, but chances are it will peel off over time. More layers will prevent the wood from breathing, which will in turn, peel it off.

dont layer too much

Don’t Forget the Paint Brush

Two popular modes of staining include pump-up garden sprayer and rolling. But, using a paint brush ensures that the stain penetrates deeper into the pores of the board. The friction caused by the brush helps the wood to absorb more stain.

paint brush

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Choice of flooring is the most critical of all decisions you need to make when building a patio for your home. There is no dearth of choices and we suggest your consider the various options carefully.

Listed below are some of the main types of patios that you may consider for your home.

1. Patio in Natural Stone

You will get a lot of choice in natural stone. It looks beautiful and offers great durability. Needless to mention, natural stone is expensive too!

You can make a choice from paving stone, cobbles or large flagstones. Each one of them gives a different effect.

Off late, setts are also becoming popular among homeowners; made of granite, the setts are very durable.

patio in natural stones

The main advantage of using natural stone is that patio will look really beautiful; no two pieces are similar. The patio will look prettier as the stones age; your patio will also need very little maintenance.

But like we said before, natural stone option is expensive, not easy to work with and some varieties like slate can get slippery when wet.

If you want to save money, buy natural stone directly from a quarry.

2. Reconstituted Stone Patio

The stone pieces obtained by breaking big slabs are sold in this category. They’re simply mixed with concrete and used in all kinds of shapes. You can use them in many ways.

In the market today, you can also find patio kits that have been made with these stones. Post installation, they create a unique pattern.

reconstituted stone patio

The greatest advantage of reconstituted stones is their price and the variety in colors and textures that they offer. And since most of them have a uniform texture there are lesser chances of them cracking. But if you pick the cheapest ones, they may fade and lose color with time.

3. Brick Patio

You should go for a brick patio if the area available for the patio is small; with bricks, the area will look bigger. Also, bricks look natural and can blend well with all kinds of house/ garden designs.

You can also choose them in a variety of colors and different kinds of finishes.

Go for exterior grade bricks as they can resist the climatic changes. The engineered bricks on the other hand are most durable and hard but tend to be a little slippery.

brick patio

The main advantage of picking brick for building a patio is that it creates a fine surface and is cheaper than stone. A brick patio can last out a lifetime and you can also make some nice patterns. However, a lot many bricks are to be used even for a small area, laying out all of them could take considerable time.

Keep in mind that brick patterns do not look very appealing if the surface area is too wide.

4. Concrete and Clay Patio Pavers

If you are looking for a versatile choice, go for clay or concrete patio covers. You will get a wide choice in sizes, textures and shapes too.

In the market today, you will find concrete pavers in buff finish and all shades of grey. They might not look warm but are a very practical and durable choice. You can also pick a design which gives the look of bricks and can be laid in a pattern. And they are much more affordable than bricks.

The biggest disadvantage of this category is that they discolor over time and need regular maintenance.

concrete and clay patio pavers

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A well designed patio only adds to the beauty of a well-kept lawn and front yard. It’s one place where you can relax, take a nap, feel the breeze and spend quality time with loved ones.

patio rules

You can select from a wide variety of flat stones available in the market. Choose from square of slate, limestone and so many more. Just remember is to pick a stone that can easily bear the local climate and day to day foot traffic.

patio installation

When you plan patio installation, remember that the task is much similar to laying the tiles in a bathroom. But while you would be able lay tiles independently, when installing the patio, a little extra help will be mandatory.

Since you won’t be moving the stones ever again, it is important that they are set in the right position the very first time.

We have outlined for you the major steps involved in installing a patio.

1. Excavation and Preparation of the Site

You need to start by driving stakes which are three foot long outside the comers of the patio, in order to mark the area.

Next, set a builders level in the middle. You should set a benchmark i.e. the point where the border of the patio touches the house.

Using a level scope and with the help of an assistant, mark the stake point at the base of the rod. You need to repeat this process for every stake.

