Outdoor Surface Cleaning Blog

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Lichen on Your Wood Deck? Get Rid of it.

Are you not sure what that green, crusty looking stuff on your deck is? Most likely it’s lichen, a combination of fungi and algae. If you don’t like the look it is giving your outdoor structure, do yourself a favor and get rid of it!

Lichen is found in most parts of the country and is made 90% of fungus and 10% algae. Normally it has a green/grey color but it can be yellow, red or even blue depending on the type of algae. Lichen normally grows in damp, shaded areas. With most of the growth occurring in the spring and fall, it can grow on both horizontal and vertical surfaces.

Lichen won’t damage your deck, fence or other wood surface. Alga is photosynthetic meaning it creates its own energy through sunlight. Because it can make its own energy, lichen doesn’t need to take nutrients from whatever it is growing on. That’s why you will often see lichen on structures that aren’t alive, like wood decks or stone walkways.

Just because lichen isn’t damaging the structure of your space, doesn’t mean that you should definitely keep it. Because of its grayish/green color, lichen can make your outdoor spaces look old and weathered. Additionally, it holds moisture and become unsafe to step on. It can be extremely slippery depending on its size and the amount of lichen in the area.

Take a look at this deck with built in benches in Johnson County, Kansas. Doesn’t it look terrible? The bench doesn’t look like a nice place to sit and enjoy a glass of wine, does it? I know I wouldn’t want to sit on that for fear of my clothes turning green. While some homeowners may have taken the amount of lichen as a sign they needed to replace decking boards, or even the entire structure, this homeowner luckily called Renew Crew of Johnson County. Renew Crew’s three step deck cleaning process not only got rid of the lichen, but also the mold and greying wood fibers from the entire space.

Talk about an after shot! The deck looks brand new! Lichen doesn’t need a harsh cleaner or chemical to kill it, but our environmentally friendly deck cleaner is able to eliminate the lichen and loosen any dirt as well as any dead grey wood fibers. The foaming cleaner clings to the surface allowing it to do its job and loosen the organism’s grip on the deck.

After allowing the foam to penetrate, Renew Crew uses a low pressure wash to rinse everything away. If you were watching the process, this is where you would see the largest difference.

The last step in our process is applying a protectant to the space that stops the wood from looking weathered again too quickly. For this project, Renew Crew of Johnson County used our Cedar color finish.

If you have questions regarding cleaning your decks, or any other outdoor surface, please contact your local Renew Crew office.