Deck Staining

Deck Staining

If you are a homeowner and have a wooden deck then you know what a rewarding investment it is, especially after a nice deck staining. It’s the perfect place to relax and entertain guests, it increases your property value, and it makes your home a lot more attractive overall. To keep your veranda looking impressive, you need to ensure that it is maintained using the best deck staining and deck cleaning practices.

Deck Staining Steps

In this blog, we walk you through the steps of wooden deck staining and answer all your questions about what, how, when, and why to seal your deck for a pristine finish. Here are just some of the top queries we clarify:

  1. What is the best method to stain a deck without damaging the wood?
  2. Is it better to stain or paint a deck?
  3. How to clean a deck before staining
  4. What is the best time to stain a deck?
  5. What are the best products for deck staining?
  6. How often do you have to seal a deck?
  7. Why you should not power wash a wooden deck?

Deck Maintenance

It’s important that you maintain your deck with great care because an improperly stained and sealed deck will only cost you more to fix and redo next time. Neglected decks deteriorate at a faster rate, so it only makes sense to maintain it properly and make it look great while preserving it for the years to come.

Contact the Professionals

Why wait until your porch deck loses its natural color, or begins to decay and fall apart when treating it promptly can eliminate these problems? Carlton Cleans has the experience and insight for the best deck maintenance practices to guarantee maximum appeal and safety of your terrace or porch for years to come. Read on if you want to learn more, or contact us for more specific answers.


Spring Deck Staining

spring deck staining

The winter was mild and March has been cold and windy with a slow start for pressure washing and exterior restoration companies. At Carlton Cleans we offer spring deck staining services in the Maryland area when weather permits. If you are not careful, wooden decks will lose their color without a proper stain. Decks without a proper stain have a risk of “graying.” In order to keep your deck in the perfect condition you want it, consider our spring deck staining services.

Some Benefits of Spring Deck Staining

Rot Prevention

Not only will spring deck staining increase your deck’s lifespan, it will also heavily decrease the risk of rotting and infestation. The choice to stain your deck makes it look better, but it also decreases the risk of mold and mildew.

Everyday Use

The everyday use of a deck along with the weather can deteriorate your deck over time. Without proper care, you will notice your deck start to chip and crack. Constant use of a deck and activities that cause the moving of tables or chairs along the deck can also be prevented with proper staining. You might be wondering, what if I do not have any problems with my deck? Consider deck staining as a preventative measure to allow your deck to last longer than it would with no staining.

Appearance of the Deck

Staining your deck will allow for the full potential of your deck to be shown accentuating the quality of the wood grain. There are a lot of color tints when choosing to stain your deck which give you the ability to match the outside of your home improving the overall appearance of your deck and home together.

Reduced Risk of Moisture Damage

Using our spring deck staining services allows you to avoid the risk of moisture getting into your deck and causing damage.

Contact Carlton Cleans

If you want to make your deck pop as well as giving it the damage protection it deserves to make your home better, contact us today, or give us a call at 301-906-4446 for a free quote and to talk about other home improvement services we offer.

Wood Deck Maintenance – How Long Can a Wood Deck Last?

The wood deck, especially made from fabricated or composite wood, is an affordable option for homeowners but it does require proper wood deck maintenance to make it last. Wood planks or beams are used to construct walkways, stairways, and wraparound porches for houses built above the ground. For example, wood decking can provide a wraparound porch to cover the crawl space under the house. However, with a wood deck, maintenance is required.

wood deck maintenance

Wood Deck Life Expectancy

According to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), a wood deck should have a life expectancy of about 20 years. For wood decks located in dry areas, the lifetime of the wood deck may extend up to 25 years. In southern climates, the lifetime of the wood deck is considerably shorter (10 to 15 years). In the North, the lifetime of the wood deck is 20 to 30 years. If your home is located in Maryland or Virginia, you should expect a life expectancy somewhere between 10 years and 20 years, but it will depend on the amount of humidity and if you have seasonal wood deck maintenance done.

Your wood deck’s long-term sustainability also has to do with the quality of the manufacturing process that was used to prepare the wood materials for the deck.

Wood Deck Maintenance

Let Carlton Cleans take care of your seasonal deck maintenance. With over 20 years of experience we can provide you with a plan to make your wooden deck investment last for years to come. Some of Carlton Cleans wood deck maintenance options include pressure washing, deck cleaning, deck sealing, and deck staining.

