Looking for wood cleaning services? At Foxland Cleaning we provide wood cleaning services for your decks and fences. When hiring a company to pressure wash a wood deck or fence you want to ensure that they use proper wood cleaning techniques that do not harm your wood. now that the soft wash technique is becoming very popular a lot of people are electing for that however, even with soft wash technique if the bleach is allowed to enter the fibers of the wood it will cause damage to your wood. So, whether your professional uses soft wash or low-pressure techniques you want to make sure they use proper technique.
PROPER WOOD CLEANING TECHNIQUE
To begin with, a technician completing wood cleaning services must apply copious amounts of water in order to fill the fibers of the wood. This will allow the solution when applied to remain on the top of the wood where needed to remove the fungal growth and loosen the dirt. Instead of penetrating into the wood fibers.
Second, the technician will apply the solution. Which could be a Sodium hydroxide base solution or a 3% to 6% bleach solution mixed with surfactants. The most common is the bleach solution mixed with a soap. Allow the solution to set for 5 to 10 minutes.
Two notes about allowing solution to sets.
- Do not allow a solution set for longer than 20 minutes.
- Never let the solution to dry.
Either of these can two points can turn the bleach in the solution to a crystallized salt where it will gain strength cause damage to the wood and or strip away any oil-based stain on the wood. Here at Foxland cleaning if there is stain on the wood, we never use 6% bleach solution because 6% bleach solution will strip the stain off of the wood that is why we use a 3% solution.
Last, wash the wood must with no more than 1,000 PSI however it is preferable to rinse with 500 PSI. This is where soft wash fails as soft wash only gives a maximum of 100 PSI. Which is not enough to remove some fungal growths even though the solution is strong enough to kill it.
AVOIDING CUT LINES
As we discussed in the last step in wood cleaning technique the preferred pressure is 500 PSI over using 1,000 PSI. This is in order to reduce the amount of cut lines in the wood caused by the higher pressure. However, to avoid this use proper wand technique. the way this works is quite simple. You want to work in three to four-foot sections. Moving across your body. Once you reach the end of that four-foot section you want to quickly raise the gun away from the wood. Then you can pull the gun the opposite direction across your body. By quickly raising the gun at the end of your four-foot section will reduce the amount of pressure being applied on one specific point in the wood which will reduce the probability of cut lines in the wood.
EFFECTS OF WRONG TECHNIQUE ON THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF WOOD
Pine is the most used of all Woods for building materials including building decks and fences. Due to its low cost and decent strength. However, this being a softwood if there is too much pressure, over 1,000 PSI it will destroy the lignin, that is the glue-like substance that holds the fibers of the wood together, giving it a furry look. This furry look is from the fibers lifting up due to this damage. When bleach enters in the fibers of pinewood the lignin turns a grayish color in the wood. Compared to the Natural yellow color. Bleach will turn Pine a grayish color. As well also deteriorating the licking which is the glue-like substance that holds the fibers of the wood together.
Cedar was very popular back in the 80s and is now starting to come popular once again due to its natural beauty and its resistance to bugs. With cedar you do not need to apply any type of wood stain however a lot of people do apply it to help preserve it even further. of the three we are speaking of Cedar is the softest wood I do not suggest only using soft wash very often.
Yet with this type of wood even 500 PSI can make the wood turn furry. As we’ve discussed what I’m referring to when it turns furry is the same is what happens with Pinewood above. Yet, Cedar will be much more predominant when it comes to this Factor. As far as the effects of bleach on it if not doused in water first. It will not strip out the lignin as it does in Pine. Though It does strips out the oils that are naturally in the Cedar. Which give it a much duller look compared to normal Cedar.
IPE is a beautiful hardwood that comes from Brazil that does not require as much maintenance as softer woods. However, we do not see very much of this would due to its high cost. As an exterior cleaner one of the great things about this wood is its resistance to pressure and bleach. I still suggest applying a large amount of water to the wood before applying any type of solution just ensure there are no issues. However, I have never seen bleach cause damage to this type of wood such as that happens with pine and Cedar. Also, this type of wood can have up to 1500 PSI but I also suggest still not going above 1000 PSI.
With all that said if you have the budget for IPE, I suggest investing in this beautiful wood. However, if you do not have the budget for IPE even though Cedar doesn’t require as much maintenance. I still suggest Pine due to its ease of cleaning without as big of a furry effect and the natural oils being taken now compared to Cedar.