Did You Know Fall is a Great Time to Re-Stain Your Deck?
From the Know Your Home Staff/Photographs provided by Wooton Construction
Fall in South Louisiana brings cooler temperatures and dryer air, making it the ideal time to re-stain or paint your deck. You should inspect your decking every year for trouble spots, but most experts recommend re-staining or painting your deck every 2-3years. "By taking care of your deck regularly, you are extending the life of your deck and avoiding costly repairs down the road," says David Wooton. David and his wife Davey own the Home Project Center by Wooton Construction. The Renovations Division of the Home Project Center regularly designs and builds large outdoor spaces for their clients. According to David, there are several steps to the process of re-staining:
Inspection and Repairing
"You should walk the entire deck looking for boards that could be loose, rotting, or severely spit," says David. You will need to replace any damaged or rotten boards before moving on with your project. David also mentions that stains or surface deterioration could be a sign of something going on underneath the deck, like not enough airflow or moisture accumulation. "This would also be a good time to check all the vegetation surrounding your deck to see if anything needs to be pruned since an overgrown bush or tree can cause damage to a nearby deck," David continues. Hire a professional to inspect your deck if you notice quite a few problem areas and are unsure of tackling it yourself. A handyman, painter, or professional pressure washer would be good home pros to ask for help.
Cleaning and Prepping the Deck
If you have no damage to repair, you can start cleaning and preparing your deck for the stain or paint you will use. Don't know where to start? David says, "drop by your favorite store that provides paints and stains. The staff there can tell you what deck cleaner to use as well as which paint or stain would work best for your desired result." You can spray your deck with a garden hose and a strong spray nozzle, then follow that up by scrubbing the deck with the recommended cleaner to remove any mold or mildew. "You can also use a power washer," says David, "but you want to make sure it's on a low-pressure setting to avoid damaging any of the wood.
Sanding Your Deck
Make sure your deck has had time to dry before you start sanding. David says, "use sandpaper that is 120 grit or rougher, keeping in mind, if you sand the wood too smoothly, the stain will not penetrate it." He goes on to say, "you want to pay particular attention to sanding the handrails and the steps. These areas can cause splinters or tripping hazards." Once you finish the sanding, you can sweep or vacuum all the surfaces to remove sanding dust before applying your stain/paint.
Choosing your Stain/Paint and Brushes
Again, your local stain and paint supplier can be a great help in navigating through all your choices. Take photos with you if you were not the original builder of the deck so the supplier can see what you are trying to match. They will also be able to help you choose the right brushes and any other needed supplies. When applying the stain, David says, "Choose your time of day wisely. You don't want there to be direct sunlight on the deck while putting the stain on. The heat and sun will dry the stain before the wood can soak it in." Every home should have a shadier time of the day, depending on how many trees there are and the deck's position. In summary, regularly inspecting your deck and keeping up with the 2 to 3-year re-staining and sealing can save you from more costly repairs in the future. Remember to include regular trimming and pruning of vegetation around your deck to avoid overgrowth. If you want to learn more about David Wooton and the Home Project Center, visit www.homeprojectcenter.com.
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