Maintenance

Maintenance
Most consumers are looking for a (low) maintenance free deck, either vinyl and / or composite.
Brazilian hardwood is another good choice if you like the natural look of wood.
However some sort of maintenance will always be needed no matter your choice of material.
Below we will discuss decking, since these are positioned in a horizontal position and suffer the
most that Mother Nature gives us. Some decks needs more maintenance that others depending on their
location and environment.

Why Clean your Deck

Why Clean your Deck?
In the Washington, DC metro area, nothing on the exterior of your house is maintenance free,
your deck is no exception. Even if your decks looks good and clean it is still a good idea the give the
deck a good sweep and hosing with water every 2 or 3 months. If you have potted plants on the deck, place them in trays that will capture overflow from watering, moisture can over time damage even sealed wood.
Power wash machines should be avoided as much as possible and should only be used in extreme conditions.
Pollen and leaves are a good food source for bacteria to promote mold, mildew and algae.
Please visit the NADRA website at: www.nadra.org (article and news / understanding mold)
or: http://www.decks.com/articleCategory1.aspx for more information.

Below you will find some answers what to do for different materials in order to keep your investment protected.

ACQ treated lumber www.madwood.com
Pressure treated wood is the most common type of wood used in the construction of any outdoor project.
The process of pressure treating wood (ACQ) protects the wood against rot and insects; it does not protect the wood from the sun and rain. Copper in the pressure treated wood acts as a fungicide and arsenic acts as an insecticide. When it rains the unprotected wood cells absorb water causing the cells to expand. When the deck dries the wood’s cells shrink. this continuous cycle of expansion and contraction ultimately causes cracking in the boards on your deck. Freeze and thaw cycles will also cause similar damage.
Constant exposure to the sun discolors the surface and accelerates wear by breaking down fibers in the wood.
Throw in rain or snow and there’s warping, rotting and cracking to contend with. Shade can spell trouble too, prolonging moisture’s stay, which allows mold and mildew to turn the deck’s surface a dingy gray or black.
Most wood projects will look good for 2 or 3 years in our climate. During that time it will turn to a gray color and start to look dirty. Our advice is to have the deck protected as soon as it is built. If it was not protected when it was built have it cleaned and protected now!
Please do not use sodium hypochlorite (chlorine bleach); this acid causes more harm than good to wood fibers. Not only does it give the surface a “pasty” white look, it damages the fibers preventing good adhesion of any type of top coat.


Brazilian Hardwood
Commonly known as IPE. www.ironwoods.com

Ipe is very durale, strong, heavy, rot resistant, pest resistant and low in maintenance. The characteristics that make it long lasting, also will make it a tough candidate for holding a finish that will maintain and unweathered look. Left unsealed it will weather to a nice silver patina in about one year (depending on the sun exposure). Like with all material a periodic cleaning of your deck is recommended. After a good sweep, shrub the deck with some warm water and detergent and rinse the deck with the hose.

If a finished wood appearance is desired, apply a premium penetrating oil finish with a high U.V. inhibitor rating such as: www.penofin.com This will increase the amount of maintenance
on your deck, but you will be rewarded
with an unmatched beauty.
Rated as 3 to 5 times harder than pine
cedar and redwood it is the # 1 choice
for consumers who are looking for a
natural wood look on their deck.

Composite wood products
Made from a mixture of wood chips and/or sawdust ( softwood or hardwood ) and plastic ( Poly-ethylene or
Poly-propylene). These components are then forced through and extruder to form a composite decking. They come in different colors and resist moisture and insect damage.
Composite decking is a good alternative if you are looking for a low-maintenance deck.
Composites will not split, crack, warp, rot or decay and contain no knots.
They are easy to maintain and require no painting or annual sealing.
In most cases only a semi-annual cleaning is needed to keep your decking looking good. Follow the
manufacturer recommendations how to protect your investment.
Treat your composite decking like you would with a hardwood floor indoors.
Things you can do to keep your deck looking good: Place a mat under the grill and flower pots
Don’t drag heavy furniture over the deck
Don’t use a metal shovel to remove snow.

Below you will find some links from a few manufacturers how to care and clean your deck. www.trex.com click on Warranty & Care

www.correctdeck.com
www.evergrain.com
www.timbertech.com
click on Care & Upkeep
click on Care & Cleaning
click on Warranty & Care
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