When you have that wood deck installed, it’s going to look great. It acts as extra living space in your home and will allow you to enjoy the outdoors on sunny days. Like any area of your home, you need to be sure you’re maintaining it properly. Without good maintenance, it isn’t going to last long. Here are the do’s and don’ts of wood deck paint maintenance that you need to know about.
Do: Clean Your Deck
Like every other area in your home, you need to be cleaning your deck. That allows you to reseal it thoroughly and remove any debris that can stain or damage the wood. Typically, you’ll want to clean the deck once a year.
To clean your deck, you should pick a warm day and sweep any debris off the deck. Use a deck cleaning solution with a brush to scrub the wood down. This will kill any mold or bacteria that are forming on the wood. You can use a pressure washer, but these risk marking or damaging your wood deck paint.
Don’t: Use Chlorine Bleach to Clean Your Deck
You may see some outlets recommending chlorine bleach to clean your deck. It sounds good in theory, as you want to kill off any mold or other growth that’s getting into the wood. However, it’s one of the worst chemicals you can use.
That’s because it can damage the cellular structure of the wood, leading to it degrading faster. Instead, the best cleaner to use is oxygen bleach. It’s a good all-purpose cleaner and won’t wash out the color or harm any nearby plants. Be advised though, it’s not the right product if you have redwood decks.
Do: Cover Your Plants
Before doing any cleaning on your deck, be sure to cover any nearby plants. Even gentle cleaners can harm living plants, so you don’t want to run that risk. Get a plastic sheet or tarp, and wrap your plants, so they’re protected. You want to ensure you’re doing this loosely, so the plants can still breathe.
Don’t: Go Too Hard With the Pressure Washer
It can be done if you want to clean your deck with your pressure washer. However, as noted above, it can easily mark your wood if you’re not careful. If you’re using a pressure washer, sweep the nozzle at an angle across the wood, and keep it moving at all times. For those wanting to use a hose but worrying about damage, you can get a similar effect with your regular garden hose. You’ll need a fireman’s hose attachment which you can easily buy from any hardware store.
Do: Sand the Deck
Now you’ve cleaned the deck down, you’ll need to sand it before you seal it again. Give the deck at least 48 hours to fully dry out after washing. Once it’s dry, you’re ready to get sanding. You don’t need a power sander to do this, a pole sander with 80-grit sandpaper is more than enough to get the job done. Once it’s sanded, you can apply your sealer of choice. There are plenty of different options, so you can pick one that suits you.
Don’t: Assume Paint Will Seal Your Deck
Regular paint will look good when you apply them to the deck, and add some color too if that’s what you want. The problem is, once people start walking over it, the color starts to come off. It’s not going to deal with your deck, so you can’t use paint alone in this instance.
The key is to pick a suitable paint designed for use on decks. Most wood deck paints will be acrylic paint that leaves a UV-resistant film on your deck when you use it. If you use acrylic latex paint, that will also expand and contract with the wood, so you shouldn’t see any cracking.
Do: Properly Prepare Your Deck for Painting
For those looking to paint their decks, there will be some extra prep work they need to do before they can add the color. Firstly, the wood will need to be primed once the deck has been sanded. That will provide an even surface for the color to be applied to.
Once the primer is dry, you’ll add your first coat of paint. Then, it needs to be left for at least 48 hours before you can add another coat. This is why you’ll need a good run of dry, sunny days to clean and paint your deck.
Don’t: Ignore Pressure-Treated Wood Maintenance
A lot of decks are now made with pressure-treated wood. This does help with resisting rot and pest infestations, but it will not resist everything if you’re not taking care of it. Just like any other deck type, you’ll want to do regular inspections and maintenance to keep it in top condition.
When cleaning the deck, ensure that you use products designed especially for pressure-treated wood. They’re very easy to find at the hardware store, and they’ll ensure you’re not damaging the wood as you clean it.
Do: Keep Checking Your Deck
Now that you’ve cleaned, sanded, and painted your deck, it will look as good as new. While you’ve fully painted and sealed the wood, it doesn’t mean that damage still can’t happen, though. If you’re vigilant, any damage that does occur shouldn’t be too bad and can be easily mended. Inspect periodically for splintered planks, loose nails, and any wood rot.
Fix anything you see immediately, as that will stop the damage from spreading and needing a more time-intensive and expensive fix. Maintaining a painted deck will feel intimidating, but once you know the do’s and don’ts, it’s not too difficult. Follow this guide to keep your deck in good condition and ensure that it will last for years to come.
Do: Turn to the Experts
If you are experiencing issues with your wood deck, it’s always better to call a professional to help you fix your deck. While you could DIY the repair, it’s always better to have professionals handle it. They have the experience to diagnose and fix the problem to a high standard. Now you know the do’s and dont’s of wood deck paint maintenance. You should be able to avoid several problems with them.