From family backyard gathering to the relaxing evenings spent at home, your deck is a fantastic way to appreciate the outdoors without having to leave your home. It is important to remember that at some point it is going to require maintenance to keep it looking clean and fresh, as well as structurally sound. I. Boyd Home Improvements, the home improvement experts of Maryland, provide a two part blog series with the most frequently asked questions regarding your deck restoration. We can begin by taking a look at how you can deal with the most common issues that could come up over the course of your deck’s existence.
How can I remove stains and discoloration?
If you have a wood or composite deck, you will most certainly have to deal with stains and discoloration over time. This can be caused by mold, especially with composite decking. A mold problem is more likely if your deck is in a shaded area or tends to stay damp throughout the day. However, mold is not just an issue that is unique to composite decks. Wood decks also have to deal with mold, algae, and mildew.
To see if the black spots on your wood deck are mildew, apply a drop of
undiluted bleach to a spot. If it disappears after a few minutes, you can clean your deck with a mild cleanser and rinse it off with a solution of four parts water and one part liquid bleach. On your composite deck, use a soft bristle brush and soapy, warm water to clean off any mold or mildew.
How can I prevent slippery decking?
Mold and mildew can not only stain your deck, but it can also cause your deck to become slippery. After you remove the mold or mildew, apply a water-repellent stain and let it dry for at least 48 hours. If you live in a rainy or humid area, you can add a mildewcide to the stain for further protection.
If your deck seems particularly prone to slippery areas, you can apply a marine-grade anti-slip decking product. This type of product contains sand in the paint to provide extra traction. Lastly, you can apply self-adhesive strips that have a coarse grit surface to the front edges of the steps for extra grip there as well.
How do I fix warped decking?
A common wooden decking problems is warping. This mostly happens if the deck is not properly weather treated or if it sees a lot of extreme weather conditions. Boards that are very warped will be easily noticed because they will have some extreme curvature and will most likely have nails popping up. Boards that are just starting to warp will be also easy to spot if you get eye level with the deck.
Once you spot a warped board to be replaced, use a pry bar to remove it from the deck. Use a board that is not warped to get the measurements to cut your new plank of wood. Slide the new board into place and hammer two galvanized nails into each section of the crossbeam to attach the new board to the deck.
How do I fill the gaps in my decking?
You may have the notion to fill in gaps in your decking with wood filler or caulk, the natural movement of the boards can eventually cause the materials to break loose and make the gaps even more pronounced. However, you can use rope to easily fill the gaps. Then even if the size of the gaps changes, you can simply refill it with new rope.
After you clean the deck, cut a sufficient amount of natural fiber rope that will fit the length of each gap. Don’t use synthetic rope because stain and paint won’t adhere to the material. Make sure the rope is slightly wider than the gap so you’ll have a tight fit. Next, pour stain or paint that matches your deck into a bucket, and put the rope in the bucket. Allow it to sit long enough so that it reaches the desired color.
After the rope has dried, insert it into one end of the gap and use a flat-head screwdriver to push the rope into the gap until you reach the other end of the board. Use a utility knife to cut the end of the rope and repeat the same procedure to fill in any other gaps.
Part II of the FAQ series on deck restoration will be posted later in the week. If you have any other questions or are looking to hire an expert to perform your deck restoration needs. Contact I. Boyd Home Improvements today to set up a free estimate.