Keeping wood looking fresh and new is always a challenge. Decks are exposed to the elements day after day in all kinds of weather. Without proper treatment decks can look weather-beaten and old and may need to be replaced much sooner than a deck that is cleaned and sealed regularly. The time and money spent maintaining a deck will pay off in the form of many years of enjoyment.
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Preparing the Deck
Remove any furnishings, toys, grills, planters or other items from the deck's surface. Sweep the area with a stiff brush to remove leaves, dust or dirt. Spray the entire deck down with a garden hose to remove any residual dirt. Protect any surrounding plants with plastic sheeting.
Cleaning the Deck
The best method of deck cleaning depends on the deck's condition. For a lightly soiled deck, a commercially available deck cleaning product can be applied with a heavy duty roller and rinsed with water. If the deck shows a great deal of wear or dirt, use a pressure washer for best results. Use the fan setting on the washer to avoid damaging the wood surface.
Best Deck Stains
The deck may be stained if desired. For best results use an oil-based stain to achieve longer-lasting results than with a water-based stain. Avoid solid stains as they don't stand up well to regular foot traffic and will require frequent touch-ups. Thoroughly wash and dry the surface before staining. Apply the stain with a roller, brush or sprayer.
Water Repellents and Preservatives
Another popular deck treatment option is a clear water repellent or preservative. This will protect the deck from the elements while allowing the natural colour and grain to show through. This is only a valid option for decks that are in good condition. A clear water repellent will allow the deck to silver or grey as it ages. A clear wood preservative will also help to retain the wood's original colour.
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