Education

The below are images with signs of extreme aging where board replacement should be considered:

Deck walking surfaces should not be painted or solid stained…make sure you are applying a semi-transparent oil based sealer/stain.

 

 

Choosing A Stain

When choosing a stain consider, “What is more important? Aesthetic appeal or maximum durability?” The rule of thumb is the more opaque a stain, the more durability it will have. The trade-off of using more opaque stains is that you’re unable to see the wood grain, which is most likely why you own a wood deck or maintain wood siding.

STAIN TYPE WHAT IT DOES HOW LONG IT LASTS WHY TO CHOOSE
CLEAR Repel water and defend against some UV damage Colorless transparent water sealers usually have a short life of about 1 season Use when staining is not an option, or when you want to naturally grey the wood
SEMI-
TRANSPARENT
Shows the grain but imparts much more color to the surface Semi-transparent stains should be reapplied every 1 to 2 years Easier to recoat
SEMI-SOLID Imparts more color than a semi-transparent stain and also hides more of the grain Will add another year or two, but should be checked regularly Easier to recoat
SOLID Shows none of the wood grain but offers maximum durability and protection for the surface Can last 5 years or more on a sound surface without heavy wear Lasts longer, covers more blemishes, matches colors for replaced boards, richer color

 

Deck and Exterior Wood Question and Answer:

Q:  Should I learn to maintain my deck or should I hire it out?

A:  Deck restoration and deck maintenance should be left to the professionals.  Even when using a high quality commercial product to do the sealing/staining, that is only half of the work.  The prep work and cleaning will ultimately determine how well the sealer/stain soaks into the wood and therefore how long it will last before it is time to re-apply.

Q:  There are so many sealers and stains on the market.  How do I know which one to choose.

A:  One of the most important questions to ask when it comes to choosing a sealer or stain is also the most uncommon question or concern.  How will the product act over time and what are the steps to restore it next time?  The problem with so many of the products on the market is that they are one time application products.  This means that the prep work and maintenance each time you redo your deck, the process is the same (scrape, sand, power wash, dry, re-coat).  There are professional commercial products that actually allow for a professional deck cleaning and sealing/staining company to apply the product the first time and then consecutive maintenance visits become both less costly and less intrusive to the wood.

Deck Maintenance

Spring is here and with the change in weather, you are sure to spend more time outside enjoying your beautiful wooden deck.  As the weather warms and the snow melts away, it is a good time to check your deck over to see how it faired through the winter months.  It is advised that you pay special attention to the following items:

1)      Check carefully for any loose or popped up nails and replace them.

2)      Check the deck’s steps and railings.  If they are loose, have them fixed immediately.

3)      Replace any boards that have become warped or cracked.

4)      Verify your deck has not pulled away from the house.  If it has, you need to call a professional immediately.

5)      Trim away any excess vegetation around your deck, as good air circulation around the wood will help fend off mold and mildew accumulation.

Once these items are taken care of, it’s time to think about having your deck power washed and stained or sealed.  To absolutely ensure you are maintaining your deck at its best quality and appearance, you should have this done yearly.  However, if your deck is not exposed to excessive sunlight, traffic or water, you may be able to extend this to every two years.  The power washing is critical for removing dirt, debris, mold, and mildew that has settled into the cracks of the wood over time.  By staining or sealing the wood after power washing, you are giving it a layer of protection against the sun’s ultraviolet rays, as well as preventing water absorption.

Roof Cleaning

Roof Cleaning:

Roof cleaning is the process to remove dirt, algae and moss from roofs.

Roof cleaning can extend the duration of a roof’s ability to function. Algae and other types of build-up often form on parts of roofs that are shaded, and can reduce a roof’s life expectancy. The presence of soot, dirt, or biomass can affect how much sunlight is absorbed by a roof and thus the amount of heat a building absorbs. Cleaning may be accomplished with a bleach or vinegar solution, various cleaning products or commercial cleaning services. The addition of zinc strips near the roof’s peak may reduce the regrowth of algae and moss.

Decks and Exterior Wood:

It was originally thought that cedar shake roofs or any outdoor wooden structure made from pressure-treated wood or cedar, were maintenance free.  Although the public’s awareness is on the rise, manufacturers are recording many calls from concerned homeowners asking what should be done to protect their investment.  Just like a new car or your skin, proper cleaning and protection are required to keep it preserved and looking good for a long period of time.  A good maintenance program is very important for the well being of a wood deck or cedar shake roof.

Wood is a natural material.  Once the bark is taken off the tree, it has no way of protecting itself.  The damaging effects of weather on unprotected wood can begin immediately.  Rain, melting snow and morning dew are quickly absorbed by unprotected wood causing it to soften and swell.  The sun’s heat causes drying, which makes the wood shrink.  These cycles of wet and dry, swelling and shrinking, cause wood to warp, split and crack – all of which lead to shortened wood life and expensive repairs and replacement.

Asphalt and fiberglass roofs are prone to bacteria, algae, moss and lichen growth.  The bacteria growth is most prone in shaded areas of the roof or north facing sections where sunlight exposure is minimal.

Check Credibility

Finding a professional contractor or service professional should not be a difficult task or a tough one.  With the ability to search the web for a company and view their reviews; today the information is at your fingertips.  Searching for Bright Services for example should bring up a professional website.  In addition, if the company is tech savvy they typically are seeking additional business and utilized PPC (pay per click) in order to do this.  Check local direct mail advertisers as well.  An example can be found at Valpak by clicking Deck Cleaning and Staining Company.

 

Fence Types – Wood

  1. Board on Board or Solid Board Fencing
  2. Picket Fencing
  3. Shadowbox Fencing
  4. Lattice Top Fencing
  5. Basketweave Fencing
  6. Slip Board Fencing
  7. Tongue and Groove Fencing w/ and w/out Lattice Top

The above wooden fence types can all be cleaned and sealed/stained by a professional using high quality cleaners and sealants.

Power Washing Wood and Wood Restoration

For more information on this topic, see our blog posting Wood Fuzzy Appearance