Over time, your deck faces a lot of weathering challenges, especially in sunny California. Because of this, it’s important to know how to protect and restore a deck from sun damage.
Your deck looks fantastic when its first installed, but over time it will get damaged and need some TLC to get it looking its best again.
Damage comes from all sorts of things, from rain to just general use, but the sun is one aspect that you just can’t avoid.
Here’s how you can restore a deck, and protect it from any further sun damage.
How The Sun Damages Your Deck
You may think you’ve done enough to protect a deck by sealing it from water damage, but the fact is the sun’s doing more damage than you know.
When the sun is out, your deck is being exposed to UV rays. Over the summer months, that damage is accelerated.
You’ll first notice this if your deck starts graying in the sun. Many homeowners don’t worry about this, as they think that it looks rustic.
The problem is though that the wood fibers are actually being damaged when this happens. This makes them more susceptible to cracking.
If left long enough, the sun will actually lead to your decking warping, cracking, and cupping. What once looked great will soon start looking sad and uncared for.
How To Restore a Deck After Sun Damage
Can you repair the damage to your decking? You can’t bring a single damaged board back to its former glory once it’s cracked or rotted, but you can replace them and make your deck look just as good as it used to be.
- The first thing to do will be to inspect your deck carefully. It’s a good idea to bring a screwdriver with you.
- You’ll see if a deck has been damaged by the sun, if it’s cracked or started cupping. However, sun damage also leaves your deck susceptible to water damage too.
Even if you can’t see this, the damage could be there.
The best way to check for this is to try and sink the tip of the screwdriver into the wood. If you can do this, there is rot present and that wood will need to be replaced. Be thorough, and check all of the wood on your deck to ensure that you’re replacing every part that needs replacing.
You’ll need to replace the wood on the deck, or even replace the deck itself if the wood is damaged enough. You can do this yourself, or you can hire a professional to make those repairs for you.
Cleaning Off Your Decking
Now the broken or damaged wood has been replaced, you’ll need to clean your deck off ready for the next step.
It’s vital that you clean your deck once a year, to remove any built up dirt and debris that causes damage. Remember, built up debris, especially in the cracks of your decking, encourages wood rot and other issues that you want to avoid.
- To restore a deck, you’ll first need a deck cleaner. These are easy to pick up from your local hardware store. Some can be just mixed in a bucket, while others need to be applied with a hose or other method.
- Another cleaning method is to use a pressure washer. These are great as they will remove any sun damaged wood fibers that are left on your decking, giving you a clean slate to start again.
When working with deck cleaner, make sure that you’re protecting any nearby plants from the solution.
Again, your deck cleaner instructions will let you know how to do this, as the strength of the mixture will dictate how dangerous it is to your plants.
It’s important that you don’t skip this step, as you’ll need a clean deck to coat it, ready to protect it from the sun.
Coating And Painting Your Deck
Now that your deck is clean and ready, you’ll need to consider how you’ll coat it. A good deck coating is essential, not only to protect it from the sun, but from water damage as well.
When you’re picking a sealer, be careful about which one you use. There are many clear sealers out there that protect against water, but don’t do anything to protect against UV damage at all. Check with a professional before you buy, to ensure you’re getting the right one.
Which sealant should you use? There are a few options, here’s what you could use to restore a deck:
– Clear sealant:
These are good options if you’re looking to show off the natural beauty of the wood in your deck. They retain the natural beauty of the wood, while protecting against any damage.
They should also protect against mildew, something else that is damaging to the wood. These are often best applied by a professional, and should be redone every two years.
– Semi transparent sealant:
As the name implies, these sealants are slightly more opaque in color, but you will still be able to see the natural wood underneath them.
They are great if you’re looking to keep the color of the wood intact. They offer better UV protection than clear sealants, too.
– Solid color sealants:
These are the best for UV protection, as they block all light from getting to your wood decking. If you’d like to change the color of your decking, then this is the sealant you want to use.
Like the other sealants, these are best used by professionals and inspected regularly, as a crack in the sealant is a good way for water and sun damage to start without you knowing.
Protecting Your Deck From The Sun
If your decking has taken sun damage, it isn’t too late. You can repair and restore a deck and ensure that it looks as good as new. The trick is in maintaining it properly throughout the year.
Ensure you give it a good washing every year, and replace the sealant every two years. You can restore a deck, but it’s much easier to just maintain it. Take good care of the decking, and you’ll never have to deal with sun damaged wood again.