Denver decks take a lot of abuse. Constant use, and exposure to the elements will cause your deck to lose its attractive appearance. Years of enjoyment with your deck takes time each year for an inspection and some simple preventative maintenance. Coatings protecting your deck do not last forever, so plan on cleaning and resealing every few years. The most important coat of deck finish is the first coat. The moisture content of the wood must be less than 20%. For best results the moisture content should be closer to 12-15%. Pressure treated lumber often can look dry, yet still be wet internally. You should wait between 4-6 weeks or one season before applying a finish to treated wood. When the wood soaks up a small amount of water easily, it is ready for finishing.
Begin with a thorough inspection of the deck. Look for any stains or discoloration. If any are found, use a mild household detergent or soap to remove any stains. If any midew is found, scrub the area with a combination of water and household bleach, or you can use a commercial deck cleaning product. If your deck is very dirty and discolored or if it is older and neglected, you may have better results using a power washer. Power washers are available at most rental stores. Be sure to read and follow all safety instructions prior to use. Pressure wash the entire deck. Let the deck dry and rewash as necessary. If any rotten wood is found, replace it!
As with any project, safety comes first when restoring your deck. Since the process of sanding involves the removal of material it creates airborne dust. You should wear safety glasses or goggles, work gloves, a work apron or close fitting clothing and an approved dust/mist respirator.
Sand the surface of the deck with 80 and 120 grit sandpaper to roughen the surface. Sanding removes some of the top coating of the wood and opens it up for better penetration of the finish. A stand up mechanical sander will speed up the process and save your back. All Purpose sandpaper is ideal for this application because it is designed for light sanding or cleaning of surfaces and moderate removal of coatings or rust. You can sand by hand or use a mechanical detail sander to get the hand rail and areas that the stand up sander could not reach.
Sweep the deck thoroughly and rinse with water to remove all dust and debris. The cleaner the deck is, the better the finish will penetrate the wood. Let the deck dry. Then apply the stain or finish to the deck. Be sure to follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions for application and safety. To prevent an uneaven look, maintain a wet edge by not letting the finish dry in an area before you overlap it with wet finish. Re-coat as required. Some semi – transparent deck finishes will need two applications to achieve a desired look. Remember to apply at least two coats to exposed end grain. Finishing and staining the deck should be done on a dry, overcast day for best results. Too much sun will dry out the finish before it has penetrated the wood.
DOWD RESTORATION is a trusted and knowledgeable contractor in the Denver area. If you have questions about your deck restoration project, Give us a call – 303-522-8730.