|Keep your ipe deck looking new!|
Although many of us are still battling the latest winter freeze, some folks are getting ready to prepare their deck for spring. It’s important to brush off the snow and ice from your deck. The thawing and freezing of ice and snow on a deck can cause your hardwood deck boards to take on too much moisture and swell. While this swelling will go away once the boards dry out, it could cause your boards to buckle and pull out the fasteners if the boards were installed too closely when they were dry. Brush off the large accumulations of snow to prevent this from occurring.
To prepare your deck for the spring finish application, clean your deck with a good hardwood deck cleaner. These are manufactured by several companies and readily available at most home improvement stores but they must be formulated for hardwood decking (ipe, cumaru, garapa, etc.) and must have oxalic acid as the active ingredient. Some homeowners think they need to use a pressure washer to clean their deck. This is not recommended. A pressure washer can potentially damage the wood and will most likely leave streaks. Besides, the deck cleaner is cheaper and easier to use.
Oil based deck finishes produce better results than water based finishes. The water based finishes do not penetrate as well and leave an opaque color on the deck as it weathers. Messmer’s makes a very good deck oil for hardwoods that penetrates very well. Penofin and Cabots also make quality oils, but they are a little trickier to apply. The natural oil, which enhances the wood’s natural color, is the most popular. However, brown and red tinted oils that add a slight tint to the wood are also available. Be sure to read the instructions thoroughly before using these oils. Here are a few caveats to remember:
· Deck temperature must be above 50 degrees
· Deck wood must be completely dry
· The finish must be back-brushed or excess oil wiped away – do not allow to puddle
· Do NOT apply more than one coat before allowing first coat to weather (at least two months)
· Apply deck oil to a few boards at a time to avoid visible overlapping
The tips above are invaluable to maintaining your hardwood deck. Follow them and you will have your deck ready for Spring and Summer entertaining.