Deck refinishing is a lot of work even for a small deck, so time spent keeping it in good condition is time well spent. While to fully protect your deck and keep it looking beautiful periodic refinishing is required, there are some simple things you can do to keep it in good condition both between regular maintenance as well as over its entire life.
1.) Always put pots, planter and similar items on blocks or “pot feet”.
Not doing this is the number one cause of topical damage to decks. Once in place, simply rotate the spot where they rest between the deck and planter every six or nine months with a quick twist of the pot of lifting a corner of the planter while sliding the block over an inch or two.
2.) Try to keep bird or animal feeders away from the deck.
Sometimes it is temping to attach them to the deck railings since they are in a handy location. However, certain bird droppings can cause imbedded stains in the wood that are not easy get out. Also, scratches from squirrels getting to and opening nuts or seeds can often be permanent (short of some deep sanding.)
3.) Resist the temptation to apply more stain too soon.
While you might think you are just being responsible, it isn’t what is best for your deck. In general, reapplication every year will cause an excess build up that can potentially cause peeling and accelerate the need to strip the deck back to bare wood. Most decks will not look quite as good one year after staining as they originally did right after staining but try to hold off on re-staining until at least 18 to 24 months.
4.) Promptly remove debris.
Don’t let excessive debris, especially wet and decomposing leaves, accumulate for too long. A quick sweep or blowing will help greatly.
5.) Between periodic refinishes, a very gently washing helps the stain last and refreshes the look of the deck.
Find a mild deck wash or dilute a deck cleaner per the instructions on the container. Never use a stripper, brightener or full strength deck cleaner for this job. Simply mop on and hose off.
6.) Put a deck mat under your barbeque.
Grease and fat stains are exceptionally difficult to get out of either wood or composite decks. Additionally, hot charcoal pieces can burn the deck.
7.) Say no to solid stains and paint.
Finally, if a deck currently is bare or has transparent or semi-transparent stain on it (if you can see much of the wood’s grain it likely is one of these two types), think twice before covering it up with solid deck stain or paint. The stain’s label may make reference to “long lasting coverage” which might sound good when faced with a hard job that you do not want to do very often, but it comes at a huge price. You don’t get to see the grain of the wood, which is where its beauty comes from. Your deck suddenly looks like siding. Even more critical is that you are likely stuck down that path for the remaining life of the deck. It is virtually impossible to strip or even sand all of the stain or paint off of a deck. If you decide at a later date you want a different look you are usually out of luck. So if your house painter suggests that for a few more dollars he can just spray your deck to match, kindly decline.
Following these simple steps will help you avoid causing costly damage to your expensive deck. They will also help it look much nicer between service intervals. If you think you deck is ready for refinishing or if you are uncertain and want a FREE professional opinion, please give us a call today at 503-590-9274.