Decks are just like your home in that they need to be re-stained every so often to protect it from the outside elements as well as maintain its beauty. If you inspect your deck and find that it needs re-staining or re-painting, you’ll first need to clean the surface, much like anything else. Specifically, you’ll need to tackle any dirt, rust, or chipping paint with a wire brush first. You’ll also need to remove bird droppings, nests, and seeds, as these have probably accumulated over the winter. If there is mold or mildew, you will want to kill it before you resurface any area. You can buy cleaners specifically for this purpose, or make your own combination with one part bleach to one part water.
If your deck is made out of wood, inspect it to see if any critters, like termites or carpenter ants, have damaged it. Sometimes, the boards or posts will be loose. If this is the case, you will most likely want to call an exterminator to take care of any of those problems, because if not, they will continue to recur.
The best way to clean your deck is to wash it. If even a slight residue of soap is left over from cleaning away all of the other elements, paint or stain will not adhere properly. If you rented a power washer for your house (see our post on this topic), you might as well hit two birds with one stone and power wash your deck also. Power washers are a wonderful tool to use. However, you can end up doing more damage than good if you do not use it properly. For instance, if the pressure is turned up too high, or you are holding it at the wrong angle, it could cut into the wood grain.
After washing the deck, you’ll need to allow it to dry for at least 2 days. Next, cover up any plants or landscaping with a tarp to prevent any paint spilling on them. Decide if you will use a paint brush or roller with which to paint. When you do begin to paint or stain the deck, you may find it helpful to paint one side of the deck and railing, and then paint the other half.
For best results, it’s best to paint when the outside temperature is above 50 degrees. You’ll want the new surface to dry for at least 2 days. It’s also best not to paint in the direct sun. Furthermore, keep your ears peeled for the weather; you’ll want to watch out for rain and dew.