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Andriot's Blog

Check the Deck: 4 Tips for Exterior Structure Maintenance

Warm weather is here, so many of us are turning our attention to the great outdoors. Picnics, graduation parties, family gatherings, and other special occasions – all that and more happen on our decks, porches, and other outdoor spaces. So now is the perfect time to make sure these structures are safe and attractive. As you know, a little maintenance can go a long way, saving money by preventing repairs or replacement.

We have four steps that can help make this process quicker and easier.

1 – Check the Structure

Keeping your family and friends safe is the number one priority, so it’s important to give your deck or porch a thorough inspection. Check the structure for loose boards and nails and rotted or damaged wood on surfaces, stairs, balusters, railing, posts, etc. If you’re a do- it-yourselfer, make necessary repairs, or if that isn’t your thing, hire a reputable contractor to fix it for you. (Check out this post for tips on hiring a good one.)

Remember, you get what you pay for, so don’t be tempted to skimp on upkeep and repairs when it comes to keeping your loved ones safe. Find more helpful repair tips at the PaintSource Network and at This Old House.

2 – Clean the Surface

In addition to removing dirt, debris, stains, and mildew, cleaning your deck or porch will prepare it for new paint, stain, or sealer as necessary. Whether you clean the surface by giving it a good hand scrubbing or by pressure washing it, you’ll wash the winter’s dirt and grime away, freshening it up just in time for summer’s use.

We have products to clean both wood and composite decking, so if you’re not sure which one is right, feel free to stop in for advice. And just in case you didn’t know, we also rent pressure-washing equipment.

3 – Choose the Finish

Deck and porch finishing products not only beautify, but also help extend their life by preserving the surface from weather, normal wear and tear, etc.  This extra layer of protection is available in various finishes, from clear and semi-solid to solid colors. Transparent and translucent finishes allow the natural wood to shine through, while semi solids offer a hint of color. If the look you’re going for instead is dark or striking, solid finishes are the ones for you.

When choosing the finish, it’s important to consider the following factors. What type of deck or porch is it? Where is it located? Is it close to water? Or is it a covered or ground level structure? How much foot traffic will it endure? And so on. Benjamin Moore offers their advice on how to choose the right exterior wood stain here. You’ll also find helpful tips on selecting and applying the right products at The PaintSource Network site.

As far as we’re concerned, quality stains and finishes are a must. They last longer, standing up to the elements and natural wear and tear. One example is Benjamin Moore’s Arborcoat, which offers superior UV shields. Zar Exterior Finishes provide great protection and coverage, too. The specially designed weather defense formula of Storm by California Paints is another good choice, as is One Time, an all in one preservative, protector, and stain. UGL’s NuDeck, with its mildew resistant, non-slip features is a good option for damaged or older decks.

 4 – Apply the Finish

Application is not difficult, but having a few pointers from the experts helps. We’re happy to offer any advice you need, and we carry the products and tools necessary to do it right. You can also view One Time’s helpful tips in their General Prep and Finish Videos or DIY’s Deck Maintenance Video. The PaintSource blog is another great place for advice on deck care and finishing, too.

Investing a little time now for deck and outdoor structure maintenance saves time and money in the long run. It helps to beautify your home and provides the perfect backdrop for fun summer gatherings.   Stop in soon, we’d be happy to lend advice and help you find the right products and tools for the job.