We love our decks. It is perfect for sitting on watching the sunset. Great for looking over the garden. We use it to entertain. Decks are an extension of our homes. They also are quite an investment. That is why they need to be treated and maintained. Because decks are exposed to the weather all year round, it is a great idea to have an established routine for taking care of the deck to avoid costly repairs.
Starting this fall, start preventive measures. This is a great time to wash and seal your deck. While this is often done in the spring, if you didn’t get to it, now if the time.
As spring comes back around, start with a good wash of the deck. When the deck isn’t washed it allows mould and mildew to grow on the boards. Start by removing all the debris. If there are things between the deck boards, you want to get it out with a putty knife. Look closely at the deck board that goes across the joints. This is the structural support of the decking.
Next, sweep the deck thoroughly. When you are ready, make sure to get an appropriate cleaner. You want to make sure you are using a cleaner that is made for your deck and then follow the directions. Some cleaners want the deck wet first, some do not. There are also different materials that decks are made from, wood, vinyl, and composite.
After cleaning, let the deck dry for 2 days be sealing.
Sealing and staining
When it comes to sealing and staining the deck, you can get it from your local hardware or home improvement store. The typical gallon will cover about 250 square feet of decking. You can use a clear sealer which lets the natural colour of the wood’s grain show through. A toner will add a bit of colour but mostly allows the grain to show through while providing a little coverage from the UV rays. There is also a semi-transparent and solid stain. Each offers protection, but the semi lets the grain still show through, while the solid is opaque.
When to apply a sealer
When using clear sealers and toner, you will need to reapply every year. Stains can be reapplied every other year. Make sure to wear gloves, safety mask, and eye protection when using these stains and sealers.
You want to make choose a time frame where you know you will have 2 days of clear skies and moderate temperatures. First, lightly sand the deck. Use a pole sander and 80 grit paper. This will remove anything left behind from washing.
Next, fix any missing or popped nails or screws. Pound in any nails that are starting to back out and stick up.
Applying sealer or stain
Apply the sealer or stain. Use a roller to apply the sealer to the decking. You will want to cover 3 to 4 boards at a time. Use brushes and smaller rollers to seal the railings, planters, and benches. Do not let the sealer dry or puddle. Two thin coats are better than one thick coat.
Once the deck is dry, you are good to go. Remember to check the state of the deck every year and keep up with the yearly or bi-yearly maintenance.