It is is easy to get professional help with your exterior restoration project! Please follow these 2 easy steps:
Brick pavers have always been a great choice for decorative driveways, sidewalks, and patios. They can be used to create an endless amount of designs and can last for many years. With a good solid base, proper installation, and maintenance, brick pavers can last as long as any type of hard surface like masonry or concrete.
To maintain a brick driveway, patio, sidewalk, or other brick surface it's important to clean and reseal the bricks every few years. This will lock out moisture, dirt, and mildew. A quality brick sealer will also solidify the sand that is used between the bricks to give more stability to the entire surface.
The first step to restore a brick surface is to clean the brick. Normally a pressure washer is used with a roto or jet type nozzle. This will clean all the old sand, weeds, moss, and other debris off and in between the bricks. Once the surface is cleaned it should be allowed to dry for several days.
On the day you plan to seal the brick pavers, you can spread new sand in between the bricks. Simply pour the sand on the surface and broom it into the cracks. Once all the gaps are filled, blow the excess sand off with a leaf blower to prepare it for brick paver sealer.
To apply the brick sealer use a Chapin Heavy Duty Sprayer or other pump up sprayer for the best results. Apply an even coat of brick sealer on top of the bricks and sand. Allow the brick sealer to dry according to the manufacturer's suggestions before allowing for foot traffic.
A quality brick sealer such as SuperSeal will prevent weeds from growing up and will protect the brick pavers from water absorption, dirt, and mildew. SuperSeal comes in a matte or "wet" look finish. It also helps to prevent color fading and will preserve the natural look of the brick paver surface. Protect your brick surfaces by cleaning and sealing them with a high quality brick paver sealer every couple of years.
There are not many surfaces around your home that are more expensive than concrete. At the same time, when concrete driveways, patios, sidewalks, and porches are maintained and kept in good shape, they can keep their value and last for many years.
Maintaining concrete is a simple process of washing and sealing the surface. This will ensure maximum protection against weather and traffic. Many contaminants both natural and man-made can break down concrete surfaces and literally ruin them in a few years. Some of the different problems with unprotected concrete are cracking, chipping, flaking, pitting, and fading.
Many different causes can result in a failed concrete surface. Water and moisture damage, stains and spills, color fading from weather, UV rays, and excessive traffic. The good thing is that all these problems and causes can be prevented with a quality, best concrete sealer.
Applying a concrete sealer will lock out moisture, enhance the natural look of the concrete, and protect against traffic. Preserving a concrete surface with a concrete sealer is an easy DIY project. First the concrete should be cleaned. A pressure washer is the best method. Any stains should be cleaned using a cleaner specific to the stain.
After the concrete is allowed to dry for 24-48 hours it is then ready to be sealed. It's best to use a leaf blower or broom to clean off any debris that may have gotten on the surface since it was cleaned. It's important to protect all surrounding areas of the house and landscaping that you don't want to get concrete sealer on.
Always follow the directions on the sealer label for the best results. A common mistake for applying concrete sealer is to apply too much. Go by the manufacturer's suggestions on square footage coverage rates and be sure to apply an even coat across the entire surface.
It's important to allow the concrete sealer to fully dry and cure before allowing for foot traffic. Again, follow the manufacturer's suggestions for drying times. Most concrete sealers should be reapplied every 2-3 years depending on the type of sealer, traffic, and climate.
Sealing concrete is a great way to protect your investment and keep your concrete surfaces protected for many years of use.
Once you have decided to stain your wood deck, it goes without saying that finding a quality deck stain is going to make all the difference. Whether you are restoring an older deck or wanting to protect a newer one, it's crucial to use the best deck stain you can find.For the do-it-yourselfer it's a good idea to sit down and figure out what goals you have as far as a deck stain. Do you want the best appearance possible? Are you looking for the longest lasting deck stain? Perhaps something user friendly and easy to apply is what you are looking for - or maybe all of the above.
Today's market is flooded with many different types and brands of deck stain. Some are very effective wood stains while others do not compare. One of the worst things a do-it-yourselfer can do is to use an inferior deck stain that fails prematurely and leaves the deck in shambles. Some of the big box stores are guilty of selling inferior deck stains that end up flaking and peeling and are then almost impossible to get completely off the wood so you can start from scratch again.
Be aware of acrylic based deck stains and those that are enhanced with silicone. Solid colored stains are also best avoided. They leave a film on the wood similar to paint and will also be prone to cracking and peeling.
What professional wood experts recommend is a semi-transparent deck stain. This type of stain penetrates the wood to lock out moisture and UV damage. Semi-transparent deck stains will simply fade over time as opposed to peeling. This makes the deck much easier to maintain every couple of years.
One of the best deck stains for wood decks, fences, siding, cedar shakes, log homes, and other wood structures is TWP 1500 series deck stain. This improved version of TWP penetrates better, dries faster, and outperforms the previous TWP 500 series stain formula.
