July 23, 2012
Welcome to Yeah We Do That's tip number 30. This week I would like to talk to you about simple deck maintenance, more specifically how to clean and seal your deck. This is a project you can do yourself over a weekend and will help beautify and preserve your deck. This should be done every few years to get the optimal life out of your deck.
Cleaning and sealing your deck is a relatively inexpensive project and with a little bit of preparation along with your time and labor in about a weekend you can have a new looking deck. If you would like to do this as a weekend project you would start on Friday by removing any furniture or items from the deck then thoroughly sweeping the entire deck area followed by washing as much dirt off as you can using a garden hose and a jet nozzle. Allow the deck to dry overnight then on Saturday you would apply a deck cleaner which may be purchased at any big box or local hardware store. You want to make sure you buy the appropriate cleaner for the type of deck that you have as their separate cleaners for wood decks and the newer synthetic decks. The easiest way to apply the cleaner is through a pump sprayer but you want to get one specifically designed for use with bleach products as the deck cleaner can be corrosive to the metal tip spray wand as well as any internal metal parts. Prior to application you want to make sure to thoroughly wet all of the grass, shrubs and plants around the deck that any overspray may get on. You may also want to do this on a day when it is not very windy as the fineness from the sprayer can blow quite a ways landing on trees and ornamental shrubs and may burn leaves that are not wetted. Follow the manufacturer's directions as far as application but most products are applied directly to a dry clean deck and require no scrubbing and will usually work in one application removing embedded dirt, algae and some mold stains. Make sure to also spray your handrails balusters as long as they are made from the same material as your deck, again do not apply this if your handrails and or balusters are made from metal as this may rust any metal it comes in contact with. After application allow product to sit for the recommended amount of time which is usually 10 to 15 min. and then hose off.
The final step after once again allowing the deck to dry overnight is to apply a quality water proofer. You can get your water proofer in either a clear finish or with a color mixed in with it. Some of the common colors found in water proofer's are Cedar, Redwood and Pine. You can use a deck sealer/stain applicator, however it has been my experience that in less the deck is relatively new and extremely smooth that the pad will snag on the rough wood and tear it. I like to use an 18 inch paint roller and tray making sure I roll out as much excess as I can into the tray before applying. If you do not do this you will lose quite a bit of sealer as it will run out of the roller and in between the cracks in the deck. If your handrails and balusters are the same material as your deck I switch to a 4 inch roller to do these areas. Most quality deck sealers should do the job in one application and depending on the weather conditions in your area and how heavily use the deck is you should get 2 to 5 years of protection.
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