Deck Maintenance

One of the most useful assets your New Jersey home can have during the spring and summer is a deck. It is a great place to entertain or to just sit alone and enjoy some peace and warm weather. Since spring is right around the corner, you may be considering installing a deck. If you already have one, you are probably looking for ways make it look new again and get it ready for spring.

Wash. Before you can make any repairs or even analyze what repairs you need to make, you should remove any dirt and debris that may have collected since the last time it was used, which was likely five or more months ago. Use a pressure washer and make sure you keep the water stream moving at all times to avoid gouging the wood. After washing, allow it to dry overnight.

Fix Nails. Check the deck for loose or rusty nails. Loose nails can compromise the integrity of the deck or injure someone who steps on them. A rusty nail that breaks skin can often require medical attention. Once you have removed any nails that are a potential danger to you or others, replace them with screws that are longer than the original nail. A screw is far less likely to come loose on its own and a longer one will attach the board even more securely than before.

Repair or Replace Split Wood. Split wood compromises the deck’s stability and is a good way to get splinters. You may want to hire a professional to replace damaged deck boards, but you might choose to do it yourself. After removing the damaged board and installing a replacement board, the new piece will likely be slightly higher and wider than the rest. This is normal and it should shrink a bit as it loses moisture. If it does not, make sure all screws are recessed into the wood and use a sander to even out the new board with the others.

Stain and Seal. Pressure treated wood is resistant to insects and decay but is not immune to moisture or extreme sun rays. You can use a clear wood preservative that will protect the wood from UV rays and excessive or chlorinated water without changing the color. If you want to change the color, you can use either a solid or semi-transparent exterior stain. Semi-transparent stains should always be used for deck areas but you may want to highlight a railing or banister with a solid, paint-like stain. This should be allowed to dry for at least 48 hours before sealing.

If you don’t have a deck yet but want to install one, call M&M Construction Specialist for pricing and other options.

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