Deck Maintenance

By Dan Gregory

Common sense maintenance will keep this redwood deck looking new (photo courtesy The California Redwood Company).

I asked a contractor friend, Brian Garrison, for advice on keeping a cedar or redwood deck in good shape. Here’s his step-by-step guide:
  1. Repair. Replace any nails or screws that have popped. Use galvanized square head deck screws: they last longer than nails and don’t pop out as easily. Fix squeaks by adding screws.
  2. Clean. A power washer is quick but strips all of the softwood along with the dirt and grime, so use a deck wash or cleaner such as Behrs or a diluted bleach and water mixture of 10% bleach to 90% water. A broom or brush will help lift the dirt and tannins from the deck. Most of the deck wash systems recommend 2-3 rounds of applications. Do this early in the morning – don’t let the cleanser dry before you can rinse it off because it contains bleaching chemicals that will stain the wood.
  3. Rinse thoroughly. Allow 2-3 days drying time before applying finish.
  4. Apply a durable and long-lasting finish. An oil-based deck stain protects the wood longer than a water sealer, which must be applied at least once every 6 months to work properly. The finish should be water repellent or waterproof, not just water-resistant, provide UV (ultraviolet) protection, and contain a mildewcide if mildew is a problem. Brian used Preserva Wood® Pacific Redwood Penetrating Finish stain. Apply with a paint brush or sprayer — a roller will create a sticky mess. Don’t leave puddles or pools, which dry slowly and can become sticky. Allow a couple of days to dry thoroughly. Cost for finishing a 1,000 sq. ft. deck: about $75.

Originally Published in Eye On Design


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