Bamboo will be the preferred and popular material in the near future. Not only is it beautiful, but it is also stable, durable, natural and easy to work with. All exterior materials require some form of maintenance and cleaning.
Most stains or mold/mildew are caused naturally or environmentally and do not constitute a manufacturing defect. Just like any other wood product, bamboo decking is not impervious to grease, mud or stains resulting from normal use and environmental conditions. Mold /Mildew is the number one enemy for any decking whether it be bamboo or wood.
Careful maintenance and using the correct cleaning products are very important.
How to improve and extend the life of your decking
- To help prevent mold and mildew, sweep bamboo decking or our other wood surfaces regularly to keep gaps between planks free from debris, especially when pollen is heavy (typically spring and late summer).
- Pitch the deck a sufficient distance from the house for drainage.
- Keep your gutters clean. Overflow from a leaf-clogged gutter is a potential source of food for mold and mildew growth.
- Keep the deck area well ventilated and free of materials that retain moisture, avoid the use of bark mulch around the decking.
- Plants should be placed in large flower pots or planters and swept periodically to prevent mold or mildew from soil runoff and trapped moisture.
- Avoid the use of lawn or plant fertilizer on the deck.
- If snow or ice appears on the surface, a plastic shovel may be used to remove them, but never use a metal snow shovel as it may scratch the surface. Alternatively, use Calcium Chloride or rock salt to melt the snow and ice from the surface.
- To help prevent cooking stains, we suggest that grills be placed on a large mat to reduce the deck's exposure to staining. All food spills should be removed as soon as possible.
- Scuffs and abrasions can fade or disappear naturally. Colour after 12-16 weeks of weathering. But never use acetone or other solvents on bamboo products to maintain the beauty of the surface.
- Before the application of sealers, brush and clean the surface thoroughly to remove dirt and dust. We recommend a high quality mildew/mold killer application on the board surface. High quality mold, mildew and stain remover is available in the market which is especially designed to destroy mold-mildew fungus, dirt, pollutants and pollen.
- You can greatly reduce the greying of your decking by applying a good oil based sealer.
We recommend paying close attention to all of the above factors to ensure your decking stays beautiful for as long as possible.
How to clean your Bamboo decking
These cleaning and maintenance instructions tell you how to remove mold, mildew, odour causing bacteria, berry stains, bird droppings, food (grease/oils), pet faeces/urine, rust and many other stains.
For a lifetime of enjoyment please read the instructions before using a mold/mildew or stain remover or killer.
Do It Yourself items required:
- One 2 - 5 gallon pail,
- One soft and one medium-bristled scrub brush with long pole handles.
- A hand-type pump sprayer will improve liquid mix coverage.
For maximum protection wear:
- safety goggles,
- rubber gloves,
- non-slip shoes and use outdoors only.
Caution: Power Washers, Chlorine bleach or heavy fungicides may cause surface damage, kill flowers, bushes, shrubs and harm the environment.
What you need to clean
To spread liquid mix use:
- A soft-bristle scrub brush and long pole handle.
- A hand-pump sprayer can also be used to spread the mix.
To clean your deck or others:
- a medium-coarse bristled scrub brush works well to agitate the bubbles deep into cracks, crevasses and grooves of decks, fences or other bamboo products.
- Using long pole handles allows you to easily spread and agitate the mix into bubbles without straining.
- A 2.5 gallon pail.
- A squeegee for wiping off excess water drops preventing sun spots (sun drying bubbles of water creates small, dark circle spots)
Caution: power washers will feather, scuff or damage bamboo surfaces. We do not recommend the use of high-pressure washers, since the streams of water will erode the sun-damaged bamboo decks.
The ultraviolet rays of the sun break down sealers and they start to blast apart the bamboo fibres of the decking. These weakened fibres are easily damaged by pressure washers. It will not only splinter the decking but the pressurised water could also find its way deep into the board and bring back with it some of the anti-mildew treatments which were injected during the creation process.
If you must use a pressure washer, insert the 35-degree tip and just use the machine to do the final rinse.
Preparing to clean
- Sweep or blow off decking, removing any loose dirt or particles.
- If there are flowers, bushes, or shrubs near the deck, clear them off before, during (if spattering occurs onto plants) and immediately after cleaning.
- Remove any cleaner mix that may have splashed from brushing or spraying the deck.
First time mixing and cleaning
To remove heavy mold, mildew and stains, or remove winter dirt and grime:
- pour one gallon of mold/mildew or stain remover or Oxygen bleach into a 2.5 gallon pail with one gallon of water (1:1 mix) to clean approximately 400 square feet.
If mold/mildew and stains are not an issue and you simply want to clean and brighten your bamboo decking, add three gallons of water to one gallon of remover (3:1 mix) to clean 1,200 square feet. To clean light mold or mildew problems, a (10:1) mix cleans 4,000 square feet.
How to clean
- Clean a pattern area (Example: 5' x 5' or 8' x 8')
- Railings should be done first.
- Using a soft-bristled scrub brush or hand-pump style sprayer spread the mix evenly over a pattern area.
- After creating a thick layer of bubbles, change to the medium-course brush to agitate the bubbles down and into the cracks, crevasses and grooves of the bamboo surface(s).
- There is no reason to scrub hard to remove the mold/mildew and stains.
- Let the bubbles sit for 10-15 minutes, keep moist, do not let the bubbles dry on the area you are cleaning.
- Rinse bubbles off well using a hose and proceed to another area. Repeat process until finished.
Caution: You can also use a solution of oxygen bleach to clean the outdoor bamboo decking or our other product's surface. Oxygen bleach is not chlorine bleach. Chlorine bleach is toxic to plants and vegetation, can remove the natural colour from bamboo, and also accelerate the corrosion of deck nails, bolts and framing connectors.
Oxygen bleach is a non-toxic powder that dissolves in water. It is not harsh like chlorine bleach; it does not kill surrounding vegetation and does not remove the colour from bamboo either.
Once you mix the oxygen bleach with water, it creates a solution with billions of oxygen ions. These ions can rapidly clean mildew and oxidized decking sealers.
Mold/mildew and Stain Remover kills the spores and fungus’ that feed mold and mildew.
It dissolves and lifts out oils, dirt and grime and brightens as it cleans. The first application usually does the job.
When scrubbing, if coloured bubbles (Brown from dirt, Green from mildew or Black from mold or oil stains) appear, it means you are cleaning a heavy traffic, mold/mildew or deeply stained area.
This area may require a 2nd cleaning before proceeding. Please repeat above step 4. B & C
Wipe off excess droplets with a squeegee to prevent SUN SPOTS (sun dried water droplets).
How to sand your decking or other product?
- Before using the power-sanding machines, countersink all nails, and then start to sand the decking with a coarse sandpaper first, followed by a medium one.
- Be sure to remove dust before you apply the sealer.
How to seal your decking?
- Since bamboo fibre structure is harder than other woods, we suggest you use a water-based epoxy sealer with a synthetic resin.
- This type of resin has a smaller molecular makeup and can penetrate the density of bamboo fibres. Also this synthetic resin has no oil to feed the growth of mildew and can slow down the colour changing procedure (generally changing to grey).
- This kind of sealer needs to be applied very thinly and always needs two coats, with a small amount of drying time between each coating.
Be sure to read the sealer instructions carefully before use.