The only thing worse than having fat Aunt Sally sagging your Virginia Deck is finding mold on it. You must take action as soon as you find the awful stuff because it is health risk to you and your family. The severity and the location of the infestation are both factors in determining what action needs to be taken.
Where the Sun Don’t Shine: Mold on the Underside
It’s all over the ground under your deck. There can be only one answer there: water. Proper drainage and ventilation are key factors in Mildew prevention. A deck built too close to the ground may simply need some added ventilation to allow the moisture to escape.
Your landscape might also have an improper grade that is at best not removing the water fast enough and at worst, trapping water under your deck. If these factors are not the obvious cause a professional opinion may be required. A full scale drainage system might need to be installed to solve to situation, or a complete re-grading of the landscape, to ensure that any water that does end up under your deck doesn’t stay there.
Creeping Crud: On The Deck Itself
The more common variety of Deck Mold and Mildew is usually on the top of the deck itself or on the supports. The strategy you employ to remove the mold will largely depend on exactly what your deck is made of.
I’ve got Wood: It Needs Loving Care
Regretfully, most Wood Deck mold is cause by simple neglect. In all likely hood, the deck hasn’t been sealed or treated in five years or more. The other signs of wear are clear: Are your boards graying, splintering, or cracking?
As long as there is no outright rot, you should be able to restore your deck with a little elbow grease. A bleach and water mixture would be a good start to kill all of the mildew.
When all of the mold is dead, you must sand and treat your deck with an oil-based wood sealer. It seems simple but the results are amazing. A regular five year maintenance plan of resealing should prevent any future occurrence, as the sealer repels the moisture that the mold needs to live. Of course there is always the option of hiring a contractor who is experienced in mold and mildew removal, an expert to resurrect your deck.
Mine is Composite: A Tougher Nut to Crack
Composite materials at one time contained different recycled materials that only helped mold growth. Fortunately they aren’t made that way anymore, but you still can get mold on your Composite Virginia Deck, especially our wetter neighbors. The removal itself is much more difficult. You must use a recommended cleaner that contains Sodium Hypochlorite. You will also need a stiff wire brush and knee pads are also recommended.
After several applications of the cleaner and a lot of hard scrubbing, you will have your beautiful deck back. To prevent a return of the mold you will need to clean your deck regularly with a high pressure nozzle. This is key because the problem begins on a microscopic level and a really high pressure jet of water gets into cracks and crevices you don’t even see.