When It’s Time to Clean Your Deck, Lay Off the Bleach!

bigstock-Deck-57020912_smallerWell, Spring’s upon us and many of us, because of the rainy start, are still scrambling to get our decks cleaned and protected for the season.  If that’s you–if you’re one of those folks looking for a good, dry weekend so you can get your deck cleaned and ready for cookouts and parties, well be sure you read this first. See, one of the tendencies we often notice at RepcoLite is a customer’s desire or plan to use regular household bleach to clean their deck.  Since Chlorine bleach does a great job killing bacteria and stuff like that, many of us figure it’ll be perfect for our dirty, moldy or mildewed decks.

But before you go and jump into a job like this, you should be aware that Chlorine bleach has never been proven terribly effective in killing molds on rough, porous surfaces.  Also, be aware that it actually destroys
the lignin in your wood deck.

Now, for those of you not quite up to speed on what exactly lignin is, or does, let me explain:  Lignin is a naturally occuring “complex polymer that binds to cellulose fibers and hardens and strengthens the cell walls of plants”(1).  Basically, when lignin is destroyed by bleach, the way the wood bonds together is disrupted or compromised.  When this happens, the wood’s much more likely to exhibit signs of aging, splintering and checking.  On top of all of that, Chlorine bleach will effectively remove the natural coloring from the wood of your deck, replacing it with a bland, washed-out appearance.

no_bleachAlso, not only does Chlorine bleach negatively affect the durability, quality and appearance of the wood of your deck.  It also can make your deck restoration project.  See, bleach is basically 99% water. And water is largely the reason we see the growth of bacteria and mold on our decks.  Now, the nature of Chlorine prevents it from penetrating deep into materials like concrete or wood.  However, while the Chlorine won’t penetrate–and instead, just lays on the surface–the water WILL penetrate.  And this really only serves to feed the roots of the mold.  So, you clean the deck, get it looking great–right away–only to find a few days later that the mold is back with a vengeance.  This is all likely to happen when Chlorine bleach is used as a cleaner.

So, with all that said, the answer’s pretty simple:  when it comes to cleaning your deck, lay off the Chlorine bleach!  Instead, use an oxygenated Bleach cleaner like “Defy’s Safe Oxygenated Bleach Wood Cleaner” available at RepcoLite for $20.95.  This powder mix will mix with water to produce 5 gallons of deck cleaning solution–enough to cover 700 – 1000 square feet.

An oxygenated Bleach like Defy’s cleaner will give your deck a clean look without harming the wood, detracting from it’s appearance or endangering the surrounding vegetation.  Oxygen bleach give you a clean deck and will not harm vegetation surrounding your deck, which is a huge plus and will save you time from covering your grass and landscaping to protect it.  Remember, the healthier your deck wood is, the better the deck’s going to look.

So lay off the Chlorine bleach when it’s cleaning time!

Defy Extreme: The Proof It Works

defy_samplesLast time I wrote about DEFY Extreme Deck Stain.  It’s available in several colors, but the main thing I was writing about last time was the fact that it comes in a clear.

Now, for many folks who’ve never worked with a clear, that’s no big deal.  But if you’ve ever put a clear wood protector down on your deck, you know what you usually get out of it:  typically about 6 months before it starts to look terrible.

Well, DEFY’s Extreme Clear product makes use of Nano-Technology to put, in your hands, a clear wood protector that WILL resist the harmful UV rays from the sun.  See, as we wrote last time, most of your typical deck protectors that color the wood contain UV inhibitors.  They block the harmful rays and keep your deck looking better for longer.  Clear protectors, however, don’t possess these blockers.  The sun’s rays just beat right through the coating and damage the wood.

The above picture is a perfect example.  The center squares on all of those sample boards were coated with a clear wood protector from a number of different companies.  They were then left outside to weather for about six months.  All of the boards except the DEFY board–no matter what the brand–show significant evidence of product failure and wood damage.  Only the DEFY product looks virtually unchanged.

