Barbara and Phil Johnson, of Mobile, Alabama, faced the identical problems other deck owners do. Over the years, the weather in addition to their kids and pets took a toll on their own backyard deck. The harm and also the appearance were bad enough for the Johnsons to take into consideration ripping everything up and starting over.
But 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 numerous others. “This section of the country is tough on decks,” he says. “I’m sometimes asked to replace pressure-treated decks that are below eight years old.” He adds, “Many of these decks are victims of neglect. With regular maintenance, a deck will easily continue for twice as long.” The great thing is that a majority of decks, like this one, may be rejuvenated for much less than the expense of replacement.
Following are some techniques will give a well used deck a fresh lease on life, or to help maintain the look of a replacement. With this project, we enlisted George Graf, a lead carpenter with Mobile’s Lipford Construction, and John Starling, owner of John the Painter. Hiring pros is not difficult around the schedule but difficult on the budget-the fee for repairing a 700-sq.-ft. deck is $700, or about $1 per square foot. Doing the project yourself will surely cost another all the.
Begin by inspecting the complete deck. Pay special focus on any portion of the deck that is certainly in direct experience of the floor, for example the posts, stair stringers or joists which can be at ground level. Graf uses a screwdriver to confirm for structural damage. “If you can sink the tip of the screwdriver in to a post or joist, it means the you’ve got rot and it’s time for any major renovation,” Graf says.
Also, inspect the deck-to-house connection. “Screws and bolts can loosen and rust,” he says. “Minus the proper use of spacers and flashing, moisture could cause your band joist to rot.”
Tighten the fasteners that attach the omaha deck repair towards the house, try to find any missing, bent or rusted flashing and carefully inspect in and out for any telltale black stains that suggest moisture is working its distance to your property.
Next, search for any cosmetic damage. For instance, tap down any popped nails or consider replacing them screws. For that Johnsons’ deck, Graf used galvanized ring-shanked nails when he replaced a few damaged boards. “Screws don’t pop like nails, ” he says “but we want the newest boards to fit the other deck.”
Here’s the negative news: Every deck should have a yearly cleaning. Assuming they have been maintained regularly, most decks could be revived with only a deck cleaner. Some products, like Thompson’s Deck Wash ($10, 1 gal. covers 250 sq. ft.), you mix in a bucket and pertain to the deck; others, like GE’s Weathermate ($30, 1 gal. covers 500 sq. ft.), come in containers with integral applicators which you hook to a garden hose. Once about the deck, most still need a stiff-bristle brush and lots of elbow grease to work the mix into the wood.
Always wear eye protection and gloves when working with concentrated chemicals. You’ll want to protect nearby plants. The amount of plant protection depends upon what type and power of the chemicals you choose. For weak solutions and “plant-friendly” cleaners, you might need to only mist the plants both before and after using cleaning. Powerful deck restorers burns up leaves on contact; in that case you need to cover nearby plants with plastic sheeting.
For tackling tough stains, use a pressure washer (about $70 each day), which is the best method to remove sun-damaged wood fibers and tackle scrub-resistant stains. Graf recommends by using a fan-type nozzle as opposed to a pinpoint nozzle that may dig to the wood. For taking off the mildew, Graf mixes his cleaning solution (see “Deciding on the best Cleaner,” in the facing page), which he feeds in the intake hose about the washer.
Review the deck by using a stiff-bristle brush to work the cleaner in to the wood fibers, and then rinse. The boards needs to be kept damp to ensure the cleaning strategy to work effectively. Enable the deck to dry thoroughly before staining.
There are actually many deck-cleaning products on the market. Most contain one of the following four chemicals his or her main ingredient. Each works well for several types of stains.
Sodium hypochlorite: This chemical-chlorine bleach-will work for removing mildew but isn’t effective on dirt or other stains. So combine it with an ammonia-free detergent. Thoroughly rinse the deck after using this chemical mainly because it can eat away in the wood, causing fuzzing and premature graying.
Sodium percarbonate: When combined with water, this chemical forms hydrogen peroxide (an oxygen-based bleach) and sodium carbonate, which works as a detergent. It will work for removing dirt, mildew and weathered wood.
Oxalic acid: This is certainly good at removing iron stains along with the brown-black tannins that frequently occur with cedar and redwood decks. This acid is typically located in deck brighteners. Oxalic acid isn’t effective against mildew, so you really should make use of it after cleaning the deck by using a bleach-based cleaner.
Sodium hydroxide: Also called lye, this is basically the key ingredient in the majority of finish lifters or removers. Don’t let it sit on a long time, or it might eat away at the wood.
Be very careful whenever using these chemicals, specially when they’re within their most concentrated (premixed) form. Wear the appropriate safety equipment and stick to the manufacturer’s directions towards the letter. Rinse the top thoroughly and give it time to dry before refinishing.
Once every one of the repairs are already made along with the deck is clean, it’s time for you to use a protective finish. Clear finishes and transparent stains are acceptable for new wood, but for older decks, Starling recommends by using a semitransparent stain.
“The grain still shows through, nevertheless the pigment allows the old wood a clean, uniform color helping the newest wood blend in,” he says. The pigment offers extra protection from the damaging effects of sunlight and will go longer than clear finishes. Unlike paint, stain is absorbed by the wood and does not form a film on its surface, so it will not peel or chip.
Starling works with a sprayer and two-in. brush to utilize the stain. “Spraying is fast, and puts more stain about the wood than rolling or brushing,” Starling says. Most painters and homeowners are happier spraying on a generous coat of stain and then following track of a roller or brush to open up puddles and work the finish in the wood. Starling, however, relies on a modified technique. “Rollers push the stain from the wood and on the cracks,” he says. “I don’t get compensated to color dirt under the deck.” Starling sprays on the light coat, the majority of which is quickly distributed around the wood. He uses the brush to eliminate puddles. “In the event the stain’s too thick, it dries blotchy,” he explains. Starling recycles the excess stain to use on exposed end grain.
Starling recommends starting at an inside corner and exercising, using the stain parallel to the deck boards. To prevent staining the nearby brick, he works with a small part of cardboard being a spray shield; the brush provides much more control around deck railings and posts.
This 700-sq.-ft. deck required about 5 gal. of stain – almost twice as much since the estimates indicated around the can. Explains Starling, “Old wood will get thirsty. On some decks, I’ll must apply 2 or 3 coats of stain to obtain a uniform finish.”
Subsequent coats ought to be applied while the first coat continues to be wet or they will not be distributed around the wood. Stain won’t peel, but it really can wear away, specially in high-traffic areas. Starling recommends applying a brand new coat every other year. A definite water repellent can be applied between stainings for more protection.
As the original railing on their own deck is at such bad shape, the Johnsons chose to change it with a maintenance-free railing system. They chose Fiberon, a vinyl-coated wood-plastic composite. It’s for sale in premade panels or as kits. The Johnsons liked the contrast the white railing offered.
For an existing deck or concrete slab, Fiberon creates a surface-mount bracket, as shown below. For brand new decks, the maker recommends installing the posts before the decking and using metal brackets that attach to the joists. To conceal any minor gaps in which the balusters fulfill the bottom rail, Graf recommends by using a mildew-resistant acrylic caulk.