Like all products that are exposed to the outdoors, a deck top of Cedar (as well as any other wood or manufactured decking) will become dirty and require some routine maintenance. A deck that is kept free of dirt and debris, both on the deck surface as well as underneath to allow airflow, will last longer and look better.
Annually, your deck should be inspected thoroughly and cleaned for optimum results, whether you plan on re-staining it or allowing it to go naturally grey.
Start by giving your Cedar deck a good sweeping and remove any leaves or other debris underneath the deck. Depending on how dirty the deck is, you can use a pressure washer fitted with a fan tip to loosen any stuck-on dirt if needed. Be sure to set the pressure to around 500 psi to 600 pounds per square inch (psi); any higher could cause the grain to come up or cause damage to the decking boards.
While there are many deck cleaners available on the market, we have found a solution of warm water, TSP (trisodium phosphate), and a small amount of bleach (or powdered oxygen bleach like Oxiclean) to work really well and be very cost-effective. Spray the solution on with an inexpensive garden sprayer, let sit about 5 minutes, scrub with a soft bristle cleaning brush where needed, and then rinse with thoroughly water. This should bring the Cedar deck top back to almost new condition. For help with specific problems or stains, check out our blog on those by clicking HERE.
We supplied the Clear, Western Red Cedar decking for this project a little over a year ago. Our customer just recently gave it an annual good cleaning, and as you can see, the deck top is brought back to “like new” condition.
For the best results, thoroughly inspect your Western Red Cedarsiding, trim, and/or decking first for any damage, mildew, and dirt. Make any necessary repairs, then clean the Cedar with warm water and phosphate-free soap. If necessary, a stiff bristle (non-metallic) brush can be used. If there is mold or mildew (brown or black spots), it needs to be killed with a commercially available mildew killer/cleaner or warm water and oxygen bleach. Should water staining be evident, scrubbing the wood with an oxalic acid solution can be effective for removal.
If there is old paint or solid color stain that is peeling and cracking, you will likely need to remove the old finish before removing any mold or mildew. First, scrape away all loose, cracked, or peeling finish. In severe cases, all the old products must be removed and must be done with extreme care not to damage the wood underneath. Should old paint or solid color stains not require full removal, you can feather the edges of the product to the bare wood that has mold or mildew on it by careful sanding. Clean it thoroughly, rinse with clean water, and dry completely.
A pressure washer may be used for cleaning your Western Red Cedar; however, great care should be taken. Use a low setting so that the grain is not raised or damaged is caused to the wood.
If your Wester Red Cedar lumber has greyed and you would like to restore it back to its original color, that can be done fairly easily using commercially available wood brighteners following the manufacturer’s directions after you have sanded the exposed surface of the Cedar.
After you are certain your Cedar is completely dry after it is cleaned, it is time to refinish. When choosing a refinishing product, it should be the same type as the original finish. Old latex should be replaced with latex, and old oil-based finishes should be replaced with new oil-based finishes, with the exception of latex being able to be put on top of old oil-based finishes. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions no matter which product you choose, and make sure that it is specifically formulated to help control extractive bleeding and is approved for use on Western Red Cedar.
Caution: Film-forming finishes such as lacquer, shellac, urethane, and varnish are NOT recommended for use on Western Red Cedar in exterior applications and should be removed with great care.
ZomeTek/Apollo Composite Decking is made from 100% recycled content by mixing natural bamboo fiber and recycled plastics, along with additives to prevent mold and mildew; this decking line will provide years of service with minimal maintenance. Backed with a 25-year residential limited warranty (10-year when used on commercial properties), this decking is strong, resists stains, mold, mildew, and moisture, and can withstand high traffic, rain, snow, ice, salt, and sand, and never requires painting, staining or sealing.
Zometek Color Options
ZomeTek’s xBEAM bamboo composite deck planks are extruded from unique, high-pressure, and temperature machines, which results in each piece being consistent in size and length each and every time. The xBEAM deck planks’ interior has 6 hollow chambers that reduce the weight of each plank. In addition, the hollow channels mean there is less expansion and contraction. Each board is 5×5” wide and 1” tall, and all 5 beautiful colors are available in 12, 16, or 20-foot lengths. The ZomeTek xBeam deck planks can be installed by face screwing the boards or with a hidden fastener system and installed using either surface (Ridged or Brushed).
Complimenting Fascia, Stair Treads, Trim, Post Sleeves, Base Collars, and Post Caps are available in all the same colors as the deck planks. Please note ~ like most manufactured products, ZomeTek xBeam deck boards and their accessories may have slight color variations from piece to piece. This is due to naturally occurring variations in the bamboo and recycled plastic. Therefore, we recommend purchasing all the decking materials at the same time as manufacturing runs can produce slightly different colors.
