You will need to apply a surface finish, soon after construction to prevent surface degradation. To help capture and maintain the beauty of the wood use semi-transparent stains and water-repellent preservatives.
A deck built with western red cedar is known for its durability, making it the perfect wood for all outdoor uses, including, furniture, sheds and fences.
It is unmatched in it's exterior use, because of its resistance to the elements, natural preservative oils, stability and great surface for staining.
This type cedar is quite versatile and accepts a variety of stains to create the particular look the homeowner wants.
- When you are ready to choose a finish, purchase one that offers protection against ultraviolet light, contains water-repellent fungicide and mildewicide.
- Follow the instructions from the finish manufacturer. For best results apply the finish when moisture content has stabilized at the level that will prevail during the life of the wood. (Hint) Lightly scuff smooth cedar with sandpaper before applying the finish. It may be necessary to re-apply every year or so, to ensure your wood remains beautiful.
- Prepare Your Deck this Winter and Take the Hard Work Out of Spring Cleaning If you follow a regular cleaning schedule this will enable your wood to last for years, even decades.
- Remove Dirt and Debris - Remove all pine needles, leaves and branches from your wood surface. If you have lots of leaves or branches falling on your deck, you might consider cutting back the trees. Remove debris from between boards. Over time dirt and leaves will build up, causing standing water or other moisture to stay on top rather than drain down. Correct ventilation is also crucial to avoiding moisture build up.
- Eliminate Mildew - Mildew should be removed as soon as possible after it appears. Mildew left to grow untreated, even in the winter, can lead to additional damage. There are lots of products that can be purchased at any retail lumberyard or home center. You can also make your own solution with household cleaners you may already have on hand.
- Using a common garden sprayer, combine 1 quart of oxygen bleach --Oxyclean and Ajax Oxygen Bleach are two of the most popular brands -- 3 quarts of water, and 1/4 cup of ammonia-free liquid dishwasher detergent within the spray canister. Liberally apply the solution to the surface and allow to set for about 10-15 minutes. After the solution has been allowed to set, simply rinse the surface clean. If you have a tougher mildew stain you may need to apply the solution with a soft bristle brush.
Pot & Planters
Setting pots and planters directly on any wood surface will cause staining. With the drain holes in the base of potted plants, when moisture runs off it isn't able to evaporate between the planter and the deck.
To solve this problem you can create space between the deck and planters, place planters onto 2 x 2 cedar. The natural compound in cedar forms a resistance to rot, decay and deterioration and the extra space created by the cedar will allow moisture to evaporate. Adding cedar stand-offs underneath other large objects like benches, storage boxes and umbrella stands will also go a long way to keeping your surface healthy.