Five Tips to Make Your Deck a BBQ Hot Spot
By Leo Wolfson, brought to you by Breckenridge Building Center
Spending time on your deck barbecuing with friends can be one of life’s deepest pleasures — as long as it’s on the right deck. Keeping a deck in prime condition can mean the difference between a savory soirée and a splintery disaster. We caught up with Bob Griffith and Jennifer Levasseur of Breckenridge Building Center to learn how to give your deck a brand-spankin’ new coat for that summertime fun right around the corner.
Leaves and grass can leave a deck looking like a mucky mess. A hose or pressure washer will be most effective for clearing these, but when using a pressure washer, keep the steam moving to avoid gouging the wood.
Remove loose fragments and repair damaged wood
Using a deck brush, remove loose fragments of wood and then do a final wash down. Mark damaged pieces that aren’t loose, and then using a jigsaw to remove the nails or screws holding them down. Remember to avoid cutting directly over joist beams, as it can damage the saw. Using nails and deck screws, attach the new board to the support block and joists.
Fix minor nail pops
If you see a nail that’s risen above the surface of the deck, remove it with a hammer. An elevated nail is a stubbed toe waiting to happen or, even worse, can cut the skin and possibly cause an infection — the ultimate party foul. Using a screw that’s longer than the original nail, reattach the board. Deck screws work best for this.
Sanding away old wood and stain is the best preparation for a new layer of stain, but often, this method isn’t the most effective way to get out all the dirt and grime.
“There are many deck cleaners and wood brighteners available that will help prepare the deck for stain if sanding is not an option,” explained Griffith.
Using a roller, sprayer or bucket and brush, apply the cleaner. Don’t let the deck dry out until done applying. After 15-20 minutes, rinse the cleaner off and let the deck dry overnight.
“A maintenance coat of stain every few years can actually save considerable time and expense,” said Griffith. “Decks and siding with southern exposure need maintenance every one to two years, while less exposed areas need it more like every three to five.”
Although clear stain won’t add a hearty wood hue, it does provide a UV protector, which breathes new life into the wood and protects it from the elements. If you really need to add color, use an exterior stain. It’s important the deck is dry when applying the stain or it will not perform correctly.
“The best time to stain is mid to late morning, before the sun heats the wood. The sun can heat the wood well above the current air temperature, interfering with the penetration and even drying of stain,” explained Griffith.
Using gloves and goggles, apply the stain with a roller or brush. After one layer is completed, let it soak in for 20 minutes before adding more. For touch ups, use a brush, which allows for a more detailed finish. After making sure no puddles exist, repeat these steps with a second layer, so that your deck boasts an excellent shine. After one to two days, add a layer of sealant and voilà! Your deck is the ultimate BBQ host. Now all that’s left to work on is your cooking.
Brushes made specifically for applying stain can be found at any hardware store. Exterior wood cleaner will ensure a fresh body of wood for the stain to apply to. If not used, dirt and grime will be stuck under the layer of new stain.
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