Frequently Asked Questions
How much pressure do you use?
Our pressure washer machines use about 3500 PSI. With each machine are a set of tips that vary the amount of water intensity. These tips are used specifically in cleaning certain surfaces. Our technicians use the different tips with different types of jobs to ensure your home, deck, or sidewalk is cleaned safely and properly.
Are you licensed and bonded?
Yes, we are licensed and insured and can provide copies upon request. Bonding is to protect a homeowner from theft inside the home. Our technicians do not perform any work inside the home and therefore do not require bonding.
Will your products harm my plants?
All cleaning detergents are mixed with water at a ratio of 15:1 which will not harm plants or grass. With that said, if you are concerned about particular vegetation we recommend that you move it away from the deck or inside. We do take precautions by covering plants with tarps and plastic. Our sealant is oil based and may cause yellowing/browning. Heavy overspray and spills can kill vegetation. Also, during hot days of summer water droplets on plants may work like a magnifying glass and cause plants to become scorched.
What is the difference between a seal and a stain?
A seal is an oil based penetrating clear finish applied by spray that protects against water. It has no UV protection. We guarantee it for 12 months.
A stain is an oil or a water based finish that contains pigments. A stain protects your deck from water and provides UV protection. The pigment in the stain allows the deck to look better, longer. Because decks are different ages, species and quality of wood and have received differing amounts of care, sun and shade. They will absorb the stain differently. A clear stain has no UV protection in it. If UV protection is needed then a colored stain is required. The darker the stain color the more UV protection it has.
Do you use tarps and plastic to cover plants, siding or other property?
Yes, we use tarps to cover plants, patios, neighbor’s property (townhouse). Plastic is used to cover the siding around deck area and any other areas that are in need of protection such as grills, tables, chairs and gardens. Also, wetting down surfaces is used when needed to hinder any overspray from sticking to surfaces. Our stain technicians may wet down surfaces around the deck to help in clean up.
Do you work in the rain?
Yes, we will wash a deck, house or fence in light rain. No seals, sanding or stains are applied in rain or on wet surfaces. We will not work in heavy rain or thunder and lightning storms.
Do you work in windy conditions?
Most work is determined by the technicians as to whether the conditions are acceptable. Most house washes, seals and stains are not done during windy conditions as these conditions will cause overspray. The technicians are very well trained and know which conditions they are able to work in.
What is the lowest temperature would you be able to work?
Water based stains must have a surface temperature of 40 degrees. This means that the air temperature must be at least 10 degrees warmer. There is also a curing time for the stain if the stain is dipping into freezing temperatures then a water based stain cannot be used and we will work solely with oil based stains.
Will pressure washing cause my deck to splinter or chip?
Our cleaning system is one that uses specialized detergents to do the heavy cleaning and uses pressure washing to do the rinsing of the surface. In some instances the dirt and grime may be so heavy on a deck that it pushed splinters down. By cleaning the deck the splinters may have become more evident. If splintering is an issue of concern then we offer a sanding surface that will remove all the loose soft fibers leaving your deck smooth.
Do I have to be home during the deck wash?
No, you do not need to be home during the deck wash. We ask that you make sure that your water is on, gate is unlocked, windows are closed and there is no more than a table, 4 chairs and 1 grill on the deck. If there is more furniture than this, we ask that you move it so our guys may stay on schedule. If there are too many items on the deck, your job may be rescheduled.
Do you clean, seal or stain underneath the deck if it is on standing post?
This is not an industry standard. But, we will clean, seal or stain underneath the deck for an extra charge.
Can I use my deck during the cleaning and protecting process?
Yes, after the washing and sanding you may still use the deck. We ask that if any grilling is done that the deck be protected from any grease dripping. We ask that you stay off the deck for at least 48 hours after seal or stain application to ensure proper drying time. Your deck may be tacky or even dry to the touch soon after application.
What if I have things on the deck are they to be removed?
Technicians will move around a table, up to 4 chairs and a grill (when possible) during the washing and sanding. We do ask that the deck be cleared of items for the sealing/staining process. This ensures that the surface is treated evenly and efficiently.
How long should I expect to have my deck completed from start to finish?
- Depending on services the process is usually completed within 2 weeks weather permitting.
- A house wash is finished the day it is scheduled as long as no complications are met weather permitting.
- A deck/fence wash and seal is completed within one week weather permitting.
- A deck/fence wash, sand and seal are within a week to two weeks weather permitting.
- A deck/fence wash and stain is usually within 2 weeks weather permitting.
- A deck wash, sand and stain are usually within 2 to 3 weeks weather permitting.
Is your stain and seal oil based?
Ready Seal and Benjamin Moore Semi Transparent are oil based, Olympic Maximum is water based and so is Arbor Coat solid.
