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Restoring a Deck to its Natural Beauty

home improvement

Restoring a Deck to its Natural Beauty

Comments Off on Restoring a Deck to its Natural Beauty 23 December 2013

A deck can be an important selling point for the apartment-bound urbanite in the market for their first home. Decks are a great place to relax and take in the sounds of your new surroundings, watch your children play or mind the grill after a long week’s work.

While the deck attached to your new home may look more like an overturned tool shed than the gorgeous slab of redwood you always pictured yourself sipping coffee on, on a Sunday morning in Spring, the beauty you seek may be lying underneath its brutish exterior.

Though a properly maintained deck can be a thing of beauty, chances are that the previous owners may not have had the time or interest to preserve the splendor of the wood’s natural grain and opted to cover it with coat after coat of bland, exterior house paint.

Paint is a quick and effortless cosmetic fix for any wood structure, whether outdoors or in, but its solid pigments block the depth and natural tones of the wood’s grain from showing through. Though it is necessary to coat your deck to protect it from sun and weather damage, the best way to preserve its natural beauty is with a deck stain or clear weather seal finish.

But before you seal your deck, you will need to give it a thorough cleaning to expose the wood’s natural beauty.

Sometimes, layers of dirt and old paints have been so baked from the sun, thinners and strippers may not be able to penetrate them. To alleviate this, the best course of action is to use a pressure washer to remove the grime and flaking paint chips. If you don’t have access to a pressure washer, there are many companies in your local yellow pages that specialize in pressure washing services for both residential and commercial applications, but be advised, a pressure washer in inexperienced hands can be a dangerous thing, so if you are not used to using one of these powerful machines, it is probably best to leave the job to one of these professional pressure washing services.

Once the deck has dried, it is a good idea to go over all of the surfaces lightly with a coarse grit sandpaper, preferably higher than 60, to quickly knock down any rough wood grain that may have been raised by the water or solvents and lightly strip away any suntanned areas of the exposed lumber. You may want to blow off the dust with compressed air or, at the very least, sweep after sanding.

The final step is to apply a finish. Depending on the species of lumber the deck is made of and its condition, you may choose a basic, clear coat or a richly colored stain. While a clear coat may be all you need for a more complex decking material like redwood or cedar, the cheaper, lighter colored materials like pine or poplar tend to do better with a deck stain. This will not only give the wood a deeper tone, but will also prevent the wood from taking on a dirty look from foot traffic and sun exposure. Follow the directions on the finish you choose for proper adhesion.

After a few days, your deck’s finish will be fully cured and ready to enjoy. It might have taken a little or a lot of work, but the results will last for years to come.

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