Deck maintenance is an important thing to grasp when a homeowner. Wood should always be cleaned in order to remove dirt, debris and fallen leaves. There are many ways one can clean a deck and various products that can be purchased to achieve the best outcome. However following a process of maintenance, cleaning and sealing a deck can be hard to grasp. Our helpful article can break the process down for easy reference.
Cleaning is important in terms of a wood deck. Always remove debris that collects between wood boards. The important focus here is to remove all dirt. Fallen leaves can stain a deck and can collect moisture on the floor boards leading to mildew and mold. The deck should be swept regularly to prevent this from happening.
One of the main factors of replacing a deck is dry rot. This is a fungus that feeds on wood leading to quick deterioration. Once dry rot has established itself on wood, it leads to termite infestation. The combination of the two will quickly destroy a wood deck and lead to structural damage quick. Because dry rot needs wet wood to feed on, the best way to avoid this issue is to seal a deck off from moisture. It’s also very important to keep the deck free of debris and dirt between boards where moisture generally collects and where dry rot typically starts first. Treat your wood deck like you would any other flooring surface inside of your home. Clean and inspect it on a regular basis (weekly) as it will lead to less costly repairs.
Sealing a Deck
If a deck is new, allow it to weather for about a year before adding a sealant. This will make sure that the wood is dried out and the fibers can open fully so that it will soak in the sealant properly. In order to assist in this weathering process, the new wood should be treated with a new wood treatment. This treatment protects against rain and sun and allows the wood to weatherize effectively.
Before applying this protective sealant, prepare the deck properly first. Clean the deck to remove all dry rot, dirt and debris. Remove any old sealant and old paint and sand the wood to remove any splinters or rough spots. The most important of the sealant process is to start with a fresh surface that is ready to absorb this sealant product. The deck needs to be completely dry before applying the sealant. Wait at least 2-3 days after cleaning. If wood isn’t fully dry, the sealant will not absorb in the proper way. Always read and follow the instructions on the product you’re using fully for optimal results.
A clear sealant is a way to highlight the natural beauty of the wood of your deck, but it doesn’t provide the UV protection that a pigmented finish does. Because of this, it must be reapplied every year or 18 months, while a pigmented sealant can last up to 3 years. The sealant chosen and applied to a wood deck should protect it against sun damage as well as moisture.
Choosing a Sealer Product
This is an important step when refinishing your deck. Because decks are exposed to extreme conditions, it’s important to regularly maintain the wood to keep it looks it best for a long time. Sealers are typically oil-based or water-based. Water-based products offer the easiest cleanup as well as less of an odor, while oil-based one penetrates deeper for a richer stain color. They are important as they provide waterproofing, sealing protection and cover imperfections on a deck (especially great for older decks). Color and tint options are available depending on your personal preference. Never use polyurethane or varnish to finish a deck as both break down easily when exposed to weather.
Deck Maintenance Tools to Have on Hand
Some of these products will make maintaining your deck a lot easier. A pump-action spray is great when using cleaning solutions as it can get in between boards and penetrate deeper than you manually can do so. A paint roller with a long handle is a great tool when spreading sealant. Sandpaper helps to smooth rough surfaces. A pressure washer is especially great to remove mold, mildew and dirt, but be careful not to use it too close to the surface because it can scratch the wood.
Deck Maintenance FAQ
How often should I clean and seal my deck?
To make sure you are fully protected, it’s best to do this once a year. A yearly powerful and sealant application will keep a deck looking its best.
Will these chemicals kill my plants?
Chemicals used to clean a deck are environmentally-friendly. However sealers or sealants will kill plants if saturated with the solution. It’s best to cover plants before beginning the sealing process.
How soon can I seal a new deck?
Experts suggest waiting at least four weeks after construction to apply a sealer. This allows the wood fibers to fully open, which will absorb the product the best.
How long will sealant last?
Most sealants can last up to 18 months.
How do you apply sealant?
Sealant can be brushed, rolled or sprayed onto a surface, depending on the product and the specific type of deck. Many sealants require two coats.
What if it rains after I have sealed my deck?
Typically sealant needs at least 4-8 hours to fully dry. If it rains too soon after applying the sealant, inspect the wood for water spots. If there are some, reapply the sealant ASAP.