Qualifies for Low Emitting Materials: Flooring Systems
25 yr residential warranty
10 yr commercial warranty
General ZomeTek xBeam Deck Plank Installation Directions
ZomeTek deck planks cut and work just like real wood, so special tools are not required for cutting or installation. ZomeTek does recommend using a 60-tooth carbide-tipped blade.
Before installing, be sure all existing framing is sound and meets your local building codes. To comply with the manufacturer’s recommendations and maintain warranties, the decking joists must be a maximum of 16” on center, and proper slope for drainage must be maintained.
xBeam deck planks can be installed by face-screwing or with a blind screw. CAMO is an approved installation method, as well ~ please follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation.
All materials do expand and contract as temperatures rise and fall. Always leave an appropriate gap between deck planks, which do vary based on the length of the plank being installed. Please print the zometek_installation_guide for specifics, as well as more detailed installation instructions.
General ZomeTek xBeam Deck Plank Maintenance
For general cleaning, the deck can be sprayed off with a hose to remove surface debris. A mild dish soap mixed with warm water and a soft-bristle brush may be used to remove dirt and/or debris from the grooves or texture, then thoroughly rinsed with water. A thorough cleaning using an approved cleaner is recommended twice per year. For a list of approved cleaners, please visit www.zometek.com.
To remove light stains caused by food, grease, or oil, if mild dish soap and warm water do not remove the stain, try using Simple Green. The sooner the spill is cleaned up, the easier it will be to remove.
Pressure washers may be used with a maximum of 1500 PSI. Use a fan tip and keep a distance of at least 8-10” from the deck surface.
Made from high-quality Western Red Cedar, renowned for even grain, weather resistance, thermal insulation, and longevity, our pre-stained or pre-primed shingles are available in natural, sanded, and grooved finishes, as well as fancy cuts.
Readily available “off the shelf” (as a special order) in 6 beautiful colors, as well as a transparent Cedar Tone, or in any custom color desired, including treatment with bleaching oil, our pre-stained Western Red Cedar Shingles can add a stunning signature look to any building, combined with lasting durability.
“Off The Shelf” Semi-Solid Oil Stain Colors
Red Cedar Transparent Stain available with a 5-year warranty
Bleached Shingles are a mix of 50/50 Bleaching Oil and Cabot Driftwood Grey Stain
Custom pre-stained shingles are available using a quality brand of oil-based semitransparent, semi-solid, or solid one-coat finishes, including General Paint Products. Custom colors available.
Pre-stain and pre-prime (in grey or white) is available for natural, grooved, sanded, and fancy cut shingles
For more information on the grades, sizes, and definition of Western Red Cedar shingles, please check out our previous blog post by clicking HERE
Installation and Care of Western Red Cedar Shingles
Western Red Cedar Shingles owe their beauty, color, durability, and resistance to decay and insects to the presence of natural tannins produced during normal growth. These natural extractives in Western Red Cedar are water-soluble and may lead to discoloration of finishes on the exposed surface of the shingle. Discoloration from extractives usually appears when moisture from inside the home travels through the shingle to the exposed surface. As the moisture evaporates, it may leave reddish-brown vertical streaks. This discoloration is not caused by the stain, the paint, or any manufacturing process.
Cedar Shingles should always be stored in a dry, well-ventilated location. You must keep
the product dry throughout the application process. You also must take steps to minimize or eliminate interior sources of moisture before and after sidewall shingle application, including, but not limited to the following:
Maintain low interior humidity levels (this is the most common source of extractive discoloration)
Ensure proper ventilation during drywall installation, texture spraying, painting, or any other process which increases the humidity inside the building. It is more likely that extractive bleeding will occur if these processes are not completed prior to the application of the sidewall shingles
Apply over dry panels (OSB or plywood)
Use kiln dried studs
To minimize the potential for extractive discoloration, our supplier ensures that the shingles are dried to a moisture content that is less than 15%. They also coat the entire shingle with a primer, paint, or stain. Shingles coated with an oil-based solid primer that have a finished coat applied over the primer are less likely to experience extractive discoloration. Semi-solid, semi-transparent, and clear stains offer less protection.
Extractive discoloration may also be caused by external sources such as rain, dew, and/or water from a faulty roof and gutter drainage. These water sources combined with dust and other matter may cause stains on the exposed area of the shingle, which is not the failure of the shingle, paint, or stain.
