Preparing Your Decks and Railings For Fall

PREPARING YOUR DECKS AND RAILINGS FOR THE CHANGING SEASON.

Looking back when your deck was first installed and officially commission for fun under the sun; it looked great and everybody loved it – it seemed. Friends, family, and neighbors couldn’t get enough of soaking up fun, food and relaxation on your deck. It couldn’t help but make you feel good seeing your favorite people laughing and enjoying life on your brand new deck.

Now that time has past and a few years have come and gone since your deck was installed; it’s hard to believe that this is the same deck that you had just a few years ago. How can it be? Mildew, dirt, cooking grease, mold, dark spots, compost, twigs, leaves, and of course, bird droppings have all but covered it up. It is enough to make you want to throw up your hands and holler. Your beloved has gone from great to worst.

RENOVATING YOUR DECK
Decks are very popular today, much more so than in the past when few homes had decks. Many people spend time on their decks daily, cooking out or just relaxing in the sun. A deck is also a place where many homeowners choose to entertain guests. For as much time as we spend on our decks, we usually don’t give them the care that we show the inside of our home. If your deck has become rundown and an eyesore, there’s a lot that can be done to renovate and give it new life.
If your deck is old and rundown, you’re probably embarrassed to use it for entertaining of your friends and relatives. With the cost of living as high as it is, building a new deck is probably not an option. As a homeowner, you probably have many more important things to worry about than an old-looking deck. Painting is an option that many don’t consider, yet it will do the wonder for your deck. While painting will get its wear and tear with the elements of weather and continued use, it’s a great short-term fix to keep your deck looking attractive so you can continue to get good use out of it.

DECK PAINTING
The floor of your deck is the most important part of your deck, but the railings also play a large part in its appearance. Painting your deck can really improve the railing designs and bring out any intricate carvings or designs they may have. Before you begin your painting, it’s important to prepare the surface before you begin. If you have any boards that are broken or rotted, they need to be replaced. You’ll be wasting time and paint by not replacing them. Even the most beautiful paint job won’t cover up rotten or broken boards. Any twisted nails or fasteners need to be removed to protect the surface of the deck. Use weatherproof or galvanized nails or screws, putting them in the same holes from the original nails. Make sure your new nails are longer than what was in the boards. Make sure all loose boards are secured tightly.

PREPARATION OF YOUR DECK
Once you have all the boards replaced and secured tightly, you will need to thoroughly clean the deck. A commercial deck cleaner is the most efficient and thorough way to clean your deck, but this may not be a possibility for everyone. If you have a pressure washer, this works great; otherwise, a wire brush and deck broom will do the trick. Make sure you get off all the dirt as well as any old finish and loose material. Make sure the deck gets a chance to dry thoroughly so it’s free of all moisture and then sweep with a soft broom.
Priming the surface of the deck with an exterior wood primer will be your next step. A brush is recommended over a sprayer because the brush will help the primer to better penetrate the wood. You’ll need two coats of primer because the first coat will instantly soak into the wood.

Now that you have your “new” deck, regular maintenance will keep it looking great. Maintenance should consist of sweeping with a soft broom and cleaning with a mild detergent and soft wet cloth. Try to avoid cleaning with a garden hose as it may chip the paint. With regular care, your deck will continue to look good for a few more years. Once again, your deck can be a source of pride for you and your family.