Deck Restoration

Is your deck falling apart, has it not been maintained in years? Carlton Cleans can help with a complete deck restoration to make your deck looking its best again. When you consider deck restoration, you may not feel qualified to estimate the condition of the wood deck. How many years of use have you gotten out of it? How much time have you spent cleaning, sealing, and restoring the deck to its original condition? Especially if you have taken over a home without this information, you can benefit from consulting a deck restoration expert. Your well-qualified Virginia deck restoration or Maryland deck restoration expert will provide an estimate so you know exactly what you will have to pay before agreeing to the job.

Contact Carlton Cleans

Keep your wooden deck looking its best with proper wood deck maintenance. Carlton Cleans also specializes in deck cleaning, deck staining, exterior painting, and more. Contact Carlton Cleans today for more information, to schedule an appointment or for a free estimate.

Deck Restoration vs Deck Replacement – Save Your Money

Deck restoration will help you to maintain the investment you’ve made in your home. Your deck is an outdoor extension of your house, providing you the space to both relax and entertain friends. A knowledgeable Deck Cleaning Professional can restore your decks beauty, while applying a protective finish, which will more than double the lifetime of an untreated deck.

Deck Replacement vs Deck Restoration

deck restorationReplacing your deck may cost as much as twenty-times the amount of restoring an existing serviceable deck, and the longer you put off having your deck restoration, the more damage weather can do. Mother nature works day and night, 365 days per year, to destroy your decks integrity. The sun’s UV rays break down the fiber in the wood, leaving your deck vulnerable to further degeneration, even as the damp underside of your deck provides a near-perfect environment for mold, mildew, and fungi to quickly spread. So why wait until your deck loses it’s natural color, or begins to decay and fall apart – when treating it promptly can eliminate these problems?

Hire a Deck Restoration Professional

Hiring a licensed/insured Deck Restoration & Cleaning Specialist, guarantees the best results in maintaining your deck’s appeal and safety for many years to come. Their careful use of pressure washing equipment, along with scrub brushes and hard work; should give your deck a clean, new look. Then by using a preservation product such as high-end penetrating stain, formulated with non-drying oils; your deck should hold up to the harshest weather. Reapplication every 2-3 years is necessary to maintain maximum protection and beauty.

Hardwood Deck Maintenance

Hardwood Deck Maintenance vs Softwood Deck Maintenance

hardwood deck maintenanceAlgae and mold will grow on a hardwood deck like any other surface around the exterior of your home when the environment is moist, warm and shady. When your hardwood deck is covered in algae or mold it gets slippery and unsafe. Carlton Cleans Pressure Washing provides a scrub brush cleaning service followed by wood brightener on hardwood decks such as IPE. We do no use a pressure washer in cleaning hardwood decks. We will remove the unwanted organics restoring the wood to a clean natural state.

Hardwood Deck Maintenance to Restore the Original Look

The service will not restore the wood to the deep wonderful color you saw when the wood was new. The surface color will still be changed from the sun and general out door environment but the algae and mold (green/black) will be removed. The deep colors you saw when the hardwood was new will come out when the wood is wet (after a rain but disappears when its dry) or when a translucent oil is applied. The oil will bring the color back full time for a few months, maybe up to 6 months if the wood is well seasoned. Due to the density of hardwood oil will not penetrate deep thus the short oiled life.

Is Oiling a Hardwood Deck Necessary?

We recommend having regular cleanings to keep the deck safe and beautiful. Continual oiling exterior hardwood is not cost effective, however, if you are have many special occasions during the spring or summer than getting an oil treatment that year may be worth the expense. The linseed oil on a hardwood creates a great wow factor for your party.

Contact Carlton Cleans for Your Hardwood Deck Maintenance Needs

Hardwood decks are a beautiful addition to any home. Keep up with hardwood deck maintenance with Carlton Cleans. Let Carlton Cleans use their experience of hardwood deck maintenance to treat your deck and keep it looking like the day it was installed. Contact Carlton Cleans today via phone (301-906-4446) or contact us on the web.

