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Cleaning a Redwood Deck

Question: I have a redwood deck that looks dirty and weathered. It is about 7 years old, the redwood is still in perfect condition. I would like to bring it back to its natural redwood beauty. Can it be done? If so how?

Answer: Many homeowners prefer to see the aged look of the redwood, however if you would like to restore your redwood deck to its natural colors and appearance, the rich red colors, there are many things that you can do depending on the cause and origin of the discoloration that you now see.

Much of the changes in the redwood decks color is caused by UV rays from the sun and its exposure to moisture, primarily as rain, but high humidity and snow in the Northern regions can create the same effect.

You can remove the staining on redwood decks, caused by UV and moisture, by following these simple steps:

  1. Using a solution of one part trisodium phosphate (you can buy trisodium phosphate at most big box home improvement retailers and hardware stores under the label TSP) mixed with one part household bleach and 16 parts water, scrub the redwood deck with a stiff bristle brush.
  2. Once the solution prepared in step 1 is dry apply a solution of 1 part oxalic acid crystals and 32 parts warm water over the redwood deck using a mop. Oxalic acid crystals should be available at your local paint store.
  3. After the oxalic acid has dried, wash down the deck with water.

Additional information on finishing, restoring, maintaining redwood decks.