This recent warmer weather is now drawing people into their backyards, where they catch their first glimpse of the condition of their wooden decks. And for many, it ain’t a pretty sight.
If you don’t like the deck you see, your first instinct might be to stain or paint it, thinking it will cover-up all your problems, so you can go on enjoying it again. Oh, if only life were that easy.
In a recent national survey, it was revealed that when it comes to critical activities adults are most negligent about, ‘not staining their deck’ was ranked at the top, 2nd only to ‘not flossing’. OK, so I totally made that up. But, you get the idea. We know that not staining a deck frequently enough will lead to rotted wood and costly repairs, just as we know that not flossing will lead to rotted teeth and dentists driving late-model cars.
But, staining a deck does not come cheap, so you don’t want to have to do it very often. According to Home Depot, staining a deck costs the average homeowner $600-700. (And this time, I did NOT totally make that up!). The moral here is proper deck maintenance can save you money in the costs associated with staining your deck, just like flossing can save you money at the dentist and save your teeth.
So, here are 7 tips that will allow you to stain your deck less often:
Ever notice there’s more than just siding on the sides of your house, and you’ve gotten in the habit of trying real hard not to look at it? There’s strips of wood painted white, and in some places it’s peeling, rotting, or bulging. Maybe there’s some places where there are whole chunks missing, creating what looks like a hole to you, but is actually the front door of another home –for insects, birds, small animals, or who-knows-what kind of life form.
We find there are usually 2 reasons homeowners avert their eyes from this painted woodwork and, frankly, neither of them is a good one. The first reason is that homeowners often do not have a clue who to call to fix it. We all know what happens whenever you call a window company — next thing you know you’ll have a pushy sales-type at your home trying to sell you on a multi-thousand dollar project of changing-out all the windows in your house. And calling a carpenter doesn’t seem right either, assuming the homeowner can even think of the name of someone who goes by that title since you-know-who about 2,000 years ago.
Most homeowners have an uneasy relationship with their decks. While they might have a beautiful home, they sometimes wonder why their deck has to look like something Huck Finn hitched to it after floating down the Mississippi River.They may never be at peace that it is completely right – maybe some of the boards have rotted, the top rails are dried-out and cracked, and that wobbly stair rail – is someone going to get hurt by that someday? And then there’s the guilt. If only they stained it its first year…or every five years…or ever at all.
Well, I have good news — you don’t have to love-hate your deck. You can just love it. But, it helps to make sure you’ve got the right one, or convert it to the right one when major repairs are in order. Here’s how to think about decks so you can stop thinking about, and start enjoying, yours.
Basically, there are four types of decks: