Barbara and Phil Johnson, of Mobile, Alabama, faced the same problems other deck owners do. Through the years, the weather along with their kids and pets took a toll on the backyard deck. The harm and also the appearance were bad enough to the Johnsons to take into account ripping everything 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. Based on Lipford, the Johnsons’ deck is at better shape than many others. “This portion of the country is tough on decks,” he says. “I’m sometimes asked to replace pressure-treated decks which can be below eight years old.” He adds, “A large number of decks are victims of neglect. With regular maintenance, a deck will easily last for doubly long.” The good thing is that a majority of decks, such as this one, may be rejuvenated for much under the expense of replacement.
Following are a couple of techniques will give an old deck a whole new lease on life, or even to help support the look of a fresh one. For this particular 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 in the schedule but hard on your budget-the cost of repairing a 700-sq.-ft. deck is $700, or about $1 per sq . ft .. Doing the job yourself will surely cost still another all the.
Begin by inspecting the full deck. Pay special awareness of any area of the deck that is certainly in direct experience of the ground, such as the posts, stair stringers or joists which can be at ground level. Graf relies on a screwdriver to check on for structural damage. “When you can sink the tip of your screwdriver into a post or joist, this means the you’ve got rot and it’s time to get a major renovation,” Graf says.
Also, inspect the deck-to-house connection. “Screws and bolts can loosen and rust,” he says. “With no proper use of spacers and flashing, moisture might cause your band joist to rot.”
Tighten the fasteners that attach the complete deck repair towards the house, try to find any missing, bent or rusted flashing and thoroughly inspect in and out for any telltale black stains that suggest moisture is working its way into your home.
Next, seek out any cosmetic damage. As an example, tap down any popped nails or consider replacing all of them with screws. For that Johnsons’ deck, Graf used galvanized ring-shanked nails when he replaced several damaged boards. “Screws don’t pop like nails, ” he says “but you want the new boards to suit the rest of the deck.”
Here’s the bad news: Every deck should have an annual cleaning. Assuming they are maintained regularly, most decks can be revived with only a deck cleaner. Some products, like Thompson’s Deck Wash ($10, 1 gal. covers 250 sq. ft.), you blend a bucket and apply to the deck; others, like GE’s Weathermate ($30, 1 gal. covers 500 sq. ft.), can be found in containers with integral applicators which you hook up to and including garden hose. Once on the deck, most still need a stiff-bristle brush and lots of elbow grease to work the mixture in to the wood.
Always wear eye protection and gloves when working with concentrated chemicals. You’ll should also protect nearby plants. The degree of plant protection depends on the type and power of the harmful chemicals you end up picking. For weak solutions and “plant-friendly” cleaners, you may have to only mist the plants both before and after using cleaning. Powerful deck restorers burns up leaves on contact; in that case you ought to cover nearby plants with plastic sheeting.
For tackling tough stains, use a pressure washer (about $70 per day), the best idea approach to remove sun-damaged wood fibers and tackle scrub-resistant stains. Graf recommends utilizing a fan-type nozzle rather than a pinpoint nozzle that may dig in to the wood. For removing the mildew, Graf mixes his own cleaning solution (see “Choosing the Right Cleaner,” on the facing page), that he feeds to the intake hose around the washer.
Look at the deck by using a stiff-bristle brush to function the cleaner in the wood fibers, then rinse. The boards should be kept damp in order for the cleaning strategy to work effectively. Let the deck to dry thoroughly before staining.
There are actually a large number of deck-cleaning products on the market. Most contain among the following four chemicals his or her main ingredient. Each is effective for different kinds of stains.
Sodium hypochlorite: This chemical-chlorine bleach-is useful for removing mildew but isn’t effective on dirt or any other stains. So combine it with an ammonia-free detergent. Thoroughly rinse the deck after by using this chemical mainly because it can eat away at the wood, contributing to fuzzing and premature graying.
Sodium percarbonate: When mixed with water, this chemical forms hydrogen peroxide (an oxygen-based bleach) and sodium carbonate, which acts as a detergent. It is good for removing dirt, mildew and weathered wood.
Oxalic acid: This really is good at removing iron stains and also the brown-black tannins that frequently occur with cedar and redwood decks. This acid is typically found in deck brighteners. Oxalic acid isn’t effective against mildew, so you might like to apply it after cleaning the deck with a bleach-based cleaner.
Sodium hydroxide: Also called lye, this is actually the key ingredient in most finish lifters or removers. Don’t let it rest on too much time, or it might eat away on the wood.
Use caution whenever using these chemicals, specially when they’re with their most concentrated (premixed) form. Wear the proper safety equipment and stick to the manufacturer’s directions to the letter. Rinse the surface thoroughly and allow it to dry before refinishing.
Once all of the repairs have been made and also the deck is clean, it’s time to apply a protective finish. Clear finishes and transparent stains are fine for new wood, however, for older decks, Starling recommends using a semitransparent stain.
“The grain still shows through, although the pigment gives the old wood a clean, uniform color helping the brand new wood blend in,” he says. The pigment offers extra protection from the damaging outcomes of the sun and definately will last longer than clear finishes. Unlike paint, stain is absorbed with the wood and does not form a film on its surface, so it does not peel or chip.
Starling utilizes a sprayer and two-in. brush to utilize the stain. “Spraying is fast, and puts more stain on the wood than rolling or brushing,” Starling says. Most painters and homeowners are better off spraying with a generous coat of stain and after that following up with a roller or brush to spread out puddles and work the conclusion into the wood. Starling, however, uses a modified technique. “Rollers push the stain away from the wood and on the cracks,” he says. “I don’t get paid to color dirt under the deck.” Starling sprays on a light coat, almost all of that is quickly distributed around the wood. He uses the brush to take out puddles. “When the stain’s too thick, it dries blotchy,” he explains. Starling recycles the surplus stain to be used on exposed end grain.
Starling recommends starting in an inside corner and exercising, using the stain parallel for the deck boards. To prevent staining the nearby brick, he utilizes a small component of cardboard as a spray shield; the brush provides more control around deck railings and posts.
This 700-sq.-ft. deck required about 5 gal. of stain – almost twice as much as the estimates indicated about the can. Explains Starling, “Old wood will get thirsty. On some decks, I’ll need to apply two or three coats of stain in order to get a uniform finish.”
Subsequent coats ought to be applied while the first coat remains to be wet or they will not be absorbed into the wood. Stain won’t peel, however it can wear away, specially in high-traffic areas. Starling recommends applying a brand new coat every other year. A specific water repellent does apply between stainings for more protection.
For the reason that original railing on the deck is at such bad shape, the Johnsons made a decision to change it out by using a maintenance-free railing system. They chose Fiberon, a vinyl-coated wood-plastic composite. It’s available in premade panels or as kits. The Johnsons liked the contrast the white railing offered.
To have an existing deck or concrete slab, Fiberon will make a surface-mount bracket, as shown below. For first time decks, the maker recommends installing the posts before the decking and using metal brackets that connect to the joists. To conceal any minor gaps the location where the balusters fulfill the bottom rail, Graf recommends by using a mildew-resistant acrylic caulk.