Now that spring has finally arrived, you can finally begin inserting some outdoor tasks into your to-do list around the home. One project that will pay great dividends this summer and fall is repairing your deck. Recent polls and studies have shown that Americans are utilizing the outdoor features of their home more and more these days. Ensure that the time you spend on the deck this season is spent relaxing, not looking at imperfections and areas that need repair!
Inspect & Repair
Before you dive into washing or resealing your deck, take some time to look it over and take stock of what needs to be repaired. Your first task will be a general inspection. Grab a flat head screwdriver and take a look at all the features of your deck. The screwdriver is to be used as a probe for any areas that are suspected of rot. If accessible, take a look underneath your deck. Pay special attention to your joists, posts & beams. Take a look around any stairs that you have, and if your deck visibly attaches to the house be sure to check the area closely. Also check any features that are near downspouts or consistently wet areas. If you notice a spot that appears to be rotted, press it with your screwdriver. If it goes a quarter-inch or more into the area, you probably have a rotten area to deal with. Small areas can be patched with a wood filler or preservative. If it is a large area, you will probably have to replace the entire feature. Check the flooring boards for cracking, warping and cupping. Depending on the severity of the deformities, you will either need to repair or replace them. Check for splinters and rough areas. If you find any, sand them down. Double check your railings by giving them a shake. If there is any “play” or wobble, you may need to make some adjustments. Lastly, check for any raised nail or screw heads and make them flush with the surface again.
Cleaning the deck is not just about appearance. The prolonged presence of grime and mold on the surface of your deck can accelerate rotting and deterioration. Start prepping by clearing debris from between the boards with a putty knife. Then sweep off all areas.
Next, choose a cleaning solution of your choice. You can make your own half bleach, half water solution or go with a store-bought option. Apply with a stiff broom and then spray off with your hose. Start with the floor and then tackle the railings by cleaning from the bottom up. If your deck is wooden and is badly stained, you may consider using a power washer. But go light on the pressure and test a small area before you commit. If your deck is constructed with a composite material – do not use a pressure washer as it could permanently damage the material. Composite decks will require a specially formulated cleaner that you’ll find at the local hardware store.
Now that your deck is nice and clean, you have a decision to make – to seal, or not to seal. A good way to test the deck is to splash water into an area on the deck. If it beads up, you can wait until next year. If not, you’ve got more work to do. A general replacement guide for the different types of sealers goes as follows: clear sealers generally require yearly application, stain finishes need reapplying every other year.
If you do need to reseal the deck, always wait 48 hours after washing, then sand any rough areas with 80 grit sandpaper. Apply your sealant of choice with the proper implement. For the floor, use a roller and cover three or four boards at a time. Use a brush or mini-rollers for smaller features like the railing.
If time gets away from you or you find that your deck needs serious repair, don’t hesitate to call your local Honey Do Service, Inc. and request one of our experienced craftsmen to help! Visit honeydoservice.net to locate the Honey Do Service, Inc. nearest to your home.