For over 20 years TWP (Total Wood Preservative) has been the choice for wood protection by both homeowners and professional contractors. The TWP 1500 is an EPA registered wood preservative which helps prevent wood decay, rot, and structural damage to exterior wood surfaces. The TWP 1500 series resists moisture and water damage for optimal protection and a long lasting finish. It's user friendly and can be cleaned and recoated easily to preserve the natural color of the wood. TWP is a trusted name that will allow you to enjoy your investment for years to come.
TWP 100 Series
TWP 1500 Series
Having the right tools for any job is important and deck restoration is no exception. Many of the tools needed for restoring or maintaining a wood deck are available for purchase or rent. A pressure washer or stiff broom will work up debris and dirt that has collected and settled into the wood. Paint brushes, rollers, or stain pads can be used to apply new stain to the wood. Other materials like paint thinner, plastic tarps, buckets, and paint trays will also be necessary to complete the stain job.
Just as important as having the right tools is using the right deck maintenance products. To prepare the wood properly you have to use a quality deck cleaner followed by a deck brightener. The deck cleaners are normally applied with a pump up sprayer. The wood is then cleaned using a pressure washer or a stiff broom. Agitating the wood and using the right cleaners will work up any pollutants down deep leaving a clean surface for the deck stain to penetrate.
Once the wood has been cleaned using a deck cleaner and the right tools, it needs to be brightened back to the proper pH level. This second step of cleaning a deck is extremely important. Apply a wood deck brightener to the wood just like you did the deck cleaner. Allow it to dwell for the proper amount of time followed by a thorough rinsing. This leaves the wood more acidic and will ensure proper penetration and protection from the deck stain that will be applied later on.
After the wood is clean and allowed to dry, a deck stain or sealer should be applied to protect the wood from the elements. There are different methods for applying a stain but it's important to follow the directions on the can. The biggest mistake people make when sealing a deck is to over-apply the deck stain. Too much stain creates build up and leaves a film on the surfaces that will lead to flaking and peeling.
Restoring your own wood deck is something you can do with the right tools and products. Do some research to find contractor grade materials and it will make the job and the results that much better. Gather the information you need to educate yourself a little about deck restoration and be confident that you can restore your own deck to ensure you get years of use from it.
To get the most out of a wood deck it needs to be protected from the environment and harsh weather conditions. Harmful UV rays and moisture can lessen the longevity of a wood deck in no time. Protecting the wood will block out these damaging conditions giving you many years of enjoyment from your deck.
To provide protection to a wooden deck you have a number of choices. Protective finishes like deck stains and wood deck sealers come in several colors and opacities. Semi-transparent and semi-solid deck stains are definitely in a class by their own when it comes to superior wood protection.
Some homeowners wonder if paint is a good option of protection. Most restoration professionals agree that paint does not hold up well on a deck. If you've ever seen a solid stained or painted deck that has failed you probably noticed the flaking and peeling. This is very common with paints and also big box store solid deck stains which are basically a thin paint.
Wood contracts and expands naturally with altering temperatures and climates. Paints also contract and expand but at a different rate than wood. This variance in flexibility causes the paint to crack and eventually peel over a period of time.
When the bottom sides of the deck boards are not protected, such in most cases, moisture is still able to penetrate the wood. A heavy pigmented paint or stain traps the moisture in the wood unlike a more breathable deck stain. This phenomenon causes the paint to crack, flake, and peel. Generally the problem is first noticeable near the edges of each deck board.
Why You Shouldn't Paint a Deck
Semi-transparent deck stains are much more maintainable. They can have tint added to them as well for a unique look. A quality deck stain penetrates the wood unlike paint which creates a film on the surface that is susceptible to peeling. Penetrating deck stains and sealers are a good choice for shielding your wooden deck from Mother Nature.
Protecting your wood deck from the elements is a necessity if you want it to last, but finding quality protection can be a bit of a dilemma with so many decking stains on the market.
Recently, there have been some deck stains that claim to last anywhere from 5-7 years on a deck. It's slapped right on the label to catch the consumer's eye. So how true is this claim?
Digging a little bit into the actual claim you begin to get suspicious and for good reason. A quick search will lead you to information where professionals are claiming they don't use these types of deck stains. To tell the truth, most of them don't recommend using the stain and go as far to say it's false advertising.
We found many complaints from consumers stating they had a bad experience with the 5-7 year deck stains. In most cases the stain didn't last any longer than other stains. The failing deck stain was said to water spot, flake, crack, or peel making a mess of their decks. There are even a host of lawsuits against these companies!
So how can these deck stain companies get away with such a bogus warranty? To look into their deck stain warranty is quite revealing. Once you read past that huge "5 year warranty" that is plastered on the front of every can, you'll see it's full of limitations and stipulations.
