If you have a custom deck on your property, you are one lucky homeowner. A deck is a wonderful addition to any home and you surely spend a lot of your time enjoying yours. Memories are made out on the deck, and you likely have plenty with more ahead in the future.
Of course, you want your deck to last for many years or even decades to come. In order to ensure that, you need to take care of your deck and stay on top of ongoing deck maintenance.
Weatherproofing can help slow the deterioration of your deck and can extend your deck’s life by more years than you might ever imagine. If you want to have a deck, weatherproofing is part of the package.
To learn all about weatherproofing, why it’s important, and how to do it yourself, read on. This informative post will tell you everything you need to know about sealing your deck to ward off the effects of the elements.
Why Is Weatherproofing Important?
Weatherproofing is the most crucial aspect of deck maintenance.
No matter what type of climate you live in, weather is tough on your deck. 365 days a year, your deck experiences exposure to sun, heat, wind, rain, cold, snow, hail, and more. It gets both very wet and very dry, and that’s tough on the wood. On top of all of that, your deck is always wearing down also due to foot traffic and regular use.
If you don’t protect your custom deck, you will soon encounter some problems. You’ll watch the wood fade at first; later the wood will warp and it will become weaker. Depending on where you live, mold or fungus may invade the wood. In time, it will rot, and then it will begin to become structurally unsound.
This will all happen very gradually, so you may not even notice it or be worried about it at first. It may seem sudden to you when you hear something crack or snap, but it’s likely that the issue was building up over a long time.
How Often Should I Seal My Deck?
There is no one answer to the question of how often a deck should be sealed. However, at the very least, a deck should be sealed at least once every three years.
In many cases, you should waterproof yours more often than that. It depends on the sealer and stain that you use, the weather conditions where you live, everyday wear and tear, and the amount of sun exposure your deck receives.
There’s one thing you can do to determine whether your deck needs to be sealed. On a dry day, sprinkle some water on the deck. If that water is absorbed quickly, then your deck is probably overdue for a round of weatherproofing. On the other hand, if it beads up, you don’t need to add any new sealant quite yet.
How to Weatherproof Your Custom Deck
There are three main steps in the deck weatherproofing process, and they all begin with the letter S: sweep, scrub, and seal. Summarizing this process into these simple steps will make a big job completely manageable. Your deck will be weatherproofed for another year or two before you know it.
The first thing you need to do to begin any maintenance job is the prepwork; you need to prepare your deck for what’s to come. Depending on the current state of your deck as well as its size, this step can take anywhere from an hour to several days.
You’ll want to remove everything from your deck including furniture, plants, toys, and your grill. Then, take your time to sweep it thoroughly with a good broom. Sweep off all the debris and take the time to remove sticks and leaves from between the boards.
Use a sander to give your deck a good sanding and to even out the surface. Wear a safety mask and sand in the direction of the grain.
If you see anything that needs repair, now is the time to do it. Pull out any old boards and replace them. Check to make sure the railings and supports are sturdy, too.
Cover any surrounding plants and bushes so when you do add the sealant, they won’t be harmed. You’ll want to cover your siding around the deck as well.
The second step of the weatherproofing process is to clean your deck a bit further, but this time with water. There are a number of deck cleaning products on the market that you can use, but a half and half solution of bleach and water works just as well as most of them.
Use a durable sponge to remove algae and mildew and don’t forget to get in the cracks, too. Then, give it a good rinse. You’ll be amazed at how great your deck already looks after this step. Give it time to dry before you move onto the actual weatherproofing.
Once your deck is dry, it’s ready to receive the sealant. Be sure to stir the sealant thoroughly before you begin; don’t shake it or you’ll end up with bubbles.
Apply the sealant. Use long strokes and make sure it doesn’t puddle. A paint roller is the best tool for the job. Keep moving all the time and work the sealant into the wood as you go. You can use a paint brush to apply the sealant to cracks and other hard-to-reach places like railings and steps.
After the first coat is dry, go back through and apply a second coat. Some people choose to skip this step, but it’s wise to use two coats.
Give the deck a day or two to dry completely before you return your furniture and other items to it, but otherwise, your job is complete. Take a step back and admire your deck. This is the best it will look all year, and you won’t have to weatherproof it again for a while.
Weatherproofing your custom deck may sound like a giant project, but as you can see, the process is actually quite simple.
You can and should weatherproof your deck on a regular basis to ensure that it will last you and your family a lifetime. It’s a bit of work, but not too much, and when you’ve finished the job, you’ll be glad you did it.
Now, get out there and weatherproof your deck so you can enjoy it the rest of this year!
If you’re interested in getting a deck added to your home or property in the Charleston, South Carolina area, or want to replace an old deck with a new and better one, please give us a call today. We can’t wait to help you realize your backyard dreams!