What type of products do you use?
- Ready Seal for our seal.
- Ready Seal for clear stains
- Ready Seal Standard Colors for new decks, screened in patios and decks that have heavy grill left on the deck
- Olympic for colored semi-transparent standard stains,
- Benjamin Moore Arborcoat for solid stains
- Penofin for exotic hardwoods.
Do I have to be home during a deck seal or stain?
No, you do not have to be home for either the sealing or staining process. You do need to make sure that the outside power is on for us to be able to sand the handrails and apply the seal or stain.
Why do you spray seal or stain? Do you use brushes or rollers?
Spraying seal or stain is more efficient and helps the evenness of application of product. We do use brushes and rollers when necessary. If a customer requests the seal or stain be applied by brush or rollers an additional labor charge will be applied.
Yes we will discount per gallon used. We prefer not to use Behr or Sikkens products, but may do so on a case by case basis. Our cost of a gallon will be deducted from a customer’s invoice. We typically pay 30% less than what customer pay at a big box store.
Why does my stain look darker in some areas and lighter in other areas?
Stain is absorbed into the wood at different rates. More heavily traffic areas may seem lighter where areas around the railings may look darker. The age of the wood, condition and exposure to the elements all play into how the deck will look with the stain. Newly sanded wood will appear lighter than areas not sanded.
While lattice is a similar pine material as your deck it is thinner and it receives differing amounts of sunlight and care. Over time lattice becomes brittle and porous. Thus the stain is absorbed into the lattice quicker leaving the outer areas appearing lighter. We try to remedy this frequent issue by applying more stain on the lattice. Never the less, on lattice that is on top of the deck like a privacy wall the dry, less vibrant color still happens.
Why do you recommend a semi-transparent stain? What is the most popular stain?
Semi-transparent stain has a tint that gives the wood added UV protection which extends the life of the deck. It also gives the deck some color which makes it look better longer. The tint allows the wood grain to show through giving the wood a nice finish. This is ideal for people that want their deck to have a natural finish.
Gold Cedar is the most popular stain.
Why do you recommend a solid stain?
A solid stain is recommended when the previous stain cannot be removed or a Behr or Sikkens product is existing. A solid stain looks like paint and it will cover up the grain and any imperfections in the wood. Once a solid stain is applied it cannot be removed but the color can be changed. A major advantage of the solid stain is that it will typically last 5 years where a semitransparent will last only 3.
How do I know my deck has been sealed?
You should have found a door hanger on your door stating that your deck has been sealed. It may be tacky to the touch in the first 24-48 hours. You should see water beading the first month. Thereafter water should pool keeping it from penetrating the wood.
Will you sand the handrails?
Yes, our technicians lightly sand your handrails before we stain or seal your deck. Our handrail sanding consists of a light sanding of the top layer of your rails. You should not expect large splinters or cracks to be removed.
Do I have to be home during the sanding process?
The only time you would have to be home is when you do not have stairs and the deck is above ground. In this case we will have to go through the house as the sanding machine is too heavy to carry up a ladder.
What areas are sanded on the deck?
Only the flat horizontal surfaces of the deck are sanded. The tops of the handrails, stair treads and deck floor. The vertical pickets and outer band boards or posts are not sanded.
What is involved with sanding?
When we sand decks we use 2 types of sanders. We use carbide brushes to remove the loose soft fibers from the deck floor, and then we have a grinder that is similar to a belt sander. The grinder sands the wood smooth but it removes both good and bad wood. There are limitations to the carbide brushes because they can’t go underneath railings, benches, steps, and on top of railings because it’s so heavy. The floor sander leaves a 1 inch or 2 inch skirt around the railings that don’t get sanded by the carbide brushes. There is nothing that can be done about this attempting to use the hand sander will result in two different appearance of the wood and will look worse. Because this area is under railings it is masked well by the stain or sealant.
How do you clean composite decks?
We use a mild detergent in our lower pressure system. This will remove mold and mildew without cutting or marring the surface of a composite deck, like high pressure will. Because composite decks are made of different materials (PVC, wood, plastic) each surface will react differently to spills, mold, mildew, and staining. For this reason we cannot, guarantee the removal of every stain but rest assured that if it can be cleaned (safely) we will make every effort to do so.
Do you seal composite decks?
Before manufacturers created composite spindles for railings, we found the floor to be composite and the railings were still made of wood with a Trex handrail. In working with Trex and other research we found that sealing a composite deck is beneficial because the seal protects the wood particles. In fact, not sealing them would cause the composite to degrade and become brittle. Sealing both the Trex and the wood is also less expensive because the floor will not need to be tarped off.
What are the black spots on my composite deck?
