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Keeping Your Deck in Tip Top Shape

Your deck will last longer with some regular maintenance and care.

All this rain has turned our yard into a swamp and our sump pump is getting quite a workout. The moisture and warmth are just what mildew and fungus seem to love, and our deck has begun to turn from brown to blackish with a hint of green. We have a small deck, but now that it needs some attention, it seems bigger than ever.

Taking care of your deck is a simple but necessary chore that will help your deck last many years longer. Look for signs of wear and tear like mildew, splintering, sun damage and nail-popping. 

According to the Lowe's website, if water gets soaked into your deck instead of beading up, it’s time to restain it. Deck cleaners help remove dirt, nail stains, algae, and mildew. If your deck is not brand new, always use a cleaner before applying finish.

The tools required to clean and stain your deck are simple. Here’s a list of what you’ll need to clean and re-stain your deck. Most of what’s needed can be found at , or Sears Hardware in Parma.

  • 80-grit sandpaper
  • Deck washing product - I found mine for a great price at .
  • Stiff broom 
  • Bucket
  • Hose with nozzle 
  • Stain and rollers - Available locally at in Brecksville.
  • Deck washing product 
  • Pressure washer (optional) - .
  • Goggles, gloves and sturdy shoes
  • Plastic tarps

Dilution recommendations vary from product to product, so follow the instructions on the bottle of deck cleaner. Don’t assume you already know how to do it, like I usually do. Some of these products contain corrosive ingredients, so use care and wear goggles, gloves and closed-toe shoes.

Lowe’s provides the following steps for cleaning your deck on its website:

  1. Use sandpaper to repair splintered areas. This is also a good time to repair damaged boards and loose nails.
  2. Sweep the deck and cover anything under the deck with tarps, if needed.
  3. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for diluting the deck cleaner with water.
  4. Apply deck cleaner with a broom, roller or garden sprayer and scrub it into the deck using the broom.
  5. Allow the cleaner to sit for the time indicated on the bottle.
  6. Use hose or pressure washer to rinse deck thouroughly. 
  7. Rinse plastic and other equipment thoroughly with water.
  8. Allow deck to dry at least two days before applying a sealer or stain. 
  9. Apply stain with roller or brushes following the manufacturer's recommendations.

Although it’s recommended to let the deck dry for two days or so, I’m going to wait until we’ve had a couple of weeks of comparatively dry weather before I proceed with staining.

And if we don't get any dry weather soon, I can always take apart the deck and build an ark.

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