Autumn deck maintenance that matters

Aug 16, 2017 by Jason Matthews


With September approaching, now’s the time to take a few minutes and carefully observe your home’s exterior for clues on what needs to be repaired, resealed or repainted before Northern Indiana’s winter sets in. At Matthews Painting, we’re currently scheduling exterior work for October, so don’t wait too much longer to give us a call if there’s work you’d like to complete!

One area you may want to pay special attention to is the outdoor deck, or gazebo and other wood structures that will need protection. That's especially true if you haven’t had the chance to clean and seal the surfaces in the last two or three years.

The summer months are fun, but they’re hard on the boards and benches that spend their days in the hot sun. That leads to UV ray damage – usually that gray, washed-out look – and the fading that comes before the wood is susceptible to splitting and cracking. Some homeowners might like the natural, distressed look of the weathered wood, but they won’t like the expensive damage that comes with UV wear. One solution is to choose a stain that has a gray tone that achieves the look without the distress; if gray isn't your preference, there are other wood tones to choose from.

For many owners, though, the sun is less a worry than moisture is. Part of the exposure comes from seasonal snow and rain, which tends to be more visible, but the humidity has been taking a stealthier toll all summer long. The moisture damage to homes in the shade comes with even more risk of mold and mildew. Homes at the lakeside or on the river have the added exposure from the waterfront and all the activities – boating, fishing, swimming – that family and friends have been enjoying across the season.

Another threat you may not have noticed in spring are insects, and any damage caused by the bugs will need an autumn repair so that exposure isn’t extended by the coming cold. So before the winter sets in, it may be a good idea to remove any rotting wood, make those necessary repairs even if they’re minor, and invest in quality staining and sealing products that stand up to a harsh environment.

What happens if you’re not sure what you’re looking for, or how serious a problem might be? Matthews Painting professionals include certified wood-care specialists trained to help identify any problems when they first complete an inspection.

The entire process includes applying a deck cleaning solution to the wood, removing algae and other foreign substances to start with a squeaky-clean surface. Only then do we pressure wash the surfaces, cleaning the wood and removing most of the UV damage, rot, or dirt concealing a problem beneath it.

Then we make sure the deck is dry, using a tester that can tell if the moisture content on your deck is 15 percent or less. We target that level because the top reason for stain and seal failure, according to industry studies, is when the wood’s moisture content heads well beyond 15 percent.

We use the tester on the deck boards, the rails, any benches or gazebos, and other features to ensure the wood is dry before any seal or stain goes on. Once we’re sure that it is, we apply stain or sealer that will keep the surfaces protected from sun and water damage.

It’s a smart investment for seasons to come, so as this one winds down, consider scheduling your deck inspection and service for October. That way you won’t lose a minute of the summer days you have left – and you’ll be ready in spring to kick back and enjoy the coming year with a fresh and worry-free start.


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INTERIOR: We are now scheduling interior work for: SEPTEMBER 2017.

Our Interior Services Include Wall, Ceiling,Trim and Door Painting, Kitchen Cabinet Painting and Refinishing, Touch-Up Painting and Staining, Drywall Repair/Re-texturing and Wallpaper Removal!

EXTERIOR: We are now scheduling exterior work for: OCTOBER 2017.

Our Exterior Services Include House Painting and Staining, Deck Staining and Sealing, Pressure Washing and Log Home Restoration.

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