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Easy Way To Renew A Deck

This process of renewing a deck will work on any wood deck, including cedar, redwood and pressure treated lumber. The only special tools you will need are a pressure washer and a foam applicator pad. No special skills are required. All that is needed is fours hours one day and another four hours several days later.

Renting a pressure washer will make light work of the deck renewing($40 for four hours, or $70 a day). It is important to rent a pressure washer with a setting of 1,000 to 1,200 psi and make sure the washer allows for the intake of chemical cleaners so you can apply them using the pressure wand. Too much pressure will damage your deck.

Next, you will need to purchase a high quality deck stripping product with sodium hydroxide. Some sodium hydroxide based strippers are premixed and don't require adding water. Make sure you read the label on the container.

Now is a good time to protect your vegetation and house siding by spraying down the area with a good misting of water. This will help in the removal of any chemical overspray and residue. With a 25- or 30-degree tip in the wand of the pressure washer and a psi of 1,000 to 1,200, apply the stripper to the deck, starting with the top rails and working down the balusters. Spray the rails with a continuous, controlled motion. Keep the wand moving so you don't damage the wood. Once the railings are done, move onto the deck boards. This stripping process washes away a small amount of the wood's lignin, which is the glue holding the wood fibers together. Attach a broom handle to the applicator pad. Glide the pad along the length of the deck boards, staining with the grain. Stop only at the end of a board. Otherwise, the overlap where you stopped and started could be noticeable.

Once the deck is finished, apply stain to the stair treads, working your way down the stairs.

A deck brightener will return the wood to its newly sawn color and make it more receptive to the stain. Use an oxalic acid–based brightener, which is available at home centers and paint stores. It works fast, won't harm the wood and is environmentally safe in the diluted solution that you'll use.

Change the tip in the wand of the pressure washer to a fan tip with a 40- or 45-degree angle. Then set the pressure to about 1,000 psi and spray the deck, once again starting with the top rails and working down to the deck boards. Apply just enough brightener to thoroughly wet the wood.

Oxalic acid will brighten the wood in a matter of minutes and does not require rinsing. But your siding does.

With the deck clean, it's easy to spot any areas that need additional maintenance. Drive any nail heads that are popping up until they're flush with the deck boards. Look for missing or loose screws, and replace them with corrosion-resistant screws that are slightly longer than the original. Replace missing nails with corrosion-resistant “trim head ” screws, which are screws that have a small head and resemble a large finish nail. If lag screws or bolts are loose in the ledger board, rails or posts, tighten them. Inspect the flashing between your deck and house to ensure it's still firmly in place.

The deck will need a minimum of 48 hours to dry after the cleaning. If it rains, wait two more days for the wood to dry. Avoid staining in high heat, high humidity and in direct sunlight. Perfect conditions are an overcast day with the temperature in the 70s and no possibility of rain.

Decking

Start by staining the top rails and working down the balusters and posts. Run the applicator pad down the length of the wood, applying the stain in a steady, uniform manner. Don't go back ovedr areas that are already stained. Unlike paint, stain gets darker with each coat. Attach a broom handle to the applicator pad. Glide the pad along the length of the deck boards, staining with the grain (Photo 9). Stop only at the end of a board. Otherwise, the overlap where you stopped and started could be noticeable.

Once the deck is finished, apply stain to the stair treads, working your way down the stairs.

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