How often do I need to seal or stain my deck? What should I use?

How often should I stain or seal my deck? It is an oft asked question an I will provide some expertise and experience!
Look at your deck, what direction is it facing? If the answer is north or east, you probably can go a couple of years and just keep an eye on it. If on the other hand you have a west or south facing deck, it is likely to need staining every year!

Different wood species requie a different stain and levels of care. Make sure you investigate with a professional as to the appropriate stain for the wood used on you deck

Pressure-treated wood deck stained with pergola and outdoor kitchen by Archadeck of Charlotte

Pressure-treated wood deck stained with pergola and outdoor kitchen by Archadeck of Charlotte

You can go to http://www.charlotte.archadeck.com for more information.

Archadeck of Charlotte designed and build this screen porch with Travertine porch floor

Archadeck of Charlotte designed and build this screen porch with Travertine porch floor

How to build a Charlotte deck…the Archadeck way!

Multi-level deck with stone outdoor fireplace by Archadeck of Charlotte

Multi-level deck with stone outdoor fireplace by Archadeck of Charlotte

At the risk of teaching all of you “do-it-yourselfer’s” how to properly construct a deck, it is worth it to us to make sure that whatever is built by whomever, is done so with safety first!

Decks do require building permits in North and South Carolina.

Archadeck has been designing and building decks for over 25 years and literally has over 23,000 decks built here in the Charlotte area. Here are some guidelines formed from our experience:

1. Ground conditions are a very important factor to start with. If there is a lot of fill dirt where you are going to place your footings, you may need a soil engineer to design a proper footing that will disperse the weight load so that your deck does not begin to sink. If there is soft or bull tallow soil, the same remedy applies.

2. It all starts with your footings. In North Carolina, we typically dig 12″ – 24″ or until we find solid soil if possible. Then you can either purchase 16″x16″ cinder blocks and make sure your 6×6 columns are placed squarely on the blocks before filling in the dirt over and around them. You may also need to add concrete depending on the conditions of the soil, the height of the deck, lateral bracing constraints, and so forth

3. Once you have passed your footing inspection, it is time to start framing. We typically will use either 2×8 or 2×10 floor joists that will attach to a 2×12 band or ledger boards we tie into the actual house if the house is on a crawl space. If the house is built on a slab, that we are forced to build what is referred to as a “free-standing” deck meaning we will add footers up next to the house wall. If we are cutting into a vinyl or fiber cement sided house, we need to purchase and install metal flashing to avoid having moisture get in behind the siding and rotting the house wall.

3. We typically will purchase pressure-treated wood deck boards that are 5/4×6 in dimension and screw them down. We space our floor joists 16″ on center unless we are using composite decking and laying the boards on a diagonal, then we will space them 12″ on center.

4. We use a 12″ fascia board to hide the ends of the decking boards to create a clean finish around the perimeter of the deck

5. Rail is required here in North Carolina once the height of the deck is 30″ above grade or greater. The standard rail height minimum is 36″. There a vast amount of choices of rail systems ranging from custom made to kits.

6. If you are installing dried lumber (that is our preference), it is important to have the deck sealed/stained shortly after installation to protect the deck itself. We find Cabot or the proprietary stain from Renew Crew to be quite effective and protecting the wood decking.

If you’re considering adding a deck to your Charlotte area home, we would love if you would give us a call for a free consultation at (704) 944 – 1350.

This si a good example of Renew Crew of Charlotte can clean and protect wood decking

This is a good example of Renew Crew of Charlotte can clean and protect wood decking

What is the most effective way to restore my deck?

Pressure-treated wood deck with English Lattice and pergola in Huntersville, NC by Archadeck

Pressure-treated wood deck with English Lattice and pergola in Huntersville, NC by Archadeck

Do you have a wooden deck that has seen better days? Are you concerned at all about deck safety and if your deck is going to withstand another season. There are several things to look for and different ways to handle these concerns.

First and foremost, you want to examine the structure of the deck itself. Are the footings solid? Are your columns in good shape holding the deck up? How about the floor joists? What kind of footings were used to originally construct the deck? The rail is another important feature to examine. Has it worked loose of time? Are all of the fasteners still engaged? Give it the old rattle test with you hand.

The most common areas for a deck to go are the actual decking boards themselves and the wood rail cap. When these begin to go bad, you have a few choices. You can sand and stain yourself if it has not rotten, you can call a professional deck restoration company such as Renew Crew of Charlotte and have it done for you, or you can get a professional to simply come out and give you a deck safety inspection such as Archadeck of Charlotte.

Deck safety inspections are often inexpensive and many companies such as Archadeck will deduct the cost of the inspection from the fix itself if they are hired to perform the deck restoration. If your deck is more than 4′ in the air and is over 10 years old, it is an excellent idea to have the deck thoroughly inspected. If the findings are the structure is in good shape, the best way to restore the deck is either to replace the deck boards and rail with a good grade of lumber or composite and this can be done relatively inexpensively! To get some good restoration ideas for your deck, go to our photo gallery at http://www.charlotte.archadeck.com

Can I or should I pressure wash my deck?

Dirty deck and rail in Charlotte

Charlotte deck that needs cleaning

Renew Crew of Charlotte has very strong experience with cleaning and restoring decks as well as patios and house walls. While power washing can certainly get dirt band mildew off your deck, the pressure of the water also destroys the surface of the wood by fracturing wood particles.

Renew Crew uses a pressure washer but by a control valve it “pressure cleans” with far less pressure in order to keep the wood surface whole and uses an exclusive organic foam to loosen the dirt and mildew. It then uses a protectant to seal the deck and rerestore it’s natural beauty! To see photos and gather more information, go to http://www.charlotte.renewcrewclean.com