Should you clean or sand your deck first? This is a critical question. Note that you need to clean your wooden deck before you can refinish it. Failure to remove all debris and dirt means that you lock moisture-trapping elements into the deck. The underlying problem here is that you will have prevented any new sealer performing its intended purpose; thereby leading to general failure in the sealing process and resulting in subsequent costly repairs. Additionally, cleaning provides you with the opportunity to inspect all the stairs, railings, boards, and spindles for any trouble spots or damage.
Pressure or Power Washing Options
Do not be confused by these terms that are used interchangeably by many supply houses and stores. There is an essential difference in the technique employed by each cleaning option.
A pressure washer uses a stronger force of water, but such water is never hot. This technique has total reliance on water pressure. It is best recommended for surface stains and dirt. You will find this option quicker than power washing.
A power washer, on the other hand, uses a steady hot water stream. This water stream equally a strong force, though not as strong as that of the pressure washer. This technique is commonly used for the removal of moss, mildew, mold, ground-in stains, as well as other hard-to-remove dirt.
The cost of a pressure or power washer ranges from $90 to $180. However, you might need to rent a pressure washer with even higher water force for your cleaning purposes. The price of hiring such a washer is set at a minimum of $36 per hour, although the daily cost might range from $63 to $72 or even more. The variations in price can be caused partly by the washer itself. Usually, high-powered washer models tend to cost higher than lower-powered models. Equally, the washer brand names significantly affect their rental prices. Due to this, such brands as John Deere, Stratton, or Briggs will reasonably cost more than lesser brands.
Arguably, purchasing a personal pressure or power washer makes more sense compared to hiring one. However, there are factors which might discourage you or make you unable to do so. For instance, handling a deck that is either too complicated or big, physical handicaps, and time constraints might necessarily require you to seek the services of a professional.
Therefore, it is important that you are informed of the costs of hiring such a professional. The professional will provide basic staining and sealing services at the cost of between $0.45 and $1.35 per hour for every one square foot. You can opt to complete the staining and sealing tasks yourself, but you face possible challenges associated with improper tool usage which can lead to raising of the wood grain. However, even if you are confident about completing the job properly, you should make sure that you use an ordinary water hose and a brush.
Sanding your Deck
Is your deck scratched, damaged, or heavily stained? Then, you should consider sanding it. Sanding helps in the removal of the top layer on your wood. Any blasting media or power sander can complete your sanding needs effectively. However, power sanders might require some degree of know-how and skill if you are to use them properly. For instance, you can potentially burn the wood if you stand at one point for too long. Although an opaque stain is known to cover the burn, valleys and divots put into the wood when you sand away too much in a single spot might be hard to cover. What’s worse is that these imperfections tend to allow water to pool on your deck and subsequently cause sealer failure.
You must possess the right skill to use blasting media when working on your wooden deck. This means the using blasting media appropriately is not a task to be completed by anyone. There is a high risk of destroying the deck if you do not professionally blast decks. However, if you only have to deal with a dark or deep stain, blasting is your best alternative without necessarily refinishing in a solid paint or stain. You need an estimate of $36 to $59.50 to hire professional blasting services for an hour, although particular blasting service costs are set at an hourly rate of $67.50. The cost of a 50-pound bag of blasting media is around $45.
No matter which method you opt for, it is necessary that you clean your deck first. If you intend to re-stain your deck, you need to remove the old sealer layer first. Your new stain cannot penetrate the wood if you leave the old sealer intact. However, if you are not re-staining your wooden deck, it is allowed to apply a new layer of the sealant on top of the old one. The new sealer will naturally settle over the old one and take over its intended job.
Restoring or refinishing your wooden deck will prove worthwhile whether you hire the services of the pros or you do it yourself. A wooden not only provides a beautiful outdoor space to entertain yourself or to relax but also adds value to your house. However, the deck can only achieve these if it is maintained properly. Therefore, ensure that your deck is regularly maintained, preferably after every one or two years. Regular deck maintenance is an avenue to enjoying your deck for longer.