Patios & Decks

Featured Patios & Decks Article

Patios & Decks

´╗┐Clear The Deck!

A deck can be a warm, inviting place for friends and family. Or it can be a complete eyesore if it's not maintained properly. Before you decide that your deck is useless and unattractive, consider some of these important tips and techniques to refurbishing your deck and revitalizing its life.

Decks are an extension of your home and they offer a comfortable place to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors while entertaining, grilling, or just relaxing. Unfortunately, most all decks are exposed to many kinds of weather including rain, snow, hot sun, and humidity. If not cared for properly, they are prone to become old, dingy, dirty, and weathered - rendering them useless to those who want to enjoy a beautiful outdoor space.

The good thing for homeowners to recognize is that decks usually have more visual problems than structural. This means that some tender loving care and a little elbow grease can make them more beautiful and useful. When the structure is good, the enhanced beauty of wood and furniture make your deck the perfect entertainment spot.

There are four steps to maintaining an inviting appearance to your deck:

1. Clean the deck
2. Evaluate any discoloration of boards or possible decay that needs repair
3. Repair any areas needing work
4. Protect your decking with a durable finishing product (stain or paint)

Cleaning. It's important to thoroughly clean your deck, getting between the boards and cracks to avoid rot, mildew, and debris. You can purchase or rent power washers for this purpose to quickly clean the surface. You may still need to use a knife or slender object to go between the boards. A high powered water hose and nozzle will also help do the trick but use it carefully since the pressure can damage the wood surfaces.

You can purchase commercial powders or liquid concentrates that include cleaners for your deck and help rid the surface of mold and mildew. These culprits can damage the wood surfaces and they are a health hazard if not removed. Always test any product you plan to use before using it on the entire deck. It could discolor or darken wood. For your own safety, be sure to wear rubber gloves and goggles when applying cleaner and power-washing a deck.

After cleaning, inspect the deck to see if there are damaged boards, cracks, or loose nails that need repair. Take care of any of these problems before you proceed to your next step. Make sure steps are secure and handrails are steady.

Once your deck is clean, you can apply a good quality finish to protect it. But be sure to wait for 2-3 days after washing before applying the finish. It's important to allow the wood to completely dry out before applying a sealant of any kind.

Applying finish. If your deck is painted, you obviously need to repaint periodically. If your deck is a natural or colored stained finish, then you can use a clear or stained finish to refresh the wood. If you are using a finish, be sure it is water repellent, offers UV protection for the wood, and if you have problems with mildew, make sure it includes a mildewcide which is found in most wood preservatives.

If this is your first project to improve your deck, you can always check with the experts at your local home and garden store for more tips. Taking care of your deck is not something you do once in a lifetime. It is a process that should be undertaken at least once a year to ensure the beauty and safety of this outdoor structure. You will find that a well-preserved and beautifully maintained deck provides an opportunity for much outdoor fun and activity. It also contributes to the overall beauty and value of your home.