deck maintenance

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by agmantoo, Jun 21, 2004.

  1. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    I have used the purchased sealants for waterproofing and preserving my deck but none of them perform very well. Does anyone have a "recipe" for making their own wood treatment for using on pine treated wood decks?
     
  2. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Most of the purchased ones aren't very good, that's for sure. I've used both sealants and waterproofers, and found them to be worthless.

    I've been planning to buy something called Sikkens Marine - ? It's fairly expensive but, from what I've read, actually works.

    If someone knows of a homemade waterproofer which is effective, though, that would be great --- Sikkens runs $25-30 a can, and I need a few cans of it. :eek: I'd sure prefer spending my money elsewhere.
     

  3. Hogsubie

    Hogsubie Well-Known Member

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    Most sealers claim 2-5 year protection. Actually they are only good for about 1 year. Don't know of any better products. You might look into some marine applications, but those products tend to be pretty pricey.
     
  4. Yankee1

    Yankee1 Well-Known Member

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    Personally I would purchase a pressure washer and give it a good cleaning each spring. you will be amazed at the life it brings back to the wood.
     
  5. RAC

    RAC Guest

    You still need to do something else besides wash it, especially if you have leaves/pine needles, and/or it gets lots of sun or rain.

    For some reason, our dog thinks it's okay to #2 on the deck in the fall, when the leaves are on the deck, rest of the year she goes in the yard. So we have to clean it off more often in the fall.

    Decks are are pain to maintain, especially if you actually use the deck, what with splinters and such.

    I agree, most sealers are good for one year, if that.
     
  6. DAVID In Wisconsin

    DAVID In Wisconsin Well-Known Member

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    While most people do it, pressure washing is NOT reccomended and voids the warranty. Your treated lumber will last much longer if you scrub it with a good commercial cleaner or plain old soap and water.
     
  7. MaKettle

    MaKettle Well-Known Member

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    When we built our deck ten years ago, we applied the Sikkums stuff. It held up for a long time, but the upper deck got lots of sun, and it pooped out after a about three years on the floorboards. However, it began to sort of peel and flake on the floor boards, upright bannister thingies, and everywhere else, and when I finally got around to doing something, it needed to be sanded off.

    Consumers Report has an ongoing test on deck finish to evaluate withstanding mildew, etc. You might check the index. Family Handyman had an article recently about redoing deck finish. They do not recommed power wash.

    Read about using used motor oil. Have no idea how, or how it lasts. Price would be good.
     
  8. RAC

    RAC Guest

    In Better Basics for the Home (book), Annie Berthold-Bond recommends boiled linseed oil for waterproofing wood, but doesn't mention decks. Even her website for non-toxic living doesn't mention decks and maintenance of, except in regards to the less toxic alternatives to conventional pressure-treated wood if you're building one.

    http://www.betterbasics.com/
     
  9. If you are looking for a traditional oil finish, the recipe for deck sealer is one part boiled linseed oil mixed with one part thinner (mineral spirits). I have used this combo on both mahogany decks and teak and it works well but has a tendency to darken over time. You will need to reapply every year or twice a year depending on local conditions. After about year five or so you will probably need to bleach/strip the deck to lighten color. You can probably substitute Tung or teak oil but it will drive the cost up. You could also add some beeswax for a shine but it will not last in outdoor application.
    I have used Slikkens and would highly recommend the product if you are looking for the “varnish” look but you will need to refinish every other year or so and you will need to sand.
    I have recently been using a product from Cabot called Australian Timber Oil and have been quite please with the results. It is probably the oil and thinner combo with some stain/UV inhibitors thrown in. Gives a beautiful oil finish to mahogany decks but you will need to reapply it one or twice a year. I does not appear to darken the wood as fast as the thinner/linseed oil combo but I have only used it for 3 years so time will tell.
    I have never used any of the above on pine. If you want to see the wood, I would think that Slikkens would be your best bet but you might check with them before using it. You will probably need to strip and sand the deck to remove any of your old treatments. You could also try a good paint-stain or leave it natural and just keep it clean. Be very careful when using a pressure washer on wood. Too high pressure can easily score and gouge the wood. Use a pressure washer only if you really need to and do not get the nozzle too close to the deck.
    All wood decks are a maintenance item. You can run with Trex or any of the new synthetic equivalents to cut down on maintenance but none feel like wood. I have had good results with both Trex and a product called Weatherbest. Prefer the weatherbest as it appears to resist staining a little better than Trex. If you go with a synthetic be sure to follow the manufacture guidelines for installation. Do not cheat on the fasteners. Good Luck
     
  10. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

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    Linseed oil, thined just enough to go through the sprayer.
     
  11. amelia

    amelia Well-Known Member

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    I am very familiar with the Sikkens line of products, having used them on my deck and house for many years. They are hands-down the best, most transparent and natural-looking finish that I have found.

    Sikkens requires a three-step application and will fail if the wood surface is not meticulously prepared beforehand. You must either sand to bare wood or scrub with a sodium hydroxide gel such as Restore-X followed by a citric acid conditioner to remove any existing finish plus the top oxidized layer of wood. If you go the NaOH-citric acid route, which is very effective, you will need to rub down the resulting "fuzzy nap" with a green scrubby pad--which can be attached to a vibrating sander for quick results. The instructions don't mention this step, but it is imperative knock down the raised wood fibers and dissolved wood residue that will otherwise cause the finish to glop up in ugly dark splotches. You need to be dealing with new, yellow, smooth, non-porous wood. Finally, you have to treat the wood with a bleach solution to kill any molds and mildews which otherwise will grow underneath the finish. Sikkens then recommends the application of its own wood preservative. This stuff is REALLY nasty (respirator time) but makes a big difference in terms of water repellency and preventing mold growth.

    Ideally, all four sides of each board are to be treated, but this obviously is not possible with many existing decks. If only the top face of the boards are treated, you can have problems with moisture coming up from underneath, resulting in mold growth beneath the finish and, possibly, peeling over time.
    The product needs to be applied with a fine China brush. Rolling or spraying is a a recipe for disaster.

    I short, Sikkens is an excellent, but very finicky product. If you're apt to cut corners, don't bother with it. It is very pricey (upwards of $45 per gallon in my area) but well worth the result if done right. You can obtain tiny sample cans of the product from any distributor. Technical assistance tends to be very good.

    Good luck!
     
  12. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Well, amelia, you changed my mind about the Sikkens. I just don't have time to do all that, particularly given there's about five layers of Thompson's on the deck. Glad I resisted the temptation to buy Sikkens every time I ran into it! :)

    That said, I just sprayed down my front deck with two bottles of Mean Green Super Strength and took the hose to it --- holy moly! It looks great. As soon as it heats up here and stops raining :rolleyes: , I'm going to clean it again with the Mean Green and apply the boiled linseed oil mix.
     
  13. dla

    dla Well-Known Member

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    Also please note that pressure washing wood raises the grain and produces really dangerous splinters, so the nails sometimes need to be reset and the wood sanded down.
    You can't treat the old pressure-treated (read arsenic) wood until it has cured for a year, so that might explain some product failure.
    We've had great success with the stuff at Home Depot (I think it is Thompson's) on the pressure treated wood, but you do have to give it the year.
    Since the arsenic treated stuff won't be on the store shelves much longer, this may all be dated info.