Since we have had a string of dreary days, now is the time to get out there and prepare your outdoor living areas for the summer outdoor entertainment season. While you want to use the sunny days for fertilizing the lawn, planting flowers, etc., don't waste those gray, overcast days, which are great for other outdoor projects. One task that can be tackled on a dreary day is prepping and cleaning your deck to get it ready for staining. Your Rochester MN home inspectors recommends staining your deck as one of the best ways to protect your investment from the elements, It will be easier to maintain and look better longer. However, you won’t get the best results by laying down a coat or two of stain without proper preparation of the deck surface. Every deck staining project should start with a proper inspection, cleaning and preparation. Although you may want a perfect - sunny weekend to stain your deck, prepping can be done at any time. Take a look at these simple steps below to help achieve great-looking results that last:
Get all of your tools and materials together. To make your project flow, and save time, have the following within reach before you start your project:
Broom or leaf blower
Ladder (for decks off ground)
Buckets for mixing
Synthetic brushes (2 to 4 inches)
Long handles for rollers
Roller frames and roller grids
Cleaning product. Your local Rochester or Southeastern MN hardware or building supplies store offers a variety of wood cleaning and stripping products to help clean and brighten surfaces dulled and grayed by the sun, dirt and rain.
Inspect your deck surfaces to make sure they are both safe and sturdy. Be sure to inspect for areas that may have bad wood, dry rot, loose nails, loose spindles and broken boards. Replace boards as needed and secure any loose nails and spindles.
Prepare yourself, the deck and the surrounding area. Make sure you follow all safety precautions prescribed by the cleaning product manufacturer before starting your deck cleaning project. Wear gloves, safety glasses or goggles, and old clothing - shorts are not recommended when using chemicals. Before starting, cover any areas you want to protect, wet down plants and shrubs, and wet your deck surface with water.
Clean, scrub and renew your deck. Work the cleaner into the wood, starting from the bottom up to reduce streaking. Be sure to keep surfaces wet with water and let the wood cleaner stand for 20 to 30 minutes before rinsing. Once you have your deck cleaned, the wood should dry for at least 48 hours before applying any stains or paint.
For the most part, cleaning the average sized deck, (300 to 500 square feet) deck will take you five to six hours. And, since Mother Nature won't harm your work, cleaning can be done on a gloomy day. Once you have your deck properly cleaned you should stain it within 30 days. After 30 days, you may have to do a light cleaning with bleach and water before staining will do the trick.