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Deck Maintenance Made Easier with Redwood

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Redwood is one of nature’s low-maintenance building materials, with unparalleled natural resistance to insects and decay—and fire. Year after year, redwood’s beauty endures. And even better, it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to maintain your redwood’s natural beauty.


Start with the Finish

Applying a finish can help keep your redwood looking wonderful for years and lock in the color and look you want. Water-repellant finishes with UV protection and a mildewcide offer the most protection, while slightly tinted stains will last longer than completely clear finishes. Redwood’s unique cell structure lets it hold a finish better than other woods, so simply refinishing your redwood every few years can keep it looking great.

Taking this step with your deck is not a requirement, though. Many homeowners choose to let their redwood age gracefully, taking on a distinct gray, weathered look over time.

Make a Clean Sweep

It takes only a few minutes a week, but the simple task of keeping your deck surface clear of debris such as fallen leaves or dust and dirt goes a long way in keeping the look you love. Redwood won’t stain like composites and plastics, so you don’t have to worry about barbecue grease or red wine leaving a permanent mark.

Dirt and dust may build up to the point that a mere sweep of the broom or rinsing with water from a hose will not remove them. A mild detergent and warm water will generally remove stubborn dirt and grime.

Then, once a year, check your deck for any loose boards, raised nail heads, or signs of wear in the support structure. Taking time to address small issues right away helps keep them from becoming bigger problems in the future.

Refinish As Needed

No finish lasts forever, so when a finish has deteriorated to the point of faded pigment, cracking, or peeling, it’s time to refinish.

Homeowners can find a variety of cleaning and color restoration products (oxalic acid-based wood brighteners) that will enliven a deck’s finish. Power washing is also an effective way of removing old finish and grime and preparing for a new finish. A fine, high-powered spray effectively removes loose materials without damaging the wood – but if a homeowner is not highly experienced in handling a power washer, he or she should hire a professional to do this step.

Galvanized nail heads should be set below the surface to protect the coating and prevent nail stains.

Then, simply finish your deck as you originally did, to continue enjoying your natural redwood for many more years to come.

Redwood has a legendary durability that holds up to the elements with natural beauty, while giving you years of care-free performance with heartwood that is distinctively elegant and naturally resistant to insects and decay. It’s those natural qualities that help keep maintaining a redwood deck so easy. For more deck maintenance tips, visit

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Charlie Jourdain
More about Charlie Jourdain

Charlie Jourdain is president of the California Redwood Association. Founded in 1916, the California Redwood Association is one of the oldest trade associations in the lumber industry. From the very beginning, the association’s primary mission has been to promote redwood products and educate builders and consumers on the advantages of using redwood. To learn more about redwoods, visit the CRA at

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7 responses to “Deck Maintenance Made Easier with Redwood”

  1. Nanci says:

    I have a redwood deck (milled the lumber in Ukiah, CA 30 years ago). This past summer (2013) I needed to replace a board. I called all over Seattle looking for a piece of redwood. I was laughed at at each lumber store – “good luck finding redwood in Seattle” I was told. Where would I find a supply of redwood in the Seattle/Tacoma area?

  2. john says:

    I put a redwood deck in beginning of summer, coated it with Thompson water sealer, my deck looks horrible, it gets beat on by sun all day everyday please can anyone tell me how to fix it, it looks horrible.

    • Samayas says:

      My redwood deck looked absolutely dreadful after finishing it with Thompson water sealer. Tried to scrub it off, powerwash, light chemical cleansers, no dice.

      Eventually, I rented a big round sander (I think it was called random orbit) from Home Depot, and sanded it off. Took three or four times over with each of three different grits, a whole lot of work & time for me.

      By the time I got the Thompson water sealer off, the wood was sanded down so much that the heads of some of my deck screws were above deck, even though they’d started out in proper little indentations. Those screws I replaced with slightly larger deck screws.

      When everything was wood brightened clean, I refinished with Cabot wood toned deck & siding stain, a translucent oil stain. I chose natural & cedar finish, mixed, though I believe there was also a redwood. I bought extra stain to last me a few years.

      Since then I have cleaned & re-stained with the Cabot every couple of years & I am very happy with my deck.

      Were you ever able to repair/replace the finish on your deck to your satisfaction?

      PS. I shudder every time I see a can of Thompson’s Water Seal at the home IMPROVEMENT (hah!) store.

  3. Govind Singh says:

    I’ve California Redwood Deck 25 years old.
    Needs powerwash , mildewcides, water repellent, ultraviolet protection.

    What is appropriate commercially available product?

  4. jenny says:

    It is the website so useful now to get the free fans online and you can have the followers online.

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  6. Lara Johnson says:

    Redwood is that precious and it enhances the beauty and also the easier maintanenance Find help with academic writings from buy admission essays

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