Maybe your deck was new when you purchased it from a builder, or perhaps it had a few years on it already when you moved to your house. Whatever the case, the years, the weather, and pets can take a toll on a deck. However, there is a lot that you can do to revive wooden decks.
Minnesota weather conditions can be particularly harsh on wooden decks. The extreme cold and freezing mean that homeowners may apply salt and other chemicals to melt the snow. Homeowners may also use shovels to scrape the ice and snow from the deck, damaging the wood.
The summer in Minnesota is often no kinder than the winter months. The sun, humidity, hail, and downed limbs can all damage a deck. If you think that your deck requires repair beyond the maintenance you can do yourself, contact Dupont Decks for a free estimate.
Due to the damage of the harsh weather conditions, during the home inspections process when buying or selling a house, the deck may be deemed to be unsafe. In this case, you may need to remove the deck or repair it during the house sale.
Assessing What Needs to be Done
The first step in repairing and extending the life of a wooden deck is getting an accurate idea of its condition. After completing the evaluation, homeowners are better able to decide if it is worthwhile to revive the wood deck or if it is time to call in the experts and have a new deck built.
One area to give special attention to is the vertical posts and horizontal support beams. These are vital to the structure of the deck. If there is any rot or damage to these beams, then the deck can no longer safely support people on it.
Then, inspect the deck, looking for loose nails or screws, boards with rot, and stained or moldy boards. Screws may also be rusty or damaged and no longer hold down boards effectively. These should be replaced, which will likely require drilling a new hole for the new screw.
Any boards that have rotted must be replaced since their strength is compromised, and no cleaning is going to fix them. Moldy boards may have noticeable discoloration, or they may dissolve when pressure is applied.
Cleaning the Deck
One of the primary ways to revive wooden decks is through regular cleaning. Only use a pressure washer if the deck boards are in good condition. If they are fragile due to rot, they can break apart under the force of the water against them.
Choose a cleaner for your deck that is specifically designed to revive wooden decks. This will help take care of the staining as well as any mold or rot beginning to grow. Scrub the boards with a brush and then rinse thoroughly with water.
The deck cleaner may end up hurting or killing landscaping materials planted around the base of the deck. Remove these and replant after the deck cleaning is done, or protect them with tarps or other barriers. For less damaged wood, you may also choose to use a gentler wash to clean.
After the deck is thoroughly washed and dried, it can be protected for the future. Purchasing and applying a good quality stain can help your deck to last for years to come. While using the stain can be a long and hard process, it is important to the wood’s overall health on the deck.
Applying the stain using a paintbrush or other brush is the best way to ensure that it permeates all parts of the wood. Make sure to cover not only the parts of the wood that are visible when you are standing on the deck. The stain should also be applied to support beams, sides of the deck, and stairs.
Stains can be applied that mimic the natural color of the wood that makes up the deck. Homeowners may also decide to pick a stain that is a different color. You may work to compliment the paint colors of the house or landscaping nearby.
Regular cleaning can also be an excellent time to consider recurring problems on your deck. Due to tree cover and shade, some decks may seem to feel slippery or splintery. Some stains or other deck covering materials can have built-in protection that provides traction or comfort against the rough wood.
Revive Wooden Decks Through Maintenance
A simple cleaning may not be enough for decks that are suffering from mildew, rot, and other damage. It is vital to be sure that it is safe for yourself and others to use. The risk of collapse is a very real one.
Older decks should have a safety check done. Building codes change over time as new methods are developed to keep houses safe. Professional deck builders may be needed to bring decks up to code and ensure that everyone on them is safe.
It is crucial to have an accurate assessment of what maintenance you can do yourself. There may be some work that is beyond your technical expertise. There may also be work within your scope, but it would take up too much time for you to do yourself.
A professional may also be able to work on your deck and add features that will make it a more useable and safe environment for your home. Added features could include raising the railings, adding a bench for increased seating, or making the stairs safer.
If you think that your deck may be beyond what you can do or want to do yourself, contact Dupont Decks for more information and a free estimate of what can be done with your deck.