Guest Author - Maureen L Staccato
There are not many things more soothing than a warm summer’s day, birds chirping, the smell of cut grass in the air, lying out in a chair on a deck. I am dreaming about that now, bare feet, shorts, and just smiling with the breeze tickling my face.
A few years ago, a dear friend bought her first home, and attached to the rear of it was this enormous deck. We spent numerous days out there, playing cards, working on crafts, watching the birds come to his feeders, and absolutely enjoying the enchantment that a deck can bring. It was wonderful and a great place for entertaining. It really showed never-ending possibilities.
Nights were better, what with all the barbeques, the good friends, and the good times. Made of pressure treated pine, it was a extremely large rectangular affair with 3 foot railings along the sides, and even railings going up the stairs. The problem was, the first time I was there, I was running my hand over a railing and got a horrible sliver jammed into my hand. It was a horrible experience and I was in discomfort the remainder of my visit.
Well, me being me, who means always thinking improvements, I decided that every spring on one of the first warm days, we would get together for some good food, good conversation, and good maintenance. We’d fire up the grill, and with some 100 grit sandpaper in hand, we would check the deck for areas which needed a facelift for the new season ahead. For all intents and purposes I would lightly pull the sandpaper over the railings, smoothing them out a bit while taming any slivers that tried to show themselves. We would cook and we’d talk while I went all around the top sanding on both sides.
Next it was the shoe test, as I would glide my feet over virtually the entire surface, and if I ran into a protruding nail head, I would bring my hammer out and give it a good bang. Now, if your deck has been made with screws, you probably won’t have to worry about this, although they do sometimes turn themselves out a little bit. If that happens, just turn them back in.
I would get out a paint roller with a container, and fill it up with my favorite water sealer and I would fill the roller container, saturate the roller, and roll it on. Just make sure that when any sealer is applied, the wood becomes completely soaked. Don't hold back, slather that stuff on good.
If any deck is made with non-treated wood, this step is an absolute must, and make sure the supporting timbers are coated as well. Even pressure treated wood should have this done, because although treated wood won’t rot from moisture, it will crack and splinter if moisture penetrates the pores during freezing and thawing cycles.
If you have a deck, this is a simple guide to follow to ensure that your deck is safe and ready for each year of memories and fun summer days ahead. Enjoy your deck!