How do you remove sap from a deck?
September 10, 2005 5:44 PM   Subscribe

We have an enormous [pine|spruce] tree dripping sap all over our deck. What's the best way to get the sap off?

I googled a bit and some people recommended mineral spirits. That got a bit off, but not much. Hopefully someone here knows the magic secret.

(I noticed that the previous owners actually painted over some old sap! Apparently they didn't know the secret either.)
posted by agropyron to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
Use a propane blow torch to heat the sap until it turn to a liquid and then wipe it off with a paper towel. But it will stain the deck, you can't paint over it and you have to be careful not to scorch the wood. The sap stain will seal the wood, so if you can get a nice even coating... Also having a fire extinguisher or a big bucket of water around is a good idea because the stuff is flammable.

If you are looking for a way to make you deck look new again after sap gets on it, I have no idea.
posted by 517 at 5:56 PM on September 10, 2005

I use contact cement cleaner (Wilsonart etc)- the kind you use for cleaning up formica installations. Works better than any of the dozen products I've tried to remove sap without letting it soak into the wood. Especially good for taking sap off of car finishes, too.
posted by ptm at 7:44 PM on September 10, 2005

I've used a high pressure water sprayer (the kind with a gasoline engine that develops about 2000 psi) to strip everything down to the wood. It leaves even weathered wood looking like it was brand new lumber.

You must be really careful using these as they can spray right through a shoe and do terrible damage to your foot.
posted by RMALCOLM at 8:21 PM on September 10, 2005

Turpentine always works for getting it off hands, I don't know about decks...
posted by bubukaba at 8:31 PM on September 10, 2005

Alcohol or turpentine.

If you want to try heat, get a heat gun. Applying a flame from a torch to pine pitch is a recipe for a fire.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:05 AM on September 11, 2005

Isn't turpentine some kind of pine/fir product anyway? If so, it makes sense it would dissolve the sap. Anybody who knows more about this than I do, jump right in.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 8:35 AM on September 11, 2005

Response by poster: Turpentine will be pretty bad for the existing paintjob, right? ptm, will contact cement cleaner be ok on the paint? Since we're constantly getting more sap, it would be nice to be able to take it off every couple of weeks without having to repaint.

Sounds like sap is a major problem. :|
posted by agropyron at 8:56 AM on September 11, 2005

Seriously, try soaking it with alcohol. If the paint is anything you should have on a deck, alcohol won't touch it. Isopropyl alcohol, at least 90%.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:21 AM on September 11, 2005

Response by poster: I'll give it a try, thanks.
posted by agropyron at 12:28 PM on September 11, 2005

If you've got any orange-oil based cleaner in the house you should give that a try.
posted by The Monkey at 3:47 AM on September 12, 2005

« Older MySQL, OS X, and a corrupted table.   |   How to get clean shirts to not develop stale smell... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.