Cookout Season is Here! Time to Hit the Deck.
Back East I had a wooden deck, it was just ‘the thing’ to do, but it was a lot of work. We had to resurface it every spring after the snow ravaged it and Spring’s pollen was ground into the moist wood.
Wood decks are not common here in Arizona but certainly not unheard of. The air is excessively dry and termites are common. Neither is healthy for wood. So if you have a wooden deck Spring is definitely the season to protect it from the sun, dry Summer atmosphere and late Summer Monsoon. My advice would be to start by choosing a high quality stain or protectant containing a sunscreen element. To deter termites, make sure no wood comes in contact with the ground. Any support posts should be elevated on cement footings (check everything coming in contact with the ground for termite tubes) and no wood surface should touch dirt or landscaping.
With outdoor entertaining season in full swing, Spring is the ideal time to refresh your wooden deck.
- The first step, according to Debbie Zimmer, coatings expert with the Paint Quality Institute, is to thoroughly inspect the deck, as well as railings and any adjacent steps or stairs. Keep an eye out for protruding screws or nails, and damaged or rotted wood.
- Tighten loose screws and hammer nails back into place. Then use wood filler to repair damaged wood or, if necessary, replace it completely. Broken boards or badly rotted wood should always be replaced.
- If your deck was stained or painted in the past year or two, you might be able to restore its appearance by simply power washing to remove dirt and mildew, and touching up any repaired areas. More likely, if you’ve come this far (or want to change the color of your deck), you’ll be applying a new protective coating.
Today’s most popular options for decks are water-based stains. Compared to solvent-based products, water-based coatings dry more quickly, are largely odor-free, and offer easy cleanup with just soap and water.
Water-based deck stains come in a wide array of colors and two different formulations: semi-transparent coatings and solid-color stains.
Semi-transparent stains protect a deck without hiding the grain or texture of the wood. Solid-color stains, which contain more protective pigment, show the texture of the wood, but not the grain.
The extra pigment in solid-color stains acts as added sunscreen, in effect, helping to shield the wood from the sun’s harmful UV rays. As a result, solid-color stains often last four or five years, while semi-transparent stains typically need to be reapplied at least every other year.
No matter which type of stain you favor, it’s very important to apply a highly durable top quality coating. According to Zimmer, the best products are made with 100 percent acrylic; these will better stand up to the rigors of Mother Nature, and to the physical abuse from foot traffic and abrasion from patio furniture, planters, and children’s playthings.
You can apply new deck stain in a number of ways — with spray equipment, by long-handled roller, or with a high quality brush. For maximum durability, always apply stain in thick, heavy coats. And if you choose to work with a sprayer or roller, take time to go back in while the stain is still wet and “back-brush” it to get better penetration into the wood.
Zimmer says it’s always important to apply a second coat of stain after allowing the first coat to dry thoroughly.
I have reliable, professional contacts in the home inspection industry who would be happy to answer your questions. Just give me a call.