Stain absorption may vary due to the density and/or porosity of old-growth Western Red Cedar fiber, as well as color variations in the actual shingles. The final color of the stain and how it adheres/absorbs into the material will vary. Due to this, color matches are not guaranteed to exactly match any previous sample or order.
In some cases, certain coatings are “1 coat only” applications. However, a second field coating is recommended after the stain has cured for best stain performance. Prior to any field coating, test a small inconspicuous area for proper absorption. Back brushing is recommended. Be sure not to over-apply the stain or paint.
Limited warranties on coating/finishes are offered through the coating/finish manufacturer.
“Off the Shelf” Colors, as well as Pre-Primed & Pre-Stained Shingles are brought in per order and do require a small lead time. Sorry, we are unable to accept any returns or exchanges on special order items, such as these.
Because Western Red Cedar and Alaskan Yellow Cedar is only grown in the Pacific Northwest, where Cedar Country is located, we are YOUR premium source for Cedar Shingles and Shakes. We ship nationwide from one bundle or carton to full truckloads and extremely competitive pricing ~ even with freight.
The surfaces of finished Western Red Cedar decks, siding, and trim boards exposed outdoors inevitably become dirty and may also be discolored by mildew, algae, and moss. These natural elements slowly erode any previously applied finishes, and as a result, all exterior cedar requires regular cleaning and maintenance to perform and look its best. The degree of maintenance required depends on local conditions, the type of finish used, and the end-use of the cedar building materials.
DISCOLORATION OF FINISHES ON WESTERN RED CEDAR
Western Red Cedar enjoys a well-deserved reputation as a wood that takes and holds a range of finishes for extended periods. Nevertheless, a finish’s usual lifespan will be shortened by degradation and discoloration. The causes of discoloration often require a remedial treatment.
Dirt is the most benign cause of discoloration. A periodic cleaning with a mild, non-phosphate detergent solution will usually restore the surface finish.
Mildew is a common form of discoloration of paints and stains caused by staining fungi. Re-staining does not solve a mildew problem. When it is time to refinish, clean off the mildew with a mild bleach solution (oxygen bleach is preferred) or commercial mildew remover. After the wood has been thoroughly rinsed and allowed to dry, refinish with a coating that contains an effective mildewcide.
Tip: A simple test for the presence of mildew on the coating can be made by applying a drop or two of a fresh solution of liquid household bleach (containing 5 percent sodium hypochlorite) to the stained area. The dark color of mildew will usually bleach out in 15 to 30 seconds. Discoloration that does not bleach is due to other factors and requires further investigation.
Discoloration due to extractive bleeding is usually caused by moisture. To stop stains caused by extractive bleeding, the moisture source must be eliminated. Mild staining is often washed away by rain over a period of weeks. In sheltered areas of a building where the stain persists, it may become darker with age and more difficult to remove. If washing with a mild detergent solution does not work, applying a mild oxalic acid solution has been proven to be effective in removing water, tannin, or iron stains. Commercial cleaners are also available if the stain remains; prime the area with an alkyd primer and topcoat with a latex coating.
Iron stains may appear in two forms: the reddish-brown discoloration caused by rust or blue-black discoloration caused by the reaction of iron from nails and other metal objects with extractives from the Western Red Cedar. To prevent these stains, use only hot-dipped
galvanized, aluminum, or stainless steel nails when fastening cedar. To clean areas affected by iron stains, use a commercial cleaner from your local home building center. In situations where the stain has penetrated the wood surface, light sanding or brushing may be required.
Water stains often occur in combination with extractive bleeding and mildew growth. These stains can be difficult to remove. Scrubbing the cedar with a dilute oxalic acid solution is sometimes
Caution: Handle oxalic acid solution with care as it can be harmful – carefully follow the
Chalking, the release of pigment and degraded resin particles, results from weathering of the paint’s surface. It is a degradation of the paint film, not the cedar. Chalking is a common cause of fading in tinted or colored paints.
PEELING, BLISTERING OR FLAKING
Paint failure such as peeling, blistering, or flaking is often associated with moisture build-up behind the paint and poor adhesion of the paint film to the underlying wood. This problem is exacerbated if the paint is applied to weathered wood.
REGULAR MAINTENANCE EXTENDS THE LIFE OF BOTH FINISH AND DECKING
A deck that dries after wetting will last longer than one that stays damp. Ongoing maintenance practices for cedar decks include: allowing proper water drainage; keeping the surface free of dirt, leaves, tree needles, and other debris; moving planters, benches, and other deck accessories from time to time to permit the deck beneath them to dry thoroughly and ensuring that the ventilation under the deck is not inhibited.