A well-stained deck provides protection as well as the look of luxury. Still, debris such as mud can cause serious aesthetic flaws in any deck. Additionally, stains such as mud often carry with them bio-matter that can serve as a catalyst for mold and mildew. Fortunately, several methods are available for eliminating mud stains on outdoor home additions such as decks.
Fresh and Light Stains
If the mud stains are only a few days old and not heavy, clean the deck as you would clean a kitchen floor, with a cleaning chemical applied with a mop or sponge. In-home chemicals such as bleach or ammonia are too harsh for a stained deck; instead, use chemicals such as sodium percarbonate or other gentle cleansing agents. Spread a diluted mixture of cleanser and water on the deck, and work it into the stain, freeing any mud debris. Once the stain is thoroughly cleaned, rinse the soap and dirt away with fresh water.
Larger mud stains, or stains that have had time to set, require a more powerful solution. In these cases, particles of mud are lodged in tiny crevices in the stain on the deck. Free these particles and remove mud stains with a pressure washer, which pushes water out at high enough speeds to blast particles of dirt out of areas small enough that even mops and brushes cannot get to them. The force from a pressure washer allows the spray gun to blast mud particles right off the deck, often without using solvents or cleaners. Because the spraying power of a pressure washer is so great, use a fanning tip attachment to divest the area of the water, or part of the wood stain may be removed along with the mud.
Staining With Mold
Because mud often carries particles of organic matter, mold and mildew are often found inhabiting or originating from mud stains. These pests can spread from the stain to the deck and even feed on the wood. Remove mold and mildew with a scrub brush and high concentrations of sodium percarbonate and gentle soap. These chemicals bleach out mold while also lifting mud stains from the deck.
Stains Before Finishing
Occasionally, a mud stain becomes apparent only after staining. Fixing a mud stain that occurred before wood staining requires that the homeowner remove the wood stain around the mud with paint thinner or other stain removal chemical. Once exposed, wash the mud off with soap, water and sodium percarbonate, and then re-stain the surface. Some discoloration may result since the stain is fresh compared to the rest of the deck.
Sean Russell has been writing since 1999 and has contributed to several magazines, including "Spin" and "Art Nouveau." When not writing, Sean helps maintain community gardens in Silver Lake and Echo Park, California. Russell also worked extensively on the restoration and rejuvenation of public parks in Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi after damage from 2004-2005 hurricanes.