Decks are beautiful and can be a wonderful place to host friends and family for outdoor gatherings. They add elegance and finish to an otherwise plain backyard space, but if they’re not properly cared for, they can quickly turn from a nice home addition into a horrible home disaster. Maybe you installed a deck years ago and it is starting to look worn, or maybe you just purchased a home that has a deck in need of some updates. With just a little elbow grease you can turn a tired-looking deck into a polished outdoor oasis. Follow these steps to show you how:
Check for Wood Rot
If there is any wood rot present that will have to be taken care of before anything else can be done. The wood may be more or less resistant to rot depending on the type of lumber that was used, but there is always a possibility for rot. If the rot is not very deep, less than ½ an inch, it can probably be fixed. If it is any deeper than that, though, the board will need to be replaced. To replace a board, use a flat pry to remove the bad boards, then replace them, preferably with rot-resistant wood. Try to get a color close to what you have, but it does not have to be perfect because you will be re-staining the entire deck.
Thoroughly Wash the Deck
First remove any leaves, dust, or debris that you see on the deck, and then purchase a deck cleaner. These products remove mildew, dirt, and oxidation; look for a cleaner that contains sodium per carbonate. You’ll want to wear goggles and gloves while you work to keep your skin and eyes safe. Start by using a stiff bristle brush to scrub the deck’s surface, working in line with the wood grain and not against it. Complete small areas, rinsing often with water. What you are looking for is the reappearance of the wood’s natural tone.
If your deck is big enough to warrant it, you can rent a power washer from your local home repair store. The employees there can walk you through how to use it. Allow the deck to dry completely before moving on to the next step:
Strip the Old Stain
Now that the wood is clean you need to remove its finish. Start with a paint scraper and remove as much of the peeling finish as you can. Next, purchase deck stain remover. You’ll want to cover any plants nearby and tape any nearby siding. Then spread the stain remover onto the deck and wait until the wood is soft enough to be scrubbed off. Use a brush to scrub the product off of the wood. After all the stain is removed, rinse the deck with water and allow to dry completely again.
Repair the Wood
Look for a wood brightener and conditioner to restore the wood to its original glory. These products will bring the original color back to the wood and remove any aged, worn, or gray pieces. Apply this product while wearing goggles, and work on one board at a time. Apply the product with a rag and then scrub with a brush. Allow this to dry, and then rise with water again, and then dry again before moving on to the finish.
Apply the New Finish
You have options here: clear and colored finishes. Options will include labels such as “semi-transparent stain”, “clear sealer” or “opaque stain”. Painting is always an option as well. A clear finish shows off the wood’s natural color better, but has to be reapplied every year. Solid stains will last longer, but are harder to remove when it’s time to go through this process again.
A great deck is a wonderful addition to any home. A deck builder can come in and add value if you are selling and provides endless hours of enjoyment during pleasant seasons. With some nice furniture, a few potted plants, and some sunshine, your deck can quickly become your favorite area of your home.