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Deck Care Tips
Test the wood
There’s no exact expiration date when your wood sealant or waterproofing treatment will wear out and need to be reapplied, so performing a quick water test a few times a year will let you know when it’s time for some maintenance. Just sprinkle some water on the deck and watch it. If the water quickly seeps into the deck, it’s time to reseal, but if the water beads up, you should be all right for at least another few months.
Clean everything first
Sealing your deck will prevent water or other liquids from seeping into the wood and damaging it, but it also prevents existing stains and dirt from surfacing, so be sure to clean the deck completely before applying any sealant or waterproofing treatment. Wood cleaner will remove most dirt, mildew and old stains and isn’t harmful to the area around the deck. Larger buildup may require a degreaser or stain remover, and sanding the deck is a great way to prepare the surface for a stain or sealant. Wait at least a day – during obviously dry weather – for the deck to dry before continuing.
Use a brightener
Brighteners are simple to use and will really bring some color back to an old, weathered deck. Once the deck is clean and dry, just apply the brightener and wait a few minutes before washing it away. The difference in the final product will make this step well worth it.
Wait until you expect to have two dry days in a row, then apply a stain or sealant. Be sure that your product specifies that it repels water and resists fading, or you’ll find yourself repeating the process in short order. Cover nearby plants and structures with plastic so they won’t get any of the stain on them, then apply the stain to the deck using a paint roller. Use one thin coat at first, being sure to even out any puddles that form as you go, then apply a second coat, using a paint brush to get to areas where the roller won’t reach. Be sure to let stain-soaked rags dry in the open air before disposing of them, as evaporating finish is a fire hazard.
Keep up maintenance
A good sealant or stain should keep your deck looking nice for quite a while, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore your deck during this time. Regular washing – even if it’s just washing away visible dirt and grime – will not only help keep your deck looking nice, but you’ll be able to spot potential problems, either with the stain or with the deck itself, and can then perform preventive maintenance before things get really bad. This is also a great opportunity to perform a quick water test to see how your sealant is holding up.
Landscape Care Tips