Composite is made from particles of wood, PVC, and plastics. The wood particles are untreated before they are mixed with the other components. By not treating them they are susceptible to mold and mildew growth in the deck. Even after the deck is cleaned they mold growth may come back quickly. We have found customers with composite decking ask for their deck to be cleaned more frequently so we have offered a maintenance program for composite decks.
Do you stain composite wood?
Many of the older composite materials had poor UV protection and have faded dramatically over time. For over 4 years we have stained composite decks that have succumbed to the sun. Staining these decks has breathed life back and restored their original luster. Additionally, each Trex material had a name specific to its color; the people working with Trex to mitigate the lawsuit have created colors that match precisely the original color of the Trex deck. With that being said, newer composite materials that have higher UV protection are not prone to the same symptoms of fading and brittleness of earlier manufactured composite materials do not require sealing or staining.
What does your warranty cover for a seal or stain?
The seal is guaranteed to protect your deck from water for 1 year. Stains are guaranteed to protect your deck from water for 3 years. Stain colors will fade over time due to weathering, but the wood is still protected from water.
What type of conditions is needed to sand, seal or stain a deck?
Dry, calm winds weather is needed to do sanding, sealing and staining. Your deck must be dry to be sand, seal or stain it.
Why do you not like to use Behr or Sikkens?
These issues are from experiences in performing over 3000 deck cleanings and stains per year and over 16 years’ experience.
- Difficulty in application.
- Uneven appearance of stain on new wood.
- Black residue on deck surface within short period of time (in certain conditions caused by linseed oil). Extreme difficulty in stripping old stain.
- Confusing labeling of products.
- Formula changes of product which create difficulty in matching color and protecting in future applications.
Why do you recommend stripping a deck? What is involved with stripping?
We recommend stripping a deck:
- If you are changing the color of existing semi- transparent stain on deck.
- If the existing stain is peeling and uneven in appearance.
- In order to get back to original bare wood.
Please note that a solid stain cannot be stripped as you will not be able to remove the entire product. With an existing solid stain we recommend both cleaning and sanding to remove as much old, loose stain away before a new, fresh solid stain is applied.
Stripping the deck involves applying the stripping solution, washing the deck of all stripping solution and neutralizing the (ph) on the deck. If the stripper is not neutralized it will continue to eat away at any new stain.
Why do you recommend yearly washing, sanding, and staining of IPE decks?
IPE requires yearly maintenance to maintain its stunning appearance. Because the wood is so dense no standard stain or finish will penetrate and protect for a longer period of time. Additionally because the wood is so beautiful naturally a clear or light stain is applied these lighter colors or clear allow the wood to silver is short order.
Most contractors neither have the know-how nor the proper equipment to maintain and treat such exotic, fine materials. Power washing alone will not get the luster most IPE deck owners are looking for when their deck project is complete. The use of a high quality sanding machine such as our carbide brush sanding machine helps to remove the weathered IPE wood so that the wood can absorb the proper amount of finish
Home Exterior Washing
Do you clean both the inside and outside of the gutters?
We will clean and remove the black lines, dirt or grime off the exterior of the gutters. In some cases the black lines have causes permanent stains. If this is the case, and the black stains are not completely removed there will be no charge for the service.
We do not clean the interior of the gutter.
Do you offer a maintenance plan?
After you wax your car you must wash it in order to keep it clean. The same is true for a deck after it has been stained. We guarantee our stains protection from water for 3 years. Unlike painting your home, there are many factors that go into if the color will remain strong and the deck looking its best for that entire time. Some factors include the age, species and quality of wood and have received differing amounts of care, sun and shade. The result is the stain being absorbed differently.
Customers have their deck cleaned and protected for two primary reasons, they want to protect their investment by preventing costly expenses, and they want to enjoy it.
They don’t want the hassle of finding a contractors phone number, wait for assessments and screening annoyance of explaining what has been done in the past.
They just want the peace of mind to know that it’s taken care of.
Wash My Deck Maintenance includes:
- A guaranteed set price
- Set price for washing (no inflation)
- Inspection of wood condition, structure,
- Nails to be knocked
- Analysis of existing stain or seal
- Down recommendations.
- Priority scheduling scheduled in advance and a courtesy call will be made prior to any service.
- Special Discounts: 30% off first year of maintenance.
- Tailored treatment-Deck will be washed depending on what is necessary (light or heavy).
- A special 10% discount for a seal and a prorated stain cost will be given if a stain needs to be applied (you pay for only what you have used) i.e. 12 months 30%
- Restore, Beatify, Preserve
- Exotic Maintenance
- 1 time a year inspection, cleaning, sanding and staining
- Composite Maintenance- 20/30 program
- Keeps spills from staining deck, removes black spots on the deck, always beautiful
- Removal of candle wax?
Request your FREE ASSESSMENT.