Now, identify the farthermost stakes and make a mark at 1/8 inch between the stakes and the benchmark. This should give you the finish grade. Now, start digging at least six to twelve inches below the finish grade.

foundation for a patio

Here’s Mike Craft explaining in a short video tutorial how to lay the foundation for a patio.

2. Setting up the Base

You now need to cover the identified subgrade area with at least three inches thick layer of pack. The blend should be a mix of crushed stones and dust. Use a plate compactor to ensure that the layer stays compact.

You will need to tamper with hand near the sidewalks, foundation’s and walls. Keep the pack moist and don’t stop till it is at least two and a half inches above the marks that were made on the stakes.

3. Start Setting the Bed

Mix twelve parts of stone dust with one part of dry cement. You need to add the water to get a stiff mix.

Start from one corner, level out the mixture and with a hand trowel. Now place the stone on the mixture. Do ensure that the stone is set about half an inch in the cement mixture.

4. Setting of the Stone

The stone need to be placed face up in the cement bed. Slightly twist the stone in order to ensure that the contact is firm.

Now use a rubber mallet and tap it on all sides.

Mark Fuss in a short 1.5 minutes long video demonstrates the step 4.

5. Levelling Of the Stones

Once all the stones have been set, cross check if they are in tandem with each other.

Use a string to check if they are pitched against each other at the accurate angle. The stone should be close to the string but not touch it. If you think that a stone needs resetting, just lift it with a shovel and simply add or remove some cement mix. Remember to brush and rinse the stone before the mixture dries up.

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In order to keep your dock looking as good as new, you need to put in some time and effort for regular maintenance. The ongoing maintenance will depend on the design of your deck, the materials it is made of and the overall construction design.

maintain deck

More than anything, when you plan a maintenance schedule, remember to use eco-friendly products. For instance, you can start with a non-toxic and phosphate free soap. You can also use a homemade cleaning solution – mix three parts of olive oil with one part of vinegar for cleaning the surface of a wooden deck. Or you try using equal parts of lemon juice with vinegar and salt to remove all traces of mildew.

We have for you today some easy tips to help you maintain your deck:

1. Avoid Pressure Washing for Quick Results

Unless and until you deck has not been cleaned for ages, you should avoid cleaning it with a pressure washer. A powerful water spray can easily cause the wood to splinter. If you are looking for power tools or other heavy equipment rental click the link.

avoid pressure washing for quick results

2. Seasonal Inspection Is a Must

Every season, you must check your deck for signs of corrosion, rotting and splintering.

If you think repair is due, do not postpone it for another time. Spare an hour or two over a weekend and get the job done.

Here’s a 36 minutes long video (if really want to get into the details of how to inspect your deck) that you can watch in your free time:

3. Make a Schedule for Maintenance

Deck maintenance cannot feature at the end of your list of repairs.

If you maintain it regularly, it will last longer and stay in top shape too.

4. Wood Does Not Last Forever

You might be under the wrong impression that since you got yourself a wooden deck, it will last you forever.

You might have got pressure treated lumber, and yes, it can resist decay and insects, but it can’t fight off the sun and the moisture. Even the best of wood will require regular maintenance.

wood does not last forever

5. Use a Deck Cleaner For Gray Decks

If your deck has begun to look old and dirty, it can be given a makeover with the right deck cleaner.

If you are not sure of what to do about it, call in the experts for a second opinion.

use deck cleaner for gray decks

6. Choose Between Non-Bleach and Bleach Formulas

Both these types of cleaners are capable of cleaning the surface and removing the ground in dirt from the deck. However, the bleach cleaners end up lightening the wood.

Non-bleach cleaners, on the other hand, only act on the grime and the dirt; they cause no damage to the wood fibers and their natural color. Such products are more eco-friendly and they will cause no harm to the vegetation in your garden.

In the video below, Steve tells how you can brighten your deck without using a bleaching agent.

7. Follow Instructions on the Label

Before you use a deck cleaner, be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions on the label. Most companies test their products before launching them in the market, so follow their advice correctly.

Here’s Mark Clement from Wood Naturally giving a quick overview on how to clean your deck:

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