Have you noticed your wooden patio deck turning green. Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common problem experienced by homeowners. It typically doesn’t happen overnight, but months or years of exposure to moisture can turn an otherwise clean patio deck to a yucky green-tinted mess.
Not only is a green patio an eye sore, but it can also cause structural damage if left unchecked. So, what causes this phenomenon and how to protect your patio from it?
What is the ‘Green Stuff?’
The green stuff that forms of patios is typically either mold, mildew or algae. Although you can’t see it — not without a microscope, at least — wood contains thousands upon thousands of small holes in its surface. These holes, also known as “pores,” are constantly absorbing and releasing moisture, depending on the surrounding environment. When the environment is humid and moist, they absorb moisture. When it’s dry, they release moisture.
A wooden patio may turn green when excess moisture is held inside the pores for a long period of time. Mild, mildew and algae thrive in moist conditions such as this. If the wooden patio doesn’t dry out, it may develop a slimy film while simultaneously turning green.
Increase Sun Exposure
There are steps you can take to protect your wooden patio from turning green, however, beginning with increasing the amount of sunlight it receives. Sunlight discourages mold, mildew and algae from growing in several ways. First and foremost, it dries up excess moisture. Secondly, the ultraviolet (UV) rays can destroy many forms of fungi on contact.
You can’t necessarily control the direction of the sun, but you can remove overhanging branches or brush that’s obstructing sunlight from reaching your patio. Even if only half of your patio is shaded, that half may turn green while the other doesn’t. The bottom line is that your patio needs direct sunlight to keep mold, mildew and algae at bay.
Ensure Proper Runoff
Does water collect and pool up in certain areas of your patio instead of draining off? If so, this could contribute to it turning green. Along with darkness, mold, mildew and algae thrive in moist environments. When water collects on a patio, it creates the ideal environment in which these microorganisms can thrive.
Normally, runoff isn’t a problem with traditional wood plank patios. Excess water will flow through the cracks and crevices between the wood planks. There are times, however, when this doesn’t happen. Maybe the wood planks are sealed, or perhaps they were constructed unevenly. Regardless, you need to ensure your patio has proper runoff; otherwise, it may develop mold, mildew and algae.
Remove Leaves and Debris
You should also get into the habit of removing any leaves, pine straw and other debris from your patio deck. When yard debris such as this accumulates, it increases the risk of mold, mildew and algae. Again, these microorganisms thrive in moist, dark environments. If there’s leaves covering your patio, the wood planks underneath will remain dark and moist.
Whether you use a push broom or leaf blower, clean your patio at least once a week to discourage it from turning green.
Restoring Your Patio’s Color
If your wooden patio deck has already turned green, you can typically restore its color by cleaning off the mold, mildew or algae. Start by pressure washing your patio, beginning with the lowest PSI setting and gradually increasing it until you find a PSI that works. You don’t want to use the highest PSI setting, as this may damage the wooden planks. Once you find a pressure setting that’s strong enough to remove the green slime without damaging the wooden planks, you should be able to clean your patio.
The Spruce also recommends cleaning green patios with a homemade solution of vinegar and Borax. After hosing down your patio — either with a pressure washer or garden hose — combine 1/2 cup part distilled white vinegar and 1/2 cup Borax in warm water and place the mixture into a spray bottle. While wearing protective rubber gloves, spray the solution onto your wooden patio, allowing it to sit for five or so minutes. Once soaked into your deck, scrub your deck by hand until it comes clean.
What About Concrete Slab Patios?
While wooden decks are most susceptible to this phenomenon, concrete slabs can also turn green. Like wood, concrete is also highly porous; thus, offering the perfect breeding grounds for mold, mildew and algae. Protecting a concrete slab patio from turning green requires a similar approach as wooden patios, however. This includes keeping it dry, well-lit with sunlight and ensuring proper runoff. And if your concrete slab patio has turned green, you can clean it by pressure washing it or using the vinegar and Borax solution as described above.
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