Like most items around the house, decks have a tendency to fade into the background, going un-noticed until one afternoon, relaxing on the deck while sipping your favorite beverage, you notice it’s not what it used to be. Perhaps some mildew has formed against the house. There may be a rust stain under the table legs. The finish might be faded and worn. It’s time to take advantage of the sunny days and re-stain the deck!

Once you have selected your weekend, first up is a deck inspection. Is there any rottenwood? You can determine if a board is rotten by gently poking it with a screwdriver. If the screwdriver sinks into the wood with ease, it’s probably rotted, needing to be replaced. While you are examining the deck also be on the lookout for loose screws or nails, tightening them as you go.

After you’ve remedied these issues, the deck needs a thorough cleaning. To accomplish this, you’ll need to gather a few items. First, you need a power washer with a fan tip. It’s important to stay away from a pin-point tip, it will gouge the deck surface. If you don’t have a hose long enough to reach the deck, go ahead and pick one up too.

Next up is the cleaning product. There are a wide variety of products specifically designed for deck cleaning. To select the appropriate one, think back to your inspection. Are there rust spots that need to go? Sections of mildew? Is the deck just dirty? With this in mind, Friedman’s Home Improvement’s friendly & skilled Expert Advisors will help you navigate the available choices to ensure you have the best product for you.

Once you have your cleaning product, take a few minutes and completely read the label. Pay particular attention to any safety precaution. At minimum, even if the label does not recommend them, you should have a good pair of safety googles. These will prevent chemical and flying debris from getting in your eyes while power washing. Also, pick up a stiff bristle brush and a long handle. You’ll use this to work the product into tough stains on your deck.

The best way to apply the stain is with a paint sprayer. Keep a brush handy to smooth out any pools of stain that may form. You’re looking for an even coat, that way the stain will dry evenly. It’s a good idea to start in a corner near the house, working out as you go. To avoid overspray onto the house or plants, use a piece of cardboard as a backstop. Apply a second coat before the first coat of stain is completely dry. Once dry, additional coats won’t soak into the wood.

Once you’re done, it’s time to sit back and enjoy your rejuvenated deck with a cold beverage and your favorite people. While staining the deck should not be necessary each year, it’s a good idea to do a thorough inspection and deep clean yearly. This will lengthen the decks life and decrease the frequency of re-staining.