How to Maintain your Deck

Deck Maintenance vs. Deck Restoration

If your wood deck still retains an even coat of color from the last time it was stained, or has small spots of wear from foot traffic or moisture, it’s likely in need of a yearly maintenance coat. This is an easy day-long project, with only a few hours needed.

If, on the other hand, your deck is very dry, grey and splintered, chances are you’ll need to fully restore the deck, a process that includes restoring, whitening, sanding and staining. This will take a weekend to accomplish, but it has satisfying results.

Either way, springtime offers ideal conditions for deck staining: temperatures are moderate (above 50°F, but below 95°F), and the humidity is low to average. Ideally, you should have three to four consecutive dry days prior to beginning any exterior staining project, and a couple of dry days following the project. Have your knowledgeable GNH Lumber associate provide you with all the tools and supplies so that, when the forecast cooperates, you can jump right in!

Yearly Maintenance – Although yearly deck maintenance is often overlooked, it’s an essential step to keeping your deck beautiful and protecting it from the elements.

The first step is to remove any moisture-collecting objects (such as potted plants and ceramics) from the deck surface, and sweep off any fallen leaf matter or organic debris. Next, apply Benjamin Moore CLEAN Multi-Purpose Cleaner with a garden sprayer, work into the grain with a scrub brush, and pressure wash clean. Once the wood is dry, you can re-stain your deck with that all-important maintenance coat.

Click here to watch a video on proper deck maintenance.

Full Deck Restoration – Sadly, most backyard decks fall victim to a lack of yearly maintenance, and suffer from severe weathering. If this is the case with your deck, don’t be discouraged! Even dry, greying wood can be restored to its former beauty and protected with a couple coats of quality stain; it just takes a couple extra steps. First, clear the deck surface (same as you would for your maintenance plan). Be sure to sink any nails or screws that may have risen above the wood surface.

To remove an old coat of stain, apply Benjamin Moore REMOVE Finish Removerwith a garden sprayer and evenly pressure wash clean. (If there’s no evidence of stain, you can skip this step). Apply Benjamin Moore RESTORE Wood Restorer, allow to sit for 10 minutes. Then evenly pressure wash. Next, apply the Benjamin Moore BRIGHTEN Brightener and Neutralizer – this will brighten tannin-rich woods, and restore the natural beauty of the grain. Rinse thoroughly and allow plenty of time to dry – preferably overnight. Click here to watch a video on restoring a severely weathered deck.

When your deck dries completely, it will require sanding with progressively finer sandpaper to assure proper absorption of stain. Often, pressure washing can splinter damaged wood even further. You can use a hand-held sander for rails and detailing, and a larger sander for broad surfaces. When the surface is smooth, it’s ready to stain.

After you apply a couple coats of Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Stain, your deck will be protected from the elements for a long time to come. But that doesn’t mean you should skip on yearly maintenance. Make sure that every spring you sweep off leaf matter and debris, clean and power wash the wood before giving it that extra coat of TLC. It will definitely pay off in the long run!

What is needed for the job
  • Stain brushes or pad applicators
  • Benjamin Moore rollers and roller covers
  • Stain mitt
  • Sprayer
  • Caulk
  • Gloves
  • Hose or power washer
  • Paint scraper
  • Painter’s tape
  • Rags
  • Sandpaper
  • Wire brush
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