Maybe you didn't notice that yesterday was the first day of Summer but with it comes outdoor living! So how do you maintain the deck in which you spend so much time, give it a longer life and keep it looking good all summer long? Here are the 5 steps to keeping that deck in tip-top shape, and splinter free all summer long!
#1 You need to clean your deck
Regular cleaning prevents your deck from that gray worn down look that we are trying to prevent. You have a few options to get the surface cleaned.
- Use a hose: Use a garden hose with a spray nozzle to get rid of debris and dirt.
- Pressure wash: High-pressure water can get between slats and take off any stubborn debris. You can expect to pay about $250 to buy a new machine, or hit the local rental store and use one for the day at a fraction of the price.
- Scrub it down: For really harsh debris, you might need to get down on your hands and knees to remove the buildup or stains. Even a good power washer can miss spots, so keep a scrub brush handy
#2 Carefully inspect the decking and handrails for repairs
Once the deck is clean, you can inspect for any potential damage points. If your paying close attention while you clean most of these areas are apparent by now.
- Broken or rotted boards
- Missing spindles
- Wood Bee, Wood Pecker or Termite holes
- Loose sections of hand railing or posts
- Screws or nails that are sticking up
Most of these are easy fixed, you might want to consult a pest company if you have Termite damage this close to your home. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure!
#3 Take time to sand it down properly
Sanding the surface is very important! A smooth finish starts with a rough start. Sand down the decking with at least 2 stages of sandpaper, I personally prefer 3 stages. Using a rough grit like a 60 will really take off those years of grime. Then go over it again with a finer paper to remove any of the swirl marks you may have left behind by not sanding in the correct direction, remember to go with the grain of the wood for the best results. You might want to rent a floor sander or belt sander if you don't want to be out there all day. After you've sanded your decking smooth, we are on the home stretch!
#4 Time to choose and apply the finish
Sealing or staining the deck will protect all of your hard work. These finishes help protect against water damage, mildew and inclement weather. I highly recommend getting a sample board to test different stains and sealants before making a huge investment. You can easily spend north of $700 on stain or sealant so you can see why this is an important piece of information!
- Sealant- If you desire a natural look to your decking surface then this is where you should focus your attention.
- Staining- These products have a larger array of colors and finishes to choose from. If you are looking for a custom finish then this is the area you will find what you are looking for.
#5 Apply a brightener
Not every deck will need this step but depending on how well you follow the first 3 steps then you could want to use a brightener. If your deck still has stains or gray spots you can apply brightener using a garden spray hose. A fresh coat of brightener will renew the appearance of your deck without expensive and time-consuming repairs.
Now that your deck is fresh and ready for sum, plant flowers in containers and brighten the space with brightly colored pillows and accent items to give it a warm lived in feel. By defining the deck with living space you will expand your home.
I hope that you find these steps easy and the tips helpful while you tackle this project. Once you are done you will get a lot of use on that renewed deck this summer!