Restore a Deck

Restore a Deck

restore a deck

When to Restore a Deck

Over time we gradually adapt to changes. In the case of wood decks, its color, strength, and overall appeal starts to fade. Most people become oblivious to it, until friends and family are coming over. If not cared for properly wood can fade and weaken over time. Actually, if a deck is installed without staining and sealing it, you will notice a significant difference within the first month or two! If you have a deck stained and sealed from the start, you will notice a drop in quality in about a year. People begin wondering at this point on how to restore a deck to like-new condition.

Hire a Professional

Making a deck look like new again can greatly improve the image of a house. If someone is planning on increasing their home’s value a little bit, this is a great ice-breaker. Most people love when a new home has a deck. Don’t turn them off with a run-down version of it! To get the most out of a restoration, it’s a great idea to hire a professional. A decking contractor has experience and knowledge of how to keep a deck in its prime-time the longest. This way you don’t have to perform this process more times than necessary.

Steps to Restore a Deck

Step 1 – Scrubbing the Deck

The first step of restoring a deck is to prepare it for staining. Before any staining, the deck should be scrubbed clean. If the deck still has stain on it, it must be removed. We will often use a stain stripper for removing the stain. After the deck has been cleared of any staining and has been cleaned, it’s time to stain and seal the deck.

Step 2 – Staining the Deck

After scrubbing, decks commonly look pretty naked. We need to cover it up with some nice deck staining and a sealant. Choosing a stain color is up to the homeowner, but Redwood has always been a very popular color. Deck staining is a great way to protect a deck from Mother Nature and general wear and tear of use. After you stain your deck, it’s time to seal it. A deck sealant is the best way to protect a deck from water damage. Choose the driest time of year in your area to do this part. We do not want a deck to be ruined because it rained before the deck finishes drying.

Step 3 – Enjoying Your Restored Deck

When all is said and done, we’re left with a beautiful new deck that draws attention. The deck becomes the centerpiece of conversations. Now all that’s left is to grab some furniture and use it at will. Now that’s how you restore a deck!


Best Time to Stain a Deck

Best Time to Stain a Deck

best time to stain a deck

Finding the best time to stain a deck is like selling stocks, and not just because they start with an “s”. Both of them require good timing. With bad timing, you could be better off throwing your money into a wishing-well and hoping for a pretty deck. Most people also have the theory that staining is something that can be done year-round. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The most important thing you need to know about deck staining is that timing matters. Timing is key in terms of weather circumstances. Those of you in a hot southern state such as Florida are most likely warm year round. If you wanted to, you could stain year-round. Your weather is more or less the same. As long as it isn’t raining you can stain. For the rest of us, don’t choose the best weather for outdoor activities because not the best choice of weather conditions.

What Season is the Best Time to Stain a Deck?

What is the best time to stain a deck? Staining is really best done in the fall season because the weather is perfect for most places. If your weather is inconsistent with what we consider “fall time”, then pick the time of the year that more suits your area’s fall. For example, living in a snowy mountainous region wouldn’t be suitable for a deck staining in the Fall. Tt’s probably going to continue snowing significantly more now than if you did it in the summer time. Actually, if you live in a snowy mountain, it would be better to get a screened in porch than a deck… at the very least get a roof for your deck. For the rest of us, spring and summer time is the worst time to do this. Spring time is supposed to be when the rain comes through and the flowers bloom. The only piece we care about is the rain (not to be anti-flowers here). Rain means moisture, and moisture means a ruined deck. Even without the rain, the humidity alone has the potential to ruin your stain. Woods soak in a lot of moistures, making this the opposite of the best time to stain a deck.

The Drier the Better

I know what you’re thinking: “but it’s so cold the rest of the year!” I feel your pain, but as it turns out, September is not too cold for us, but just dry enough to be the best time to stain a deck properly. Really any time between August and October is an ideal time for staining your deck. If you know it’s going to rain this weekend, wait until a dry weekend rolls through (or the driest time for those that can’t escape the wrath of Mother Nature). Depending on your location, the time of year may change slightly. Not to sound like the fine print of a commercial, but for best results choose the driest time of year for your area.

