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Extending the Life of Your Treasured Outdoor Living Spaces

California decks are more than just a nice to have backyard feature. They are generally considered essential for people who love to entertain in a region that is known for homes with limited interior square footage. Decks also get more use in the Golden State than in many other places just because of the area’s propensity for sunshine and mild temperatures. Subsequently, Californians tend to pay closer attention to the intricacies of deck maintenance after finally designing and constructing the deck of their dreams. Here is what those in the know do to keep their prime outdoor living spaces structurally sound and looking like new.

Plan to Weatherproof
Weatherproofing a deck is important because without some sort of barrier between the deck’s natural wood and the elements the wood will quickly weaken, warp, crack, cup and become discolored. The timing and frequency of weatherproofing activities depend upon the natural environment, the type of sealer applied as well as the species and maturity of the wood used in the deck’s construction. For instance, a deck that is built in areas like Seattle or Malibu that get more rain or sun than the national average will likely need to undergo the weather proofing process more often than decks that are in areas where weather is more balanced. Many experts suggest that one wait a full month to seal newly constructed decks made from natural or pressure treated pine, but decks that are constructed of cedar should be treated with a penetrating sealant within two weeks of assembly to avoid the impacts of damaging ultraviolet light. The weatherproofing process is accomplished in two steps that must be repeated periodically to extend the useful life of decks.

Deck Cleaning
The materials needed to adequately clean a deck prior to staining include a broom, putty knife, scrub brush, cleaning solution and water. Thoroughly sweeping the deck of visible debris is the first step in the process. The second step is cleaning in between the boards by scraping away any decayed leaves that are stuck in the deck’s cracks and crevices. After conducting another sweep of the area to get rid of the scrapings, scrub the deck with the cleaning solution and rinse with water. All types of cleaning solutions are available at the big box hardware stores, but local carpenters will likely know the best products to use on particular decks for new construction and maintenance sealing. These building professionals often have access to pressure washers too for more efficient job performance.

Apply Weather Resistant Sealer
Before applying the weatherproofing sealer to decking surfaces, the deck must be thoroughly dry. This means waiting up to 72 hours before finishing the job; one can follow up with a moisture content meter to make sure that the timing is right. The penetrating sealer can be applied to the deck with a foam roller brush, one should wait a day or two for the sealer to cure before actually walking on the deck’s surfaces. There are many types of penetrating sealers on the market, and improvements to the formulas are being made all the time. Carpenters and other building professionals give advice about which sealants are the most effective and long lasting. Choosing the wrong sealer can result in having to reseal the deck every year versus every five years in many cases.


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