As temperatures slowly start to creep up the thermometer, the promise of summer and enjoying time outdoors is almost within reach. Set aside a weekend now to clean and seal your deck to make sure it is in peak condition for barbeque season.
Most decks need to be resealed every 2-3 years, but a quick test can let you know if it is time to attend to your outdoor space. Take a cup of water and sprinkle some on the deck surface. If the water quickly soaks into the wood, the deck is ready for a resealing; if the water beads up, however, it maybe not be time yet.
Deck sealing can generally be tackled over the course of a weekend, depending on the size and condition of the deck. Choose a weekend with a clear forecast so rain won’t interfere with the process. While this project can be managed by one person, having a second set of hands around makes for much smoother results.
Begin your resealing project by taking a few hours to clean and repair the deck. Remove all furniture from the deck and sand down splintered areas. Take a putty knife in between boards to remove leaves and debris that have gotten stuck in small crevices. Once the wood is free from noticeable dirt, use a deck cleaner or bleach solution to scrub the boards, removing all signs of mildew and mold from the surface. Allow the deck to dry thoroughly after being cleaned.
In choosing a sealer, there are several options to consider:
- Clear water repellent: the most basic option, requires annual resealing
- Wood toner: similar to water repellent, but with a hint of color
- Clear wood preservative: UV protection prevents graying and can last up to two years
- Semi-transparent stains: oil-based stains provide maximum protection and longest life
- Solid stain: wears quickly in high traffic areas, requires frequent upkeep
When you are ready to start sealing, cover any nearby plants or shrubs with plastic draping. Do not shake the stain to prevent bubbles forming, but instead stir it thoroughly. Use a paint roller or a sprayer to apply thin, even coats to a two-board section at a time.
Make sure as you are moving along that stain does not puddle behind you. If you have a second person helping, have them follow behind you with a broom or extra roller to even out any puddles. Work across the entire deck, and then use a small paintbrush to go back and get any corners or crevices that may have been missed. Allow the first coat to dry thoroughly, and apply a second coat as needed. After 2-3 days of drying time, replace deck furniture and prepare to enjoy your beautiful deck! Now if you would only do something about those countertops…