How to Liven Up Your Worn Down Deck

You can easily give those old run down boards a new life in just 6 steps.

Beyond the vinyl wood windows and siding replacement your Arlington Heights or Hoffman Estates home may need, perhaps your backyard deck could use a new life. In between refinishing your deck, consistent broom washings with soap and water is a great way to keep it in shape. You should clean it at least once a season, preferably in the Spring as that is when pollen becomes a feeding source for mildew. Then every 3-4 years, follow these six steps below to keep your deck looking and lasting it's very best.

SELECT A FINISH: There are three main things to consider here and that is 1- practicality, 2- protection, and 3- aesthetics. When you favor one of these priorities over the others, you will sacrifice a bit on the other ones. Typically, the most popular deck finishes have been the semi-transparent stains, which are pretty simple to maintain. They have an increased amount of sun-blocking pigments yet not enough to shadow the grain of your wood. They penetrate the surface of the wood so there is no film to fail. You can recoat as necessary, usually after 3 years.

Step 1: Get It Wet and Wash It

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• Move away any branches that touch your deck and remove plants and patio furniture.
• Do this on a cloudy day so that evaporation will be more gradual.

• Cover any plants or siding close by.
• Wear rain pants and rubber boots for protection.
• Wash any dirt and leaves off your railings and deck with a garden hose spray or pressure washer set at gentle. Hold the hose nozzle tip at least 18" from the wood.

Step 2: Time To Scrub

• With latex gloves on and while your deck is still wet - dip a stiff-bristled brush in your cleaning solution.
• Scrub the wood using the brush moving in the direction of the wood grain. Work it through in modest sections beginning with the top rail down the balusters and posts to the bottom rail.
• Confront the deck boards last, not more than 200 sq. ft. in your given time.
Great Tip: The bubbles from your soap tell you what areas of your deck you have already done.

Step 3: Power Rinse It Off

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• After about 15-20 minutes rinse the soap solution completely off with your pressure washer or garden hose holding it about 6 " to 8" from the deck. Make sure the water spray spans the width of a single board and hits the deck at a 45 degree angle. Rinse each board separately and move steadily across as you go.

Warning: Do Not let your hose or pressure washer spray in a single area continually being on.

Step 4: Allow It To Dry

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• The deck wood must be dry to absorb your finish. Make sure it is all the way dry giving it 3-4 days without moisture or rain is usually enough time. If you're not sure, check with a moisture meter, make sure it read 15% or less.
• Be sure and thoroughly sweep the deck clean before putting on your stain.

Step 5: Apply Stain On The Railings

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• Use a brush that is a little bit bigger than the boards on your deck and is synthetic. Apply the stain in its full strength in the same order that you washed your deck boards. Begin at the top rail, then balusters & posts, your bottom rail, and then your deck surface.

• Stir your stain often while applying it to keep an even color.
• Be sure and brush up and runs or drips and runs quickly.
Great Tip: Complete each of the 4 sides of your balusters before you move on to the next one.

Step 6: Apply Stain On Your Deck

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•Using even long strokes, brush your deck's boards one at a time, brushing with the grain. You'll want to keep a wet edge to hinder lap marks, and quickly brush out any small pools of stain.
• When you are complete, allow your deck to dry for a minimum of 2 days before you put your furniture back or even walk on it.

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