Washing and sealing a wood deck is critical to keeping it both safe and usable. Once wood becomes rotted, water damaged or splintered, your deck is not only unattractive but dangerous. If neglected further the structure of the deck can become compromised to the point where it is hazardous. Your deck should be sealed every two years with a high quality penetrating oil sealer. Avoid sealers with acrylics or wax. Also avoid unmodified linseed oil that most manufacturers use. Linseed oil is food for mildew, which grows in the sealer as it feeds on the oil.
Your deck should be inspected at least every two years. A qualified professional will check for age-related damage. As a deck gets older, its original design flaws become more and more of a danger.
Not when the right machine is used by a technician specifically experienced with your type of wood. Our technicians wash decks every day. They have many years of training and experience in just doing decks. We only have machines specifically set up for decks because that's all we do! We don't need ultra high pressure machines used in house and concrete washing.
The short answer is because a lousy sealer was used on it! The technical answer is that the existing coating on the deck has left a wax or acrylic residue and no longer provides viable protection. It must be removed before any new coating can be applied, especially penetrating oil. Washing alone will not remove wax or acrylic. Beware - we see the most damage done to decks by "contractors" trying to blast an old coating off a deck without using the proper chemicals or by using too little stripper needed to dissolve the existing coating. Damage can be caused by applying excessive pressure while washing. The wood fibers are literally blasted off the deck along with the old sealer.
Yes! Sodium hydroxide is the most commonly used stripper on the market. There are other less effective bleach-based strippers. Both of these products will permanently alter the color of your hardwood deck. We use a special stripper that is environmentally safe, will not change the color of the wood, and minimizes knapping.
It depends on the type of wood your deck is made of. Hardwood or cedar decks are done with sealers, clear or tinted, but never a solid stain. Solid stains will cause these species of wood to rot from the inside out. Solid stains are excellent for treated lumber decks. They're also especially well suited for older treated pine decks and give them a whole new lease on life. Our solid stains last much longer than those on the market and save an average of 50% on maintenance costs over a five-year period.
Once deck stain begins to peel it doesn't stop. Eventually all of the old coating will lift off and touch-ups will be needed as the deck ages. The frequency will depend on how badly the old stain is peeling. We only use one type of solid stain that has a five year manufacturer's warranty against peeling. Older stain is not warranted.
It's not impossible but it is impractical, and unless the deck is relatively new it isn't worth the expense. It would be more practical to re-deck or just re-stain the deck.
We have used a wide variety of products and dealt with many failed deck coatings applied by various "deck experts," so we know what works and what doesn't. We do not use any wax or acrylic-based sealers. We have exclusively used the Wolman Wood Care line of sealers and preservatives for the past 12 years. They are proven performers and have one of the best warranties in the industry. Wolman has consistently maintained a quality product line. We have worked closely in the field and in the lab with Wolman chemists to come up with new and better products.
No, never seal the underside of your deck. This will cause the boards on the deck to cup. As the sealer on the top side of the deck breaks down it will let water into the boards. The sealer on the bottom side will hold the water in, only letting the top surface of the boards dry. This will cause cupping in hardwoods and cedar and will cause the boards to rot from the inside out.
Most sealers go from water-soluble to solvent soluble within a few hours. Once it has transitioned, an average rain will not wash it off. If a heavy downpour should occur we will come back and reseal the deck at no charge. Usually it is only the horizontal surfaces that are affected.
Not generally. Sanding hardwoods with hidden fasteners, while expensive, is viable. Sanding treated pine is not advised at all. One of the reasons is that it is toxic, as the CCA dust it releases is considered a carcinogen. Once pine is damaged to the point that sanding can be considered, it has gone too far to get a nice finish because the damage runs too deep. Finally if you sand the coating off of the heads of you fasteners they will rust all over your deck.
Any boards that are rotting or dangerously splintered should definitely be replaced. After that it is a mater of personal preference and budget.
New boards will not match the existing deck for the first season. Once they are washed and sealed the next time around they will blend. If your deck is getting stripped and sealed with a clear coating, it is a good time to replace the boards. The clear seal has no UV block and will let the boards age more quickly. If you use a solid stain everything will match right away.
You do not need to be at home. As long as the water is on we will get the job done. Any small items that you can remove from the deck would be appreciated. We will remove any other items that are in the way. Any speakers or lights should be removed or covered before we arrive. We also protect all of the plants around the deck as much as is practical. Annuals around the deck and in flower boxes will be covered. These plants can usually stand the weight of a tarp. We generally do not come back to replace furniture after the deck has dried unless special arrangements have been made.
Drying time is 24 - 48 hours for clear seal, 48 – 72 for a tinted sealer and 3 - 4 days for a solid stain.
Yes in most cases. 50% of our work is fixing mistakes other contractors have made. We can deal with most deck disasters but there are products
on the market that are nearly impossible to strip off, in which case you may be stuck. Washer damage is something else that may not be
completely fixable without replacing the decking. It depends on several factors, not the least of which is how extreme the damage is. We have
seen new decks rendered unusable from damage done by an inexperienced power washer.