So think about it and be aware:  if you’re interested in a clear deck coating, don’t get suckered by great advertising and slick commercials.  The best solution for your deck–the one that will give you the longest amount of time between maintenance coats–is DEFY’s Extreme.  Check it out!

Finally! A Clear Deck Stain That Does Something!

defyWell, in an earlier post, I spilled the “dirty little industry secret” when it comes to Deck Stains and Wood Protectors. I let you know that the truth of the matter when it comes to deck coatings is that you can usually expect to get 1-2, maybe (at most) 3 years out of your finish. After that length of time, it will need to be recoated.

Sure, this probably isn’t groundbreaking news to many of you, but we still run into plenty of individuals stopping in at RepcoLite who are expressing surprise and disbelief and disappointment over their “national-brand, expensive, supposedly high-end” deck coatings that have only lasted a year or two.

And while I’d be the last person to try to give these national brands an easy out, I’d still, in the interest of honesty, like to point out that these national products aren’t failing quicker than other deck coatings. They’re just performing in the manner that all deck coatings usually perform.

So, I wrote all of that to let you know not to get too over-excited by fancy, slick advertising campaigns on TV. These products take a beating and no matter what the commercial leads you to believe, you’re usually going to get a couple years max out of the coating.

However, that’s not to say that some aren’t better than others. For example, there’s a well-known, national brand of wood sealer that absolutely works like a dream. For the first 6 months or so. After that, it’s all down hill. This is probably THE brand that everybody associates with deck cleaners–it’s the “Band-aid” of adhesive bandages–it’s the name everybody knows. And yet, it’s really, in all honesty, an inferior product. It’s all show and no “go.”

On the other hand, there’s a brand that may not be as well-known, but which is breaking all the rules when it comes to deck coatings. This brand is known as DEFY® and they make a full line of deck coatings and cleaners and strippers. And these products are absolutely at the top of the deck-coating heap when it comes to quality, durability and ease of use.

DEFY’S® Clear Extreme Wood Stain is the newest member of the DEFY® line of wood products and is easily their most innovative high performance product yet. See, when it comes to protecting their decks, many homeowners express a desire to “keep that natural look on the wood.”

After all the cleaning and surface prep, folks see the beauty of their natural wood and generally don’t want to put anything on it that’s going to change it. They don’t want to put a colored sealer on it because that will deepen the wood’s color too much. So many folks lean towards the application of a clear wood protector.

However, there’s a problem. The sun’s ultra-violet rays cause wood to turn gray and become susceptible to water penetration and decay. That’s the core problem that all untreated decks face. Unfortunately, almost all CLEAR wood protectors are simply water-repellants. They will cause rain to bead up, but they won’t do a thing about the sun’s damaging rays. As a result, it’s usually not long (quite often 6 months or less) before your once clean and beautiful deck starts to show signs of graying and weather damage.

But now, all that is changing because of DEFY’S® innovative new technology. DEFY® Extreme Wood Stain effectively protects the wood from the harmful effects of the sun and protects wood from graying using state of the art nano-technology.

DEFY® explains on their website: “Extreme Wood Stain contains zinc oxide particles that reflect the damaging Ultraviolet Rays from the sun. When you reduce the size of these zinc particles down to the nano level, they become invisible to the naked eye. These nano-particles are distributed at a rate of over 30 trillion per square inch of surface area to provide protection from the sun in much the same way as they do when used in sun blockers and sunscreen lotions. This results in a “Crystal Clear” finish that when dry, will give the longest lasting UV protection on the market for a clear deck finish!”

So basically, what we at RepcoLite are excited to offer for the first time ever is a truly clear–a crystal clear–wood sealer that will not only defend your wood against water and rain . . . but also the damaging effects of the sun.

That’s the teaser information. We’ll talk more about this great product and I’ll show you some stunning samples next time.

