This recent warmer weather is now drawing people into their backyards, where they catch their first glimpse of the condition of their wooden decks. And for many, it ain’t a pretty sight.
If you don’t like the deck you see, your first instinct might be to stain or paint it, thinking it will cover-up all your problems, so you can go on enjoying it again. Oh, if only life were that easy.
If you have deteriorating deck boards, this IS the right time of year to replace and repair them, but it is definitely NOT the time to paint or stain your entire deck. Why? Because newly installed wooden boards do not come from the hardware store or lumber yard ready-to-stain. They are full of moisture and need to dry-out after they’re installed, maybe for 3-4 months. Until then, they will not properly absorb the stain or seal. If you finish them prematurely, they’ll never look right and they won’t last as long.
Here are the places on your deck you’re most likely to find deteriorated boards. On the floor boards, look for splits at the each end that run from the nails/screws to the ends, especially on decks made from cedar. Also, large and growing knot holes and long cracks. On railings, look for top rails that have cracks where the sun beats down on them, and the areas where the horizontal railings attach to posts. But, don’t worry about vertical cracks in these posts themselves — they’re not unusual and occur naturally. On stairs, look for warped horizontal stair treads. Finally, look at where the posts meet the ground. If they’re rotting or are touching anything other than concrete, give us a call. We can fix this before you have REAL problems.
So, heed the words of the ’60’s rock band “The Byrds” (oh, and the Bible). To everything, there is a season. For those with deteriorating decks, repair or replace boards NOW, stain them in the early summer.