Deck maintenance is one of the most important things you can do to sustain the life of your deck. However, maintenance is more than just applying a coat of stain to decking material. It’s a process that takes time, and Rick’s Custom Fencing & Decking has some secrets to share with you for proper deck maintenance.
1) Plan Ahead
One of the biggest oversights in deck maintenance is expecting to be done in a day’s time. Depending on your decking materials, the maintenance process can take a couple of days from start to finish. The last thing you want to do is rush and risk doing a shoddy job of maintaining your deck.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day…
2) Clean! Clean! Clean!
Before applying stain/sealer to any decking materials, including cedar decking, make sure it is free of any and all debris. You will want to return your deck surface to an as-new-as-possible condition.
With your deck swept, it’s time to give it a good, deep clean. Rick’s recommends using a good commercial deck cleaner and/or brightener. Commercial deck cleaners are generally applied with a brush and then simply hosed off with a garden hose and good nozzle. The homeowner should be particularly careful when choosing to use a pressure washer as pressure washing can actually damage most decking surfaces.
3) Practice Patience
We know that you’re eager to complete the deck maintenance, but to do so properly, the deck you just cleaned needs time to dry and may require some touch up sanding before proceeding. Keep in mind, plastic deck materials take a shorter time to dry than wood decking, but don’t require any maintenance beyond the cleaning step.
4) Test the Decking
If you’re using hardwood decking materials or cedar decking, splash some water onto an area of the deck where you have cleaned and prepared the deck for the stain/sealant. If the water absorbs into the wood then you know your stain/sealer will too, and you’re ready to stain. If the water beads up like on a waxed car, then your decking is either too wet, dirty or otherwise unready to accept your stain/sealer.
5) Stain and Enjoy!
With a clean and dry deck, select a stain/sealant and apply. Thinly coat your deck from end to end with the application method of your choice. We find it easiest to use a paint pad out of a roller pan. However, using a brush or roller is fine too; just make sure to get every square inch. Be careful not to apply your stain/sealer too thick. Stain/Sealer should penetrate your deck surface rather than creating a film over the surface as paint would.
With the deck stained/sealed and dried, it’s now time for the Summer Sunday BBQs. Call your friends, fill up the propane, and relax. Give yourself a pat on the back and admire the job you’ve done.
Deck staining is not an easy task, but it’s one that is essential to sustaining the appearance and life of your custom deck. For more information regarding maintenance and custom deck construction, contact the experts at Rick’s Fencing today!