Removing algae from deck wood planks

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Old 06-24-14, 07:35 AM
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Removing algae from deck wood planks

Prior to re-staining my deck, I normally pressure wash it and then try to remove the algae. Home Depot recommends using a TSP solution. I tried it the last time a couple of years ago. It was a painful process as it required multiple applications. It is time to re-stain the deck again. Does someone have a more efficient way of removing algae?

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Old 06-24-14, 09:05 AM
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I normally use a bleach/water solution [40-50% bleach, never stronger] I'll add TSP if there are other types of grime on the deck. My SOP for cleaning a deck; wet the deck with water, then spray the bleach solution on with a pump up garden sprayer, let it set but not dry then pressure wash. Stubborn areas may require a 2nd treatment and/or scrubbing with an old broom.
 
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Old 06-24-14, 09:24 AM
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I do about the same thing as Mark except I always scrub with a stiff bristled brush and I don't have a pressure washer so I just rinse off with the hose.
 
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Old 06-24-14, 09:34 AM
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Mark and Mitch, thanks. Part of my deck adjoins some plants and shrubs. Will the rinse-off containing bleach harm the plants? Actually, for this reason I had used a TSP Substitute and not regular TSP.

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Old 06-24-14, 09:37 AM
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Many cleaning agents including bleach are harmful to vegetation. Covering up the vegetation often results in heat damage to them. I"ll wet the vegetation before I apply the bleach/water and keep rinsing it on and off during the deck cleaning process. I rarely ever cause any harm to vegetation using that method.
 
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Old 06-24-14, 09:40 AM
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I use a lot of water rinsing this off and have never had a problem with the grass around the deck being affected by the bleach.

That said, you could cover them with plastic while you're working - I tend to do this kind of thing in the evening when the heat of the day is over and the sun is on the other side of the house.
 
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Old 08-17-14, 08:26 AM
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After some web research, I came across recommendations for using a oxygen based bleach. I tried OxiClean. It works very well with none of the harmful effects of a chlorine based bleach, and doesn't strip away the old paint.

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Old 08-17-14, 09:41 AM
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Oxygenated bleach is more environmentally and diy friendly than regular household bleach. The main reason I've always used regular bleach is because it is cheap and effective!
 
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Old 08-18-14, 06:34 AM
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Old 08-19-14, 06:06 PM
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Joe, I'll keep roof and siding cleaner in mind for the next time. Thanks for your suggestion.

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Old 08-20-14, 03:22 AM
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Unless I'm mistaken, most of the commercially prepared deck/siding cleaners use oxygenated bleach.
 
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Old 08-20-14, 07:15 AM
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I'm with Mark - regular laundry bleach works well and is so cheap it will continue to be my go-to product.
 
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Old 08-27-14, 01:06 PM
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Do not use bleach

Use a sodium percarbonate product to remove mold and mildew from your deck. Bleach only spurs the growth of mold/mildew to return much quicker. Water is one of the main contributors of the growth of molds. The chemical structure of Sodium Hypochlorite prevents Chlorine from penetrating into porous building materials such as composites. The Chlorine just stays on the outside surface and appears to quickly remove the dead unsightly mold, whereas mold has hypha that grows in a mycroflora inside the porous "crevices" in the composite. The water content in Chlorine Bleach or Sodium Hypochlorite based cleaners penetrates to the hypha and actually FEEDS the whole mycelium. The Chlorine never actually gets to the mycelium "mold roots" and kills or removes them. This is why a few days to weeks later you will notice darker, more concentrated mold growing (faster) on composite decking cleaned with Chlorine Bleach or Sodium Hypochlorite based products like common deck cleaners. Simply put, cleaning composite materials with Chlorine Bleach or Sodium Hypochlorite based cleaners for mold remediation is like pulling weeds and not getting the roots, then watering them with Miracle Grow and allowing them grow back as if they were in a hydroponics farm under all the right conditions.
 
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Old 08-27-14, 01:33 PM
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Going to need some evidence to back up that opinion, pgpw10.
 
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Old 08-27-14, 01:58 PM
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Mitch...I'm a professional contractor and have restored over 200 decks in the last 3 years but don't take my word for it go to OSHA's website on mold remediation. using bleach on your wood or composite decks went out years ago but people have not been educated enough by contractors to understand that. No disrespect to you but I do this for a living and am certified in wood restoration. "A" rated contractor on Angie's List as well!
 

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Old 08-27-14, 01:59 PM
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Ya, I've used a bleach/water solution to clean decks for decades with excellent results.
 
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Old 08-27-14, 02:10 PM
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For decades on composite? I think not. I'm just trying to help. This thread may do as they wish but the uneducated ones who continue to do exactly the opposite of what they should are the ones wondering why the mold and mildew returns so quickly. Good luck!
 
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Old 08-27-14, 02:15 PM
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Who said anything about composite decking this thread is about prepping a wood deck to restain it.
 
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Old 08-27-14, 02:36 PM
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You missed the point, it doesn't matter.
 
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Old 08-29-14, 07:59 PM
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I have been using OxiClean, which, as it turns out, is a sodium percarbonate product. I am now into the staining phase. What I've discovered is that some of the old planks are warped, and the stain doesn't roll out uniformly, leaving bare spots. I'm having to use the brush in those spots, so it is taking twice or three times the time it is supposed to. Any tips?
 
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Old 08-30-14, 04:24 AM
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I'd use a thicker nap roller, maybe back brush behind the rolled on stain to make it look nicer.
 
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