The climate in Minnesota is varied, ranging from frigid and damp winters to sweltering summer heat, high humidity, and arctic wind. It stands to reason that anything we build outside our homes must be built tough to endure the elements.
From moisture, frost action, and UV rays from the sun, the lifespan of your deck often depends on the right building materials you choose. Not long ago, decks were limited to only a few options: wood and different colors you could paint that wood.
Today more choices align with Minnesota climate zones and microclimates, which are built sturdy to withstand the elements. Let’s look at five simple ways to renovate and refresh your home deck.
The Different Climate Zones
To understand what you need in a deck, you need to know more about the different climate zones of Minnesota. The state covers much ground, from the border with Canada and the wetlands of the Lake of the Woods to the warmer Midwestern summers along the Iowa border.
The coastline of Lake Superior has its complexities with microclimates, ranging from several hardiness zones due to the lake effect within just a few miles of the shore. Climate types vary throughout the state, with so many regions having distinct characteristics.
Though mostly humid, Minnesota ranges from cold and wet winters, humid and hot summers, and even more moderate humid and warm summers. Further north, cold and dry winters might be more common.
Humidity is usually the biggest concern, however, raised decks provide ventilation from moisture. Freezing temperatures quickly weather wood decks, and blowing ice and snow, combined with summer heat, can strip paint and sealer down to the boards in a few short years.
Let’s look at the five ways to add life to the exterior of your home by renewing or replacing your deck.
This might be one of the more cost-effective ways to renovate your deck based on raw materials alone. If you factor in time, however, resurfacing your deck is a process that requires a lot of sweat equity. You’ll likely be repeating the process in a few years.
- Prep surface: Start by scraping away loose paint chips, sinking nails and other fasteners back into the wood, and replacing dry-rotted areas. Use a stripping chemical to bring up old paint, sealant, and stain. Many strippers can be sprayed directly onto the surface of the wood.
- Scrape: A wire brush lets you scrape loose surface coating to work the chemical stripper down to the wood grain.
- Pressure sprayer: Being careful not to damage the grain of the wood, use a pressure wash sprayer to blast free the old surface.
- Water test: Before applying a new surface coating, you have to ensure the wood is prepped. Pour a little water onto the bare wood, and it is ready if it absorbs within a few seconds. If the water beads up, this indicates the presence of the old sealant, and you have to restart the prepping process again.
- Stain and resurfacing: Apply top coat and allow for at least 48 hours of dry weather for it to set and cure. Otherwise, rain (or even your sprinklers) could undo all the hard work you have done. You’ll likely repeat this process at least every five years.
Rather than going through the arduous process of repairing, stripping, and taking the time to refinish your old deck, you can rebuild your deck with wood. Stains, surface coatings, and yearly weatherizations are not ideal for convenience and cost.
Wood can be very expensive and will require finishing and, in later years, refinishing to maintain its structural integrity and aesthetic value. Suppose your deck isn’t adequately ventilated underneath.
In that case, the ambient moisture could accelerate the weathering process, so keep this in mind when rebuilding with wood. It might be better to hire someone to do the job since it is involved.
Pressure treated wood
Much like natural lumber, a pressure-treated wood deck has been processed with chemicals and a kiln process that gives it extra resistance to the elements. However, despite the treatment, it still needs to be finished with stain and weather sealer and maintained the same as regular lumber.
Sanding pressure-treated wood might cause health problems without proper PPE; however, it is expected to last longer than regular lumber, and you have the option of painting and repainting it depending on what you want it to look like.
Composite decking looks like the wood you used to build your deck with years ago. However, it is a fabricated building material made from organic materials such as sawdust, seed hulls, and bamboo combined with plastic polymers.
Earlier composite decking looked unnatural, but modern composite looks much more natural with the added benefit of being extremely weather resistant, resistant to warping, and even antimicrobial with the addition of zinc.
Composite decking can completely replace your worn-out deck with the exact look and dimensions, with the added benefit of being made from recycled materials. Not only does it look as good as wood, but it is also great for the environment since it doesn’t depend on newly harvested lumber. It is available in a variety of finishes and colors.
PVC is another synthetic decking material that has made huge strides in how it looks compared to traditional building materials. It resists weathering to a degree but is still susceptible to extreme cold and is not as readily fire-resistant.
Unlike composite decking, PVC deck boards are fabricated from 100% vinyl polymer, with incorporated wood-like grain and texturing, and are completely waterproof. It lasts a long time, has great curb appeal, and comes in almost any color and finishes you want, so you’ll never have to sand, scrape, and paint as long as you have it.
Renovate and Refresh Your Home Deck
As with all deck renovation projects, you can change out deck railings, replace post caps, install outdoor lighting, a BBQ area, or a built-in bench. Refinish your decking by giving your deck characteristics of a living area and outdoor space. With proper planning and the right building materials, your deck can withstand all those notorious Minnesota winters and summers!
Whether you choose natural lumber or polymer alternatives to your Minnesota decking renovation project, Dupont Decks has what you want. Our team of professionals can build your dream deck, renovate and repair existing decking, porches, and room additions, and install warranted composite decking that will brighten up your home for decades.
Contact us to see which option is right for you. We do all the hard work so you can get back to enjoying your outdoor space all year long.