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Bluestarcarpentry -testing The Wood
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A water test is the easiest way to ensure that the wood can absorb sealer or finish. Sprinkle water on the deck. If it soaks in immediately, the deck can be sealed. If the water beads up or stands on the deck, your deck may not need sealing yet.
UV rays penetrate wood, which causes graying. Apply a brightener and cleaner to restore the wood's natural beauty. Deck cleaners help remove dirt, nail stains, algae and mildew. If your deck isn't brand-new, always use a cleaner before applying finish.
Carefully read the manufacturer's directions before using the material, and follow all safety precautions and warnings on the label. Wear safety goggles, a long-sleeved shirt and long pants. Don't wear sandals or open-toed shoes.
Remove all deck furniture and other furnishings.
Sand splintered areas with a pole sander with 80-grit paper. Repair or replace damaged boards. Make sure to drive in any popped nails first – or even better, replace them with deck screws.
Sweep off loose debris and clean between the cracks of the boards with a putty knife.
Wet surrounding plants and shrubs. Cover them with clear plastic sheeting to prevent spotting with chemicals.
Some cleaners require the surface to be damp before applying, while others require the surface to be dry. Consult the product label. For concentrated cleaners, follow the manufacturer's mixing directions.
Use a paint roller with an extension handle, a garden sprayer or a stiff-bristled push broom to apply cleaner to the entire deck. Don't allow cleaner to puddle in any area.
Speed up the process by having one person apply the cleaner and another person back-roll the deck. Back-rolling is a process in which one person uses a roller or broom to spread any puddles.
Keep the deck wet with cleaner. Don't allow the cleaner to dry.
Scrub tough areas with a stiff brush or broom. Avoid using wire brushes or brooms. The bristles can break off into the wood and cause rust spots.
Allow the cleaner to soak into the wood. Soaking time is usually no more than 10 minutes, but check the product instructions.
Rinse the deck thoroughly with a garden hose.
Wash equipment with soapy water. Rinse plastic sheeting with water and remove.
Allow deck to dry at least two days before applying a sealer.
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