Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

All Decked Out

Winter is coming. It's time to start those fall home improvement projects. Is the deck on your home looking a little dreary? That might be a good place to start. With a little time and effort that dreary deck can be looking like new again.

Take some time and carefully examine your deck, checking for evidence of damage or wood rot. Damage can also occur in hard-to-see places, so be sure to check underneath the deck if at all possible.

If there is evidence of rot, check to see how deep it extends into the wood. If it's less than a half-inch deep, you may not have to replace the board. Deeper or more extensive damage calls for action. Get the pry bar out, remove the rotten board and replace it with a new one. Replace any loose nails with either decking nails or decking screws.

After the repairs have been made, there is action you can take to prevent future damage. One way is to ensure your deck can dry out after it rains. A couple of ways to do this are to trim any overhanging tree branches or redirect any downspouts away from the deck.

If the deck shows signs of discoloration, it may simply need a thorough cleaning. Many different kinds of commercial deck cleaning products are available at most hardware and home improvement stores. For safety reasons, be sure to read the labels and follow the directions.

Darker stains may be a sign of mildew. A simple cleaning with soap and water or bleach will take care of the problem. To keep this problem from happening again, make sure your deck can dry out.

After your deck is cleaned, the wood should be sealed. To check and see if the deck needs sealed, sprinkle some water onto the wood. If the water beads up, the deck doesn't need to be sealed. If the water soaks into the wood, the deck needs to be sealed. There are several different kinds of sealer available, so check with your hardware or home improvement store for the best product to use. It should keep out water and the sun's ultraviolet rays. If you live in an area where wood-eating insects can be found, be sure your sealant has insecticide qualities, as well. As with the cleaning products, be sure to read the label and follow all directions and safety precautions.

Just a few simple little steps can ensure that your deck will be ready to endure the winter weather. Then when the first signs of spring come, all you have to do is step out, sit in the lounge chair and relax.

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