The Truth About Deck Coatings

Port City Deck and DockWhen it comes to protecting your deck, there are a lot of options out there as well as a lot of misconceptions. And really, much of this is brought on by slick marketing campaigns.
One commercial springs to mind. It shows a guy in house on a huge cliff overlooking the ocean. He wakes up in the morning, crams his iPod headphones into his ears and jogs down his immense wood stairway leading down from his immense deck. I think he’s going to get the paper or something. Anyway, the point is that he’s oblivious to everything going on around him and he doesn’t realize that an enormous wave of epic proportions is preparing to crash down on his house.
Well, he does his thing, gets the mail or the newspaper or whatever he was after, and while he’s gone for those few seconds, the wave hits. The deck is pounded with water, the stairs are buried beneath the tidal wave. But then, as quickly as it hit, it’s gone. And the guy returns with his paper, walking back up (or down–I can’t remember) the same pristine stairs and across the same flawless deck he had traveled earlier. He only stops and realizes something might be up when he sees that in the fishbowl . . . rather than his little gold fish that had been there earlier . . . is now a piranha.
The point of the commercial is to show you the durability and strength of a particular deck coating. And that sounds great. And it looks great. It’s a very effective ad–we see the water beading up on the deck and we’re convinced. If we just buy that coating, we’ll be fine . . . our deck will last forever, right?”
Unfortunately, wrong. That’s where the misconception comes in. Deck coatings, no matter what you use, are likely going to give you 1-2 years of protection on your deck. That’s the dirty little industry secret that nobody wants to share. You’ll hear how this product outperforms that one. You’ll hear that product X will give you 2 times the industry standard in protection and durability. You’ll see commercials about tidal waves burying small houses. But you’ll rarely hear someone say, “you’ll probably need to do this all again in a year or two.”
And yet that’s the truth of it. Deck coatings are subjected–especially here in Michigan–to some tremendous wear and tear. They have to hold up to hot Michigan summer sun, torrential Michigan Spring and Fall rains, as well as everybody’s favorite . . . Michigan winters. That kind of abuse will wear a coating down quickly. And as a result, you’re most likely going to need to re-apply your wood protector every other year or so.
OK . . . so why explain that? Why let the “dirty little industry secret” slip out? Do I have a product that I’m going to claim is going to last twice as long? Do I have one of those classic tag lines used by slick advertisers everywhere? Something along the lines of . . . “yes, that’s what USED to be the case, but now, with this new product from RepcoLite, you won’t EVER have to coat your deck again!” Do I have something like that to say?

Nope. RepcoLite’s Port City Deck and Dock Wood Protector is going to give you the same durability you’re going to get from any of the other national high quality deck products out there. (Though it truly is WAY better than another, well-known deck protector that I won’t name here [insert cough that sounds like “Thompson’s”]).

No, I don’t have a super-amazing product that will blow the doors off the competition . . . . That’s not my point for explaining the limitations of all deck coatings. My reason for doing so is in the nature of honesty. So many customers we help in the stores have misconceptions as to what to expect when they coat their decks. And, as I said earlier, these misconceptions are promulgated by companies who sell deck coatings. They’re afraid that if they tell you the truth, nobody will buy the products. They’re afraid that if they confess that the product will probably last a year or two before requiring some maintenance, you won’t bother coating your deck.
At RepcoLite, we look at it from another perspective. We feel it’s worse to lead you into a sale by not making you aware of the full story. We’re not afraid that you’ll skip cleaning and coating your deck when you hear the nature of deck coatings. We’re pretty confident you’ll still go ahead with the projects. But we want you to know the full scoop–we want you to know what to expect: from our coatings AND from our competitors.
The truth isn’t something to shrink away from. It’s not something to hide. Giving a customer the full story and all the information ahead of time–before their purchase–is a much better business model. At least in our minds.
So when you get ready to coat your deck, we’d love to help you and we’d love to sell you the very best coatings at the very best prices. But what we don’t want to do is mislead you. Remember: any deck coating you buy–anywhere, from anybody–is probably going to give you 1-2 (maximum of 3) years before it needs maintenance. Keep that in mind, plan for that . . . and you won’t be disappointed!