3 Tips For Perfect Hardwood Maintenance
A hardwood deck is an investment that adds value to your house and provides space to spend quality time with friends and family. Ipe, Cumaru, Jatoba, and Garapa hardwood decks are some of the most beautiful in the world, especially because of their coloring. Although hardwood requires no maintenance for structural integrity, it is important to learn the proper way to maintain its beautiful color. So these are the tips that Brazilian Lumber recommends for deck maintenance:
- Hardwood maintenance and color
- Step by step hardwood maintenance guide
- Key hardwood maintenance recommendation
1. Hardwood Maintenance & Color
To keep the color and material in good condition, you should regularly finish the deck with a good oil-based finish, developed specifically for hardwood. Finishes that are not specifically formulated for these types of woods will not penetrate the deck in a sufficient quantity to provide adequate protection. When you re-oil your deck, you should pressure wash it first. It is important to remember that different hardwoods can withstand different pressures. For instance, an Ipe deck can handle a higher PSI than a Garapa deck. Most hardwoods cannot withstand pressures exceeding 1200 psi. Once the deck has been pressure washed, it should be allowed to dry for at least 24 hours before applying the oil.
Keep in mind that the structural integrity of the boards will not change depending on the color. This is why these hardwoods are so ideal for exterior construction. So if you like the silvered deck look, which you see at a lot of Caribbean resorts or on public boardwalks made of hardwood, it is not necessary to apply oil frequently.
2. Step By Step Hardwood Maintenance Guide
Pre-finish your hardwood lumber: Like sunscreen, pre-finishing helps block UV rays and slows the adaptation process. It is recommended that you complete it before installing the new hardwood decking.
A well-installed deck
In order to ensure a long life span for your wood, it is important that the deck is installed correctly. If it is well installed, you won’t need to incur rushed maintenance. There are many factors to consider in this process:
- When hardwood enters a new environment, it takes a period of time to adapt to the new temperature and humidity to prevent the wood from shrinking or expanding.
- The time required for hardwood to adapt depends on the type of wood and the environment it is in, but usually, 7 to 14 days is sufficient.
Clean the area thoroughly
Leaves, dirt, pollen, and other debris will quickly stain the surface of your deck, but the more you keep it clean, the longer it will last. Hardwoods are naturally resistant to mold and mildew, but they are not immune, especially on the surface. The removal of moisture and organic dirt on a regular basis is the key to protect it from fungus.
If It is no longer enough to just clean the surface, a deeper cleaning is required. To do this, use a hardwood cleaning solution that combines one gallon of warm water with one quart of powdered oxygenated bleach. The solution will be strong enough to remove mold and mildew. Before applying the product, clean the surface with a special brush, rinse it and let it dry completely. The use of a broom or a brush may help remove excess water from your deck. Brazilian Lumber also sells specific deck cleaners and brighteners.
3. Scrub and wipe
While applying the cleaning solution, use a brush to create suds and loosen deeper dirt particles. Don’t forget to rinse it constantly.
4. Let the deck dry
Once the deck has been cleaned and pressure washed, allow at least 24 hours to pass before oiling the deck.
5. Refinish regularly to maintain the color
If you oil your hardwood regularly, you won’t need to refinish it. And, if you prefer your wood deck to turn gray over time, you don’t need to follow this esthetic recommendation either. But, if you want your hardwood to maintain its original color, you will need to use the proper products because not all cleaners, oils, and sealers are made for hardwood decking. First, we list the options for you, and then explain their differences and proper use:
- Oil: Formulated to penetrate the texture of the wood surface. Decking oils protect the wooden decking from the inside. The high oil and wax concentration make boards very resistant to penetration by water and dirt while providing a very durable and easy-to-care surface. We recommend some brands that offer good options and that are available here at Brazilian Lumber, such as ProLux, DeckWise Ipe Oil, and Penofin.
- Sealer: Protects hardwoods from damage due to rot and unsightly mold or mildew, while keeping the wood grain intact. For this reason, many people prefer a deck sealer that penetrates the wood rather than a deck paint that only sits on top of it.
- Brightener: Also called deck neutralizer, is an acid-based product that simply neutralizes the caustic cleaners and helps lower the pH level making the wood more acidic. This opens up the pores in the wood to illuminate it, highlighting the natural beauty of the texture. There are some products that remove the tannin stains that tend to occur naturally in many kinds of wood, which have the appearance of a dark discoloration after the wood has been exposed to moisture.
6. Sand and prevent color fading
If the color has faded, and you want to recover it, you could sand it. Do this with 220 medium-grit sandpaper and then wipe the surface with a damp cloth or sponge. This will improve the texture and make the wood assimilate the oil better. Regarding the material, it is recommended to use garnet to remove scratches and prepare the surface for finishing. Finally, remember to do more frequent maintenance such as oiling the deck so that the color does not fade.
3. Key Hardwood Maintenance Recommendation
Tough stains may need to be removed, but if you are not careful, you can also remove quite a bit of wood from the deck. So, the key to avoiding that is to use some pressure washing methods, paying attention to these recommendations:
- Choose a day when your deck is completely dry and humidity is low.
- Use the lowest possible PSI. Start at 500 PSI
- Use fan-shaped nozzles that extend 40-60 degrees.
- Continue to use the fiber and spray it back and forth about 1 foot away from the wood.
- Start from the house and work your way outward.
With these recommendations in mind, the restoration of your decking will be great, and the end result will be as good as new.