Guide written by:
Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds
Cleaning your terrace is an absolute must if you want to make the most of the sunny weather. From exotic wood to tiles, each terrace has its own specific care needs. Here’s our guide to getting your wooden, stone or tiled terrace looking as good as new before summer hits!
- Cleaning tools
- Cleaning products
Cleaning up your patio or deck: the main steps
Before you start, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and clear the terrace of garden furniture, parasols, storage boxes or any other items you may have lying around. Once the area has been cleared, all that remains to do is:
- Sweep the space from top to bottom;
- Remove any weeds by hand or using an environmentally friendly weed killer;
- Clean the floor and walls using a scrubbing brush or a pressure washer used on a low pressure setting at a distance of at least 50 cm to avoid damaging coated surfaces (this generally applies to tiles);
- Remove any sap, rust or general stains.
To help protect the environment, it's best to try to use natural weed killers or to work by hand – you might be surprised by what you can achieve with your fingers and thumbs! Nonetheless, a variety of weeding solutions is available, including:
- Ready-to-use organic weed killer: a ready-mixed weed killer made from pelargonic acid;
- A natural, homemade weed killer solution: made of water, iodised salt and white vinegar or boiling water.
Cleaning a stone or tiled patio
Once properly swept, tiled terraces should be washed using the same products as you would apply indoors. Otherwise you can use baking soda and diluted black soap.
Stone terraces can be cleaned using a bit of washing up liquid and water. This an effective and inexpensive solution and, afterwards, you will simply need to hose down the area well using cold water. To protect the stone, you may want to use a special solution designed to maintain its appearance. You can even use a waterproofing product.
Depending on the quality of the joints, it’s probably a good idea to avoid going over them with a pressure washer. Instead, you can use a stiff broom to avoid dislodging any pieces of stone or cement.
Quick tip for removing sap: use some standard household alcohol and a cloth to wipe the stain then rinse with clean water.
Cleaning your timber decking
In order to clean your wooden deck quickly and efficiently, you can:
- Wash with black soap, using 4 tablespoons to every 10 litres of water. Rinse using plenty of water;
- Use diluted washing up liquid (if possible, use an environmentally friendly product to avoid damaging any surrounding plants), then rinse thoroughly;
- Apply a wood cleaner according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
Wooden terraces made from materials like teak (a highly resistant exotic wood) require a thorough cleaning once or twice a year. Remember that it is important to brush in the direction of the wood fibres to properly remove any dried organic deposits (soil, leaves, insects, etc.).
Additional steps for maintaining your deck
Once your wooden deck is clean it may be necessary to apply a treatment to the wood order in order to restore its original colour and to protect it from the sun, mould and insects.
When this step is complete, it's worth remembering that that there are similar guidelines for maintaining your garden dining set. Just like with your deck, you should apply a wood cleaner or brightener and finish off with an oil or saturating oil (a type of wood oil that soaks into the wood and helps to restore colour). These tasks should be done once a year. Most modern wooden decks are made of rot-resistant woods (like teak) that are also naturally resistant to insects. However, if the deck is old and made from a non-exotic wood variety, you will need to protect it against parasites.
Now you’re armed with all the necessary knowledge to tackle your wooden, tiled or stone terrace. All that’s left to do is apply one final ingredient: a spot of elbow grease!
To find out more about garden design and decoration, follow our editors' advice and check out our other guides:
- Garden landscaping, decor and style guide
- Garden furniture buying guide
- Parasol and accessories buying guide
- Pressure washer buying guide
- Hose and reel buying guide
For more unique ideas and inspiration, have a look at the following guides:
Guide written by:
Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds, 107 guides
With a handyman-father, I grew up with the soft sound of the sander and hammer on weekends. I am both manual and cerebral (yes, it is possible.), I learned the basics of DIY and the customization of furniture because I was passionate. The salvage mentality is a true way of life that allowed me to know how to use all the tools and products needed to give something a second life, from sander to varnish. I have two favorite activities: the transformation of old furniture and decoration tips. I am always ready to lend a helping hand to revamp a table or to restore a mirror that was intended for the trash that will become a friend’s centerpiece. I’m convinced that it’s possible to reinvent an interior by small, regular modifications, I constantly research low-cost, test ideas.