One warranty claimed it was good only "when applied to a properly prepared surface." But there are no guidelines or written laws that state what a properly prepared surface really is. What this means is at the time of a consumer complaint or claim the stain company themselves get to make the decision as to whether a surface was prepared correctly or not.
The warranty also states that "color fading and slight natural graying of the wood may occur during the warranty period." Any professional will tell you that fading or graying of the wood is actually sun damage. So essentially they are claiming their deck stain won't protect against UV damage.
Another one stated that "areas exposed to heavy traffic or excessive weather" are excluded from the warranty. These are just a few of the obvious loop holes these companies can jump through.
The truth is, what they are claiming is actually a very limited warranty and more times than not, they won't accept liability when the deck stain fails. But because their limited warranty is on the can (in small print) they can put the "5 year" or "7 year warranty" on the front of the can as large as they like and not break any laws.
The worst part about these stains is they don't last any longer than other deck stains. But because they are normally 100% acrylic or silicone enhanced they are exceedingly difficult and expensive to remove completely so a new deck stain can be applied. Some professionals even admit walking away from deck stain stripping jobs like this because they are, in their words, "a nightmare."
When it comes to maintaining your wood deck, it's best to use a wood deck cleaner and reseal it every couple of years using a quality 2-3 year deck stain. Concerning absurd deck stain warranties, just remember if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
Wood Deck Stain Ratings
It depends on the severity of neglect but normally an aged deck can be brought back to life. As long as the deck boards aren’t too warped or rotted, washing a deck properly can make it look almost new again. Getting rid of all the grayed out wood fibers caused from sun damage is usually not a problem. If remnants of an old deck stain are present, then a deck stain stripper should be used,resulting in a newly looking deck once again.
If the deck boards are in really bad condition it might be possible to turn them over and re-fasten them to the deck joists. Some sanding might also be necessary before a deck is sealed depending on the wood's condition. Even if there is some structural damage a deck contractor should be able to do some repairs before cleaning and sealing it.
If you think a deck is too far gone to be restored, it might be worth your time to have a reputable deck cleaning contractor assess it for you. Even if you plan to do the work yourself, at least you would know if it was worth restoring or not.
The worst case scenario would be to have the old deck tore down and a new one built. But most people are surprised by the transformation a deck will go through during a proper restoration. As long as the deck is structural sound, there is a good chance of an aged deck looking new again. Once the deck is repaired and then cleaned correctly, a quality deck stain should be applied to the deck to protect the wood from any future damage.
Over the years it has been said that you should let your deck "weather" for a year before cleaning and staining it. According to most wood restoration experts, this is nothing but an old myth. To the contrary, a deck is actually most vulnerable to water and sun damage during the first year. After 12 months the wood can begin to split and crack from moisture and will start turning gray from sun damage. At this point it's certainly not too late to have a wooden deck cleaned and waterproofed but the sooner the better.
Though you shouldn't wait a full year, there is somewhat of a small waiting period before you should have a new deck stained or sealed. New deck boards are full of moisture. You may have noticed how heavy a newer deck board is than an older one that has dried out over time. The drying out period before sealing a new deck really depends on the climate. In warmer months, a deck that sees quite a bit of direct sunlight might be ready to seal within 3 months. While a deck that is more shaded might take a little longer.
The wood should be at a 10-12 percent moisture level or less before applying any deck sealer. With a moisture meter you can determine an average moisture percentage by checking the wood in a few different areas. You certainly don't want to get impatient and seal the deck too soon. This traps moisture in the wood and will cause damage to the deck. It will also cause the new deck finish to fail prematurely costing you more time and money.
Once the wood is at a desired moisture level, don't delay in having it sealed. It's also important to note that although the deck may be fairly new, it's crucial to wash the wood before sealing or staining it with a deck cleaner and wood brightener. Mill glaze and even small amounts of dirt and pollutants can jeopardize the longevity of the deck staining.
All of this talk about “green,” sustainable, LEED’s compliant, what does it mean, why is it important? Many markets have embraced this concept and are benefiting from the performance of these types of products. Gemini introduced Storm Shield Deck Stain in 2010 and has experienced significant growth in markets where there is demand for these types of products. Truckee, California and the Lake Tahoe area in particular have grown into major markets for this waterborne, environmentally friendly product based on the consumer based demand for green products that are safe for the environment, yet perform, and in many cases outperform, their solvent-based counterparts.
Tips for Cleaning IPE Wood
IPE exotic hardwood is from the Brazilian Ironwood family. IPE resists rotting, decay, termites and has incredible strength. IPE's amazing durability can be attributed to it's extreme density which makes it 5 times harder then PTP, Cedar, and Redwood. It has become in recent years a favorite for decks but like any exterior wood, IPE needs periodic maintenance.
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