Decking Maintenance, 3 Things You Need To Know.

Previously I wrote a blog about WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN INSTALLING DECKING OR PAVING. I though I would follow up with a post to help you with the long term maintenance of your deck. As you will know your decking is the life and sole for entertaining your guests and you want it to look its best all the time. So here are 3 thing you need to consider when maintaining your decking. 

Inspecting your deck: 

Before you start to do any repairs inspect the entire deck. Special attention should be paid to the parts of the deck that make direct contact with the ground, the posts, stair stringers or joists. Take a screwdriver and push the tip into a post or joist, if the tip goes in easily this means you have got rot and it's time for a major renovation. Inspect the deck fixings such as the screws and bolts, they can loosen and rust over time. If there was improper use of spacers and flashing when the deck was installed, there may be moisture build up between the boards and this can cause your sub frame to rot. You will need to check the fasteners that attach the deck to the house. If any are missing, bent or rusted, replace them. Check for cosmetic damage. If nails were use to install the deck, replace any that have popped up with screw. Carefully inspect railings and decking for loose wood or splinter. 

Cleaning your deck: 

You should clean your deck annually. If you maintain your deck regularly you can revive it with just a deck cleaner. Ensure you use a cleaning product that is specific for cleaning decks. Always read the instructions for use before using the product. Apply the cleaner to the deck and using a stiff-bristle work the mixture into the wood. Wearing eye protection and gloves when working with concentrated chemicals is always recommended. To get tough stains removed, use a pressure washer after scrubbing. You may need to go over the deck for a second time. Make sure the deck has be properly rinsed. Allow to dry thoroughly before staining or oiling. 

Staining or Oiling your deck:

Staining  the wood is the best way to give old weathered wood new life. Wood turns grey with age if not treated regularly. There are a few ways to apply stain but spraying is fastest, and puts more stain on the wood than rolling or brushing. Spay a generous coat of stain and then following up with a roller or brush to spread out puddles and work the finish into the wood. If the stain's too thick, it dries blotchy. Start staining at an inside corner and work your way out, applying the stain parallel to the deck boards. To avoid staining the nearby brick use a small piece of cardboard as a spray shield. Using a brush provides even more control around deck railings and posts. Two coats of stain is recommended to get the best finish. The second coat should be applied while the first coat is still wet or the stain will not be absorbed into the wood. Varnishing is not recommended because varnish is not a porous product and makes the deck very slippery. It also starts to peel with age and can make removing it very difficult. Oiling is most probably the easiest and best way to protect your decking from getting old and ragged. By using oil you are replacing the natural oils in the wood that keeps the decking looking like new. Apply using a brush or roller making sure to spread evenly. Applying two coats is recommended to get the best finish. Maintaining your beck can be a very easy job but you need to do it annually. By doing the maintenance regularly you will prolong the life of your beck and get to enjoy it for year to come. Don't put the maintenance of your deck off or you may find yourself replacing it before you know it.

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