It’s that time of year. You’ve been spending some time outside cooking out and enjoying being out in the back yard and you notice it. It isn’t really obvious to you because you’re too busy enjoying your life to notice it. But it is there. You’ve had guests over and they didn’t say anything because it isn’t something you tell people, especially when you’re in someone’s home as an invited guest, but it is time: time for a little DIY Deck Maintenance.
Hey, maintaining your deck is a labor and time intensive job. Done right, completing deck maintenance can last up to 2 maybe 3 years depending on the quality of wood the deck was built with and how badly the deck needed maintenance to begin with. The square footage of your deck can also be a factor in how much time it takes to complete the DIY Deck Maintenance check list. Deck Maintenance can be a DIY job but if you don’t have the time or more importantly the positive energy to complete the project well, then it is better that you hire a professional to do it. Having your deck properly maintained can extend the life and the look and functionality of your deck for years to come.
If you don’t own a good power washer, turn to your local Equipment Rental store to rent a good one. A pressure washer that runs at 1200 PSI should get the job done. Anything more than 1500 PSI may damage the wood fibers of your deck. More is not always better. Always aim the wand away from the deck or windows when you first start. Power washing, believe it or not, is a skill that requires patience and a firm arm. Do not rush this step (or any of the steps). Getting the dirt and grime that has built up by power washing it opens up the pours of the wood to accept the paint or stain. Making sure that the washing job is even and that every board on your deck is clean will make a difference in the end result.
Read the instructions of any deck and wood cleaner you choose carefully. Many contain bleaches or detergents and most need to be kept wet in the process as to not dry out the wood. You may clean the deck in sections using a synthetic brush to get into the wood. This step may require some hands and knees work. Use a lighter pressure from the power washer to remove the cleaner.
If a board has warped, plan on replacing it. Check all the screws to make sure they have not loosened since the last season. Use a low grade sand paper to sand any splinters that may have resulted from your pressure washing.
This is a more important step that most people realize. If the deck has not been allowed to thoroughly dry and you jump to staining or painting your deck too soon, your deck will begin to warp. The wood needs to dry completely. Take into account the humidity and rain, if you get any between steps. If you planned on making this a DIY week-end warrior project, it may take two to three week-ends to complete. Better not to rush the last and final step. The consequences for painting your deck before it is completely dry can ruin the wood of your deck.
You have lots of choices for deck stain and paint these days. If the color of the deck before you began maintenance was not very good, you may want to go with more of a solid stain or paint. If the color was good a semi-transparent stain will get the job done and looking good. Just out on the market is a new paint from Behr called Deckover that covers splinters and cracks up to ¼ “. You still need to complete all the steps (remove loose splinters is the exception and no sanding needed). It requires 2 coats of paint as oppose to one if using a deck stain or paint.
When your deck needs a little TLC , follow these 5 DIY Deck Maintenance Steps for a perfect deck every time. Deck Maintenance can be a DIY project and requires a few week-ends to complete. The result is a deck that lasts longer and looks good season after season.
By Chad Pfeffer