Secrets of the Deck Professionals

Deck maintenance tips:  People really need to be maintaining their deck on a more frequent basis than most realize.  But first, you need to know what type of decking material you have in order to know how to maintain it.  If decks are maintained properly and regularly, they can last 20-30 years, with some minor repairs along the way, too.

Types of Decking Material

Let’s talk about the several types of decking material that’s out there and what I see.

  • Wolmanized or pressure-treated lumber – Very common and it’s probably the most cost-effective price wise as far as material goes. Holds up real well. Since it is pressure-treated, it has the tendency to split and warp on you a little bit.  But all in all, it does a great job.
  • Cedar and/or redwood – You don’t find as much redwood, but cedar is the second most type of wood that I see. Great wood, and it’s got natural decay resistant material in the wood. Holds up real well. 
  • Composite – which is kind of a hybrid of wood and plastics and all melding together.  This is what they consider a non-maintenance material.
  • IPE – It is a wood that comes from South America.  Very dense, very hard.  Feels like hard as steel.  In order to keep the natural wood coloring, you’ll need to maintain it once a year with special IPE oil.  

Deck Wash

Among other deck maintenance tips, is deck washing.  I like to use either Sherwin Williams Revive or Sherwin Williams Deck Wash.  You can expect to get off mold, mildew, and algae.  Use a spray-on application method and wet it down really well.  After setting for 20 minutes, you can agitate with a brush and then pressure wash it clean by using a wider fan tip.

Deck Sanding

After proper drying of the deck, another deck maintenance tips is you can go ahead and sand down the floors and top of handrails.  It’s good to get the deck smooth for bare feet and hands-on the handrails during a party.  Use a 60-80 grit sandpaper or orbital sander for larger decks to make the process go a bit quicker.  Take a leaf blower or sweeper and get the excess dust off after sanding.

Types of Stain & Number of Coats

  • Transparent – one coat, every 2-3 years
  • Semi-Transparent – one coat, every 2-3 years
  • Semi-Solid – one coat, every 2-3 years
  • Solid – two coats, every 3-5 years

The only variable on how many years you can go is the color you choose and the wear and tear on your deck.  It depends if you have dogs, kids, a lot of furniture moving back and forth, parties and entertainment.

Deck Maintenance Tips

  1. Read the back of your stain and cleaner cans and follow the manufacturer’s directions.  Can’t go wrong with this advice.
  2. If you want to get your deck done early, do it before your perennials grow in near the deck.  If you want to stain your deck in the fall, do it right after the leaves all fall down.  Summer, of course, is a great time to stain without many issues at all to contend with.
  3. If you are staining your deck in the summer, direct sunlight can be your enemy.  Stain early in the morning and try to only stain in the shade if you can.  If not, finish up each deck board in its full length, so you don’t have lap marks.

Don’t forget, if you need an estimate on washing, sanding, and or staining your deck, give me a call. My team and I have been serving the Hinsdale, Oak Brook, LaGrange, Darien, Western Springs, Burr Ridge, Hawthorn Woods, Lake Bluff, and all of Chicago area for 30+ years.

Helpful Other Blog Posts on Decks:

When Should You Walk on Your Deck After Staining it?

You Have a Brand Newly Built Deck – When Should Yout Get it Stained?