2006-04-27 / News

Deck maintenance made easy

By Roger Marshall

It's spring and your deck looks a bit worse for wear after the winter. But how do you bring it back into shape. Preparation is the key to getting a good-looking deck. In fact, many painters say that preparation is 90 percent of the job and painting is 10 percent.

The first step is to get the deck clean. You might decide to pressure wash it, which will get all the dirt out but requires that you use a lot of water and either an electric or gas powered washer, or you can scrub it by hand to get rid of the dirt. Whatever method you use, you should get the deck very clean before you start to paint it.

But wait, as the old advertisement says, there's more. If you have a painted deck you should scrape or sand off any loose flaking paint, and sand the remaining paint lightly to give the new paint a good "tooth." If you strip a painted deck to bare wood, make sure that you touch up with an undercoat before you repaint it again. If you don't, you may well find that the new paint starts to flake off in a few months.

If you have grease stains from your barbeque on the deck and can't get them out with soap and water, you might want to try dirt removers such as FSP, or a good quality stain remover. The staff at Jamestown Hardware can advise you on the best remover to buy. Before you paint, make sure you get all the grease out or the paint will not adhere well and eventually bubble or peel off.

With the deck clean, sanded, and touched up with undercoat, you can start to paint the topcoat. Wait for a nice sunny dry day and go at it. If you want a non-skid deck, I suggest that you buy one of the additives that boatbuilders use in paint to make it into non-skid deck paint. If you add sand to the paint, while it is cheap it acts like sandpaper on your shoes or clothes if you walk or sit on the deck.

It is easiest to apply the paint with a roller on the deck surface, but you might have to use a brush to paint trim and posts around the edges. You can also use a sprayer, but make sure that you mask off any bushes, windows and doors if the deck is near your house. While spraying is faster, it puts on a thinner coat of paint, and you should spray the job at least twice to get a good thick layer of paint. Don't try to spray a thick layer on one pass, it will sag and run. Once your deck is finished, you can enjoy it with a glass of your favorite beverage, knowing that you won't have to do it again for a couple of years.

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