The one thing to remember about decks is the difficulty in having them maintain their new look for multiple (2-4) years. Unlike the logs which make up the support structure of your home and are often at least somewhat protected from overhangs, decks take a much more brutal pounding by the elements. The color and protection provided for your log walls will last longer than what you apply to your deck. There are 3 primary reasons for this:
- Decks provide a horizontal surface which allows rain and snow to sit for prolonged periods of time which will more quickly degrade the deck surface.
- Foot traffic further shortens the life of the stain.
- Compared to walls, decks are exposed to the sun much more, which is what causes the aging or greying effect on your wood. The question of, "How often do I need to redo my deck" has varying answers except you can be certain it will require attention more often than your walls.
Like your log walls, decks don't weather in a uniform fashion. After a year or 2, areas exposed to direct sunlight may hold no trace of the old finish, while shaded surfaces may show very little, if any degradation.
Pressure washing is easily the most popular method of cleaning I use on decks. There are times a chemical stripper could be used, but often by the time I restore a deck, it's degraded to the point that there is very little, if any stain / protectant left. If a chemical stripper isn't necessary first, a good wood cleaner often is. The cost for product and labor is much, much less than an equivalent project on your walls. The square footage is going to be much less (in most cases) and working on a horizontal surface is a quicker process than on a ladder working on your walls. Unlike log walls where a clear coat finish is heavily recommended, this is not applied to your deck.
Pressure washing your driveway and / or concrete area leading to your entryway can also be done. This area seldom needs a cleaner prior to pressure washing. You might be surprised how clean this area can become, as this photo illustrates.
Over 90% of UV protection is provided by pigments in your stain, whether it be for the deck or your log walls. This means if you use a protectant that is clear or one with very little color, the greying effect the sun has on your wood will be accelerated. If you can see your wood, so can the sun.
This doesn't mean you need to have a dark stain applied to provide ample protection. True, the more pigment in a stain, the longer it will last. But you can also go with a pigment that closely resembles the color of your wood. This way you'll get the necessary protection yet your deck won't appear that its been heavily stained. It's very important to go with an oil based stain for the deck. While acrylics are sufficient and very popular on the walls, they provide protection by means of a film forming finish which you wouldn't want to walk on.
Under no circumstances should a stain or sealer be applied with a roller. My method of application is a paint pad or brush which provides better color consistency and penetration than spraying, although it takes a bit longer.
If you'd like an evaluation and proposal on what it would take to restore your weathered deck, contact me.