Deck Down Time

Now that you’ve decided when to stain a deck, you want to know how long for stain to dry. You’re in luck! It’s about a day or two, depending on your weather. After the stain/sealant has dried, it’s time to enjoy your new gray deck! Wait, why is my deck gray? To prevent graying (which comes from the Sun shining on a deck without UV protection), use a sealant that has color and UV protection to keep your deck and home exterior looking it’s best. Without UV protection you will notice graying within 3 months of sealing. Finally, when is it time to re-stain? Unfortunately stain doesn’t last a lifetime. You can expect to re-stain your deck every couple of years.

Seek a Professional

There are a lot of things to know when it comes to deck cleaning, staining, and sealing. For this reason, you could save yourself the hassle of Googling the whole weekend. We both know what really happens when you plan on doing home improvement: you look forward to it, prepare for it, and then realize you don’t know how to do it. It is highly recommended, as with all home improvements, to consult or hire a professional. In this case, a local deck repair, deck sealing, or deck staining company would know about what, when, and how to seal a deck. After all, they live in the area and probably have a bit more experience in the field.


Gaithersburg Deck Refinishing

Carlton Cleans provides deck refinishing service with out damaging the wood from high water pressure with our scrub brush cleaning process.  We tighten loose boards observed during the cleaning phase, hammer in popped nails, or replace with screws if a 1/2 inch or more is sticking out of the wood and hand apply Armstrong Clark stain or Sherwin Williams Deckscape, depending on the situation. We provide board replacement services and prior finish stripping and sanding. See the picture below of a Gaithersburg deck recently refinished.  The deck is approximately 15 yrs old and had several coats of poor quality finishes. We cleaned the deck, replaced some boards, and hand applied the stain using Armstrong Clark Cedar Semitransparent.

deck staining services

Deck Refinishing Process

restore a deck deck refinishing

Pressure Washing and Power Washing

As part of the deck refinishing process, Carlton Cleans recommends removing dirt, mold, algae, and fungus from your decks surface.  Pressure washing and power washing have been the primary method of cleaning decks for many years.  Over time, professionals that specialize in deck refinishing projects, have begun to add cleaning chemicals to the deck cleaning process. Adding chemicals to the cleaning process allowed for the use of low water pressure rinsing resulting in less overall wood fiber damage.

Deck Refinishing

At Carlton Cleans we changed the deck cleaning process by removing the use of the high power pressure washer.  Instead, Carlton Cleans uses hand scrubbing and a low-pressure chemical sprayer.  Although more time consuming than high power pressure washing, hand scrubbing is gentle on the wood and prevents unnecessary wood fiber damage.

Additionally, Carlton Cleans uses a lower ratio chemical agent than many other companies.  Our lower chemical ratio is better for the environment yet still effective because of the hand scrubbing process.

What to Expect During Our Deck Cleaning Process

Step 1: Application of cleaning agents

To prevent the cleaner from drying too fast, deck refinishing specialists generally wet the deck prior to the application of the cleaning agents. After a quick wetting of the surfaces, the cleaning chemicals are applied in an even layer.

Step 2: Dwell Time

After the cleaning chemical application, a short but crucial dwell time is needed.

Step 3: Rinse

Once cleaning chemicals have been applied and dwell time is complete your deck must be thoroughly rinsed.

Step 4: Balance pH

The deck cleaning process is then finalized by spraying the deck with a wood brightener to balance the pH for deck refinishing preparation. 

Step 5: Deck Staining

Once your deck has been thoroughly cleaned you will be ready for the next deck refinishing phase.

Contact Carlton Cleans Today

Consider a deck refinishing project to ensure your deck has the protection it needs to sustain everyday life and the outdoor elements. Contact us today for a free quote or to discuss our other home improvement services.

Cabot Australian Timber Oil

Cabot ATO is a fast drying oil that will flash easily including on soft woods. Flashing is when the stain dries creating a shining finish prior to all the stain penetrating into the deck. Always take clean rags and wipe the entire deck to remove non-penetrated stain after the deck is stained prior to finishing for the day. If the deck is large you may need to do this in stages.  Carlton Cleans prefers to use conditioning oil stains like Armstrong Clark which will not flash and will penetrate completely into the deck even if it takes a few hrs.  On hard wood decks Cabot is a fine choice  but stills need to be ragged the same day as application. If Armstrong Clark is used on hard wood decks come back the next morning and rag the excess stain. Call Carlton Cleans for quality deck refinishing at 301-904-4446.

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