Tips for decks

How to best clean wood and what products to use

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

Q: We just cleaned our cedar deck with a product that smells like bleach. We also used a pressure washer (before reading in your column that we probably shouldn't) and now the deck is gray and fuzzy. We also put on a coating of Thompson's Water Seal, but it didn't help. Is there anything we can do now to make the deck look better? --Gary B. A: Your first step is to remove the gray appearance and the fine, fuzzy layer – which is actually wood fiber that's been torn up by the impact of the high-pressure water. Depending on the severity of the "fuzz," you can do this with a stiff nylon brush, or you may need to actually sand the deck. If you have to sand it, first make sure the deck is completely dry. Then I would suggest starting with 40- or 50-grit paper and working up to 80- to 100-grit. Don't go any finer then that, as this will actually smooth out the wood too much and lessen the ability for the finish to penetrate.  Depending on the size of your deck, you may want to use ...