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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Maintaining Your Deck

Summer is upon us and it's time for us all to "hit the deck". The wonderful warm weather brings us all outside to throw some steaks on the grill or to gather for social functions with friends and family. It also might be a good time to take a look at your wood deck and perform a little maintenance

Just like any other part of your home, decks need proper maintenance. Most decks are constructed of pressure treated wood which is made to withstand the elements to some extent. Even so, the ultraviolet light of the sun, rain, snow, tree sap, bird droppings and other pollutants can still take a toll on your deck.

.In order to keep your deck looking good and weather resistant you’ll need to know how to properly care of it. Sealing the wood on your deck is highly recommended to extend it’s lifespan. When water enters the wood and then dries out it can cause the wood to expand and contract which leads to splitting and cracking. Sealing your deck can prevent this from happening.
A simple test can show when sealing is needed. Pour some water on the wood surface. If the moisture beads up it is not time to reseal the wood. However, if the area becomes a large dark mark on the surface it is time to head to the hardware store. Before you can apply a wood sealer and protectant you’ll need to clean it thoroughly. Clear off loose debris by using a leaf blower and don’t forget to clean in between the boards. Cleaning products are available from your local hardware store. Read and follow the manufacturer’s directions of the cleaner that you purchase. If you use a pressure cleaner, set it to low pressure. Higher pressures can damage the wood surface. Rinse thoroughly.
After cleaning, allow a couple of days to let the wood dry out before sealing. The best time to seal is in early spring when temperatures are consistent and not too hot or too cold.
Various types of sealers and stains are available. Oil based, penetrating stains usually provide the best protection. Solid Stains and Paints can provide a pleasing look to the deck but do not penetrate far into the wood and can crack quickly due to expansion and contraction. No matter which product you use, decks will require treatment every two to three years to keep them looking their best.
While you’re cleaning and sealing your deck also check its safety. Check that railings, steps and posts are secure and repair as necessary.
Once you are finished, relax and enjoy the summer on your sparkling new deck.