A wood deck is a valuable asset to any home, but to keep it looking great you have to know how to prep and stain exterior surfaces. Take a few minutes each year to check it out and make sure your deck is in good condition. Every few years, prep and stain your wood deck to keep it looking great for years to come. Use the following checklist when looking over your deck for problems.
Look for loose or corroded fasteners
Nails and screws can come loose or break as a deck settles, and it’s easy to trip and fall over a loose board. Instead of nailing the boards back into place, remove nails and use deck screws. This is easily done with an inexpensive attachment to your power drill.
Check for loose or cracked boards
If you discover any severely cracked deck boards, these can be removed, flipped over and reattached. Since the underside of the board hasn’t been exposed to the sun, it is very likely in almost as good a shape as it was when the deck was first built.
Check your railings and banisters
When you push against railings and banisters there should be no movement. Take the time to make sure no balusters are loose or missing.
Clean your deck
Use a broom or hose to sweep or wash away any leaves or other debris. For a more thorough cleaning, use a solution of three quarts water, one quart bleach, and a half cup of ammonia-free detergent. Caution: do not mix ammonia with bleach, as it can form a dangerous gas. Apply the mixture to the deck with a stiff floor brush and let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse thoroughly. You can also use a solution made with hot water and powdered laundry detergent, which will act as both an abrasive and a cleanser.
Caution about using pressure washers. Pressure washers can provide a good, strong spray to help clean your deck. But be careful. If the spray is too strong or you use the nozzle too close to the deck surface, you could damage or splinter the wood very easily. Often, a strong spray from a garden hose nozzle is all that is needed.
Stain your deck
If you want to cut down on how often you need to prep and stain your wood deck, first, you will need to decide which type of stain or finish you want. There are two types of wood stain: semi-transparent and solid color. Once applied, the wood’s grain will still be visible with a solid color stain.
Now that you’ve learned how to prep and stain your wood deck, you will be able to enjoy a well-maintained outdoor living space for years to come.
I have used Behr staining products on my wood fence and find that the stains are too thin. They are difficult to apply with a roller and I wonder about how long the surface protection will last without having to restain the fence or deck.
We just used one of the BEHR wood finishes in a medium green color on our deck. It’s very pretty, but it shows dirt badly. The entire floor of the deck is covered in foot prints. I’ve tried cleaning it with a brush and soapy water, but it doesn’t clean it all away, only lightens the dirt. Is there anything we can do to keep the surface dirt free, or at least cleanable?