As I’ve mentioned before, the deck in the back of our new house was never finished. The poor wood has been sitting there, unprotected, getting discolored, cracked and mildewy.
So when we finally had a sunny weekend with no rain in the forecast, we decided it was time to take action.
Olympic Premium Deck Cleaner
Thompson’s WaterSeal Waterproofer + Tinted Wood Protector (see note)
2 paint trays
1 roller brush
3″ wide paint brushes
Note: We chose this particular product because it blocks both UV light (protecting the wood from further sun damage) and water (protecting from further cracking).
We woke up bright and early on Saturday morning to apply the cleaner. We cleared off the deck, swept off the leaves and dirt, and covered all the plants in the boxes and below the deck securely with plastic drop cloths. A cleaner that is primarily bleach is not good for arugula and lettuce, you know.
The cleaner was meant to be applied with a sprayer, but we substituted with brushes. No scrubbing was required, so we just poured it into a paint try and brushed it on the same way we would paint or stain.
Savvy Tip: Do not attempt to use a roller brush to apply the cleaner. It will not distribute as well, and you’ll go through four times the cleaner. Just use regular paint brushes!
Within minutes of application, the mildew dissolved and some of the discoloration faded. We went over the worst spots with a second coating as needed.
The cleaner is supposed to soak in for 5-10 minutes, but it was on some parts of the deck for up to 40 minutes as we finished cleaning the rest. It didn’t seem to hurt anything, and the wood was in bad enough shape that we figured some extra time couldn’t hurt! We sprayed everything off with the hose, uncovered the plants so that they didn’t suffocate, washed our brushes and let it dry overnight.
The container said that the deck should be allowed to dry for at least 48 hours before applying any stain or paint, but the deck felt plenty dry after only 24.
The stain was shaken and poured into the second paint tray. Working from top to bottom, I brushed a single thin layer over all of the deck rails. Since Dan was dealing with our plumbing issues, I did it largely by myself. Well, I did everything I could reach… short me couldn’t reach the outside of the top rails by myself, and I delegated that to Dan. It took nearly 4 hours, but my iPod kept me entertained.
To finish it all off, Dan used the roller brush to stain the floor and stairs of the deck. He started in the corner by the door, and worked back to and down the stairs. That way, he didn’t get stuck in a corner of the deck for two hours while the stain dried.
Because the deck is such a high-traffic area, we will probably go over the floor and stairs with a second coat soon.
So there you have it. The project was time-consuming, but the deck looks so much better now, and we’ve hopefully prevented any further damage to the wood.
Any big home improvement projects on the horizon for you?