Barbara and Phil Johnson, of Mobile, Alabama, faced a similar problems other deck owners do. Over time, the weather as well as their kids and pets took a toll on their backyard deck. The injury as well as the appearance were bad enough to the Johnsons to think about ripping the whole thing up and starting over.
Just before taking that drastic step, they spoke with Danny Lipford, owner and president of Lipford Construction in Mobile, for advice. As outlined by Lipford, the Johnsons’ deck is in better shape than lots of others. “This section of the country is difficult on decks,” he says. “I’m sometimes inspired to replace pressure-treated decks which are lower than eight years of age.” He adds, “The majority of these decks are victims of neglect. With regular maintenance, a deck will easily work for two times as long.” The good thing is that many decks, like this one, may be rejuvenated for a lot lower than the price of replacement.
Following are a few techniques you can use to give a well used deck a new lease on life, or perhaps to maintain the style of a new one. Just for this project, we enlisted George Graf, a lead carpenter with Mobile’s Lipford Construction, and John Starling, owner of John the Painter. Hiring pros is easy on the schedule but difficult on the budget-the cost of repairing a 700-sq.-ft. deck is $700, or about $1 per sq . ft .. Doing the project yourself will cost one third as much.
Begin with inspecting the full deck. Pay special focus to any portion of the deck which is in direct contact with the ground, like the posts, stair stringers or joists that happen to be at ground level. Graf utilizes a screwdriver to confirm for structural damage. “If you can sink the tip of your screwdriver right into a post or joist, it means the you’ve got rot and it’s time for the major renovation,” Graf says.
Also, inspect the deck-to-house connection. “Screws and bolts can loosen and rust,” he says. “Without the proper consumption of spacers and flashing, moisture could cause your band joist to rot.”
Tighten the fasteners that attach the best local deck repair towards the house, seek out any missing, bent or rusted flashing and thoroughly inspect inside and outside for virtually any telltale black stains that suggest moisture is working its distance to your property.
Next, search for any cosmetic damage. As an example, tap down any popped nails or consider replacing them screws. To the Johnsons’ deck, Graf used galvanized ring-shanked nails as he replaced several damaged boards. “Screws don’t pop like nails, ” he says “but we wish the brand new boards to complement the remainder of the deck.”
Here’s the negative news: Every deck must have a yearly cleaning. Assuming they have been maintained regularly, most decks might be revived with only a deck cleaner. Some products, like Thompson’s Deck Wash ($10, 1 gal. covers 250 sq. ft.), you add a bucket and relate to the deck; others, like GE’s Weathermate ($30, 1 gal. covers 500 sq. ft.), may be found in containers with integral applicators that you simply hook up to and including garden hose. Once on the deck, most still need a stiff-bristle brush and lots of elbow grease to operate the mixture in the wood.
Always wear eye protection and gloves when you use concentrated chemicals. You’ll should also protect nearby plants. The amount of plant protection depends upon the type and concentration of the chemicals you end up picking. For weak solutions and “plant-friendly” cleaners, you may want to only mist the plants before and after using cleaning. Powerful deck restorers can burn leaves on contact; in that case you ought to cover nearby plants with plastic sheeting.
For tackling tough stains, work with a pressure washer (about $70 each day), which is the best method to remove sun-damaged wood fibers and tackle scrub-resistant stains. Graf recommends employing a fan-type nozzle as opposed to a pinpoint nozzle that could dig in to the wood. For eliminating the mildew, Graf mixes their own cleaning solution (see “Choosing the Right Cleaner,” in the facing page), that he feeds in to the intake hose about the washer.
Review the deck having a stiff-bristle brush to be effective the cleaner into the wood fibers, and then rinse. The boards ought to be kept damp to ensure the cleaning answer to work effectively. Let the deck to dry thoroughly before staining.
There are actually lots of deck-cleaning products out there. Most contain one of the following four chemicals since their main ingredient. Each is beneficial for different kinds of stains.
Sodium hypochlorite: This chemical-chlorine bleach-will work for removing mildew but isn’t effective on dirt or some other stains. So combine it with an ammonia-free detergent. Thoroughly rinse the deck after using this chemical since it can eat away on the wood, contributing to fuzzing and premature graying.
Sodium percarbonate: When blended with water, this chemical forms hydrogen peroxide (an oxygen-based bleach) and sodium carbonate, which works as a detergent. It is useful for removing dirt, mildew and weathered wood.
Oxalic acid: This is certainly effective in removing iron stains and the brown-black tannins that frequently occur with cedar and redwood decks. This acid is typically seen in deck brighteners. Oxalic acid isn’t effective against mildew, so you might want to apply it after cleansing the deck using a bleach-based cleaner.
Sodium hydroxide: Also known as lye, this is actually the key ingredient in most finish lifters or removers. Don’t let it sit on too much time, or it may eat away on the wood.
Be cautious when working with these chemicals, especially when they’re in their most concentrated (premixed) form. Wear the proper safety equipment and follow the manufacturer’s directions to the letter. Rinse the top thoroughly and give it time to dry before refinishing.
Once all of the repairs have been made and the deck is clean, it’s time and energy to use a protective finish. Clear finishes and transparent stains are acceptable for new wood, however, for older decks, Starling recommends by using a semitransparent stain.
“The grain still shows through, nevertheless the pigment provides the old wood a clean, uniform color so it helps the brand new wood blend in,” he says. The pigment also provides extra protection from the damaging outcomes of the sun and will go longer than clear finishes. Unlike paint, stain is absorbed through the wood and fails to form a film on its surface, so it will not peel or chip.
Starling relies on a sprayer and 2-in. brush to utilize the stain. “Spraying is fast, and puts more stain about the wood than rolling or brushing,” Starling says. Most painters and homeowners are happier spraying with a generous coat of stain after which following track of a roller or brush to open up puddles and work the finish into the wood. Starling, however, works with a modified technique. “Rollers push the stain from the wood and across the cracks,” he says. “I don’t get compensated to paint dirt below the deck.” Starling sprays on a light coat, nearly all of that is quickly absorbed into the wood. He uses the brush to remove puddles. “When the stain’s too thick, it dries blotchy,” he explains. Starling recycles the surplus stain to use on exposed end grain.
Starling recommends starting in an inside corner and hitting the gym, using the stain parallel to the deck boards. To prevent staining the nearby brick, he relies on a small component of cardboard as being a spray shield; the brush provides much more control around deck railings and posts.
This 700-sq.-ft. deck required about 5 gal. of stain – almost double the amount as the estimates indicated on the can. Explains Starling, “Old wood will get thirsty. On some decks, I’ll need to apply several coats of stain to obtain a uniform finish.”
Subsequent coats ought to be applied as the first coat continues to be wet or they will not be distributed around the wood. Stain won’t peel, but it really can wear away, especially in high-traffic areas. Starling recommends applying a fresh coat almost every other year. A specific water repellent does apply between stainings for more protection.
For the reason that original railing on their own deck is at such bad shape, the Johnsons made a decision to replace it by using a maintenance-free railing system. They chose Fiberon, a vinyl-coated wood-plastic composite. It’s obtainable in premade panels or as kits. The Johnsons liked the contrast the white railing offered.
For the existing deck or concrete slab, Fiberon creates a surface-mount bracket, as shown below. For new decks, the maker recommends installing the posts before the decking and taking advantage of metal brackets that connect to the joists. To conceal any minor gaps where the balusters fulfill the bottom rail, Graf recommends employing a mildew-resistant acrylic caulk.