Maintaining your Deck

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Home Improvement

Many home owners are not aware of how you should maintain a wooden deck. It just takes a little preparation and time! A well-maintained deck will stay beautiful and give you years of enjoyment.

Refinishing your Deck

How often should you refinish your deck? The answer to that depends: is the deck covered? How much use does the deck get? Do you have dogs or other pets whose toenails mar the surface? Check with your local home improvement store on the best products to use when refinishing your deck.

The first thing you have to do is clean you deck. It is important to prepare the surface before you apply a protective finish. Just as you would not wax your car without washing it first, you should not apply any sort of coating on a deck without a thorough cleaning.

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It does not matter if your deck is bare wood or previously stained/finished, ensure your deck’s surface is free of oil, grease, dust, dirt, loose wood particles and all other debris. Use an appropriate wood cleaner/brightener and a power washer to clean. Some power washers come with a special head to clean wooden decks. To remove mold, mildew or algae, products specifically designed for that task are available as well.

If your deck is brand new, the wood was probably treated with mill glaze. If the wood is not sanded, the coating will not adhere to the surface and will not protect your deck well enough. Rent a belt sander, from your local hardware store, to roughen up the surface before applying your coating. There are also products available that will break down the mill glaze.

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Products for Protecting your Deck

A variety of products are available to coat your deck, from clear wood finishes to translucent to semi-transparent to solid-color stains. The amount of protection your deck needs (covered vs. uncovered) will in large part determine the type of product you choose. One of the things to consider is how much you want to see the natural grain of the wood. If you want to see it, go with a clear to translucent product. If you don’t care if you can see the wood grain, go with a semi-transparent to solid-color stain.

When staining your deck, follow the manufacturer’s label instructions. Do not apply too much of the product. Apply stain in the proper weather conditions (not raining to too humid). Finally, avoid applying the product in direct sunlight, and be sure there is no chance of rain for the next 24 hours. This will keep you deck looking great!

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