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On the Fence

A Fresh Take on Fence and Deck Maintenance

Your home is your biggest investment and it takes a lot of maintenance to keep it looking good. Luckily, some home maintenance projects fall into the DIY category - like deck and fence staining. Or do they? We talked to Nic Luttman of EcoFresh Power Wash and we learned a lot.

TCL: Is there a wrong way to stain a wood fence or deck?

Luttman: There are actually more wrong ways to do it than right ways. Most homeowners simply power wash and apply a wood stain and that’s it. What they don’t realize is that the results of all that hard work aren’t going to last very long.

TCL: Why is that?

Luttman:  You have to understand wood and how it reacts to outside forces. Many people like to power wash wood that has turned grey because it looks so good when it’s restored to its original color. But wood is a very soft material. Most power washers can deliver up to 3500 PSI. When you power wash wood with that amount of pressure, you actually tear the wood fibers. You can see the damage in start and stop marks and unnatural textures. This damage leaves it susceptible to the elements and makes it weather faster.

TCL: But then you stain it. Doesn’t that protect the wood?

Luttman: That all depends on the product you use. Many stains don’t fully penetrate the wood fibers which can create a moisture gap leaving the wood open to peeling, chipping, and cracking. It doesn’t take long for it to look grey and weathered again.

TCL: What does EcoFresh do differently?

Luttman: We rely on product versus pressure. We use a three-step cleaning process that raises the dead wood fibers to the surface where they are rinsed off with a softer power wash. The wood looks new and we don’t create additional damage. Our product is environmentally friendly so it’s safe for kids, pets, and the environment. Once the fence or deck is clean, we apply a high-quality stain so it looks good for a long time.

TCL: What makes your stain last longer?

Luttman: Our stain is 100% oil-based. That’s important because it penetrates deeper into the wood forming a seal that is UV and water-resistant. It will not form a film like some other stains on the market. The right processes and products make all the difference. It also allows us to stand behind our work with up to a three-year warranty.

I like to lead with education. Once customers understand what each product does and the great results to expect, they realize that DIY is a lot of work for results that don’t last nearly as long.

TCL: Is there any fence or deck maintenance that homeowners should perform regularly?

Luttman: It’s a good idea to clean decks and fences several times a year with a broom or leaf blower to keep dirt particles and debris off the wood. Rinsing with gentle chemicals will kill any organic growth like mold or mildew.

TCL: How often should fences and decks be stained?

Luttman: We recommend staining your fence every three years. For decking, every two years on horizontal surfaces and every four years on vertical surfaces like railings or spindles.

EcoFresh Power Wash also handles house washing and concrete cleaning in the Topeka area. Visit them at