Frequent summer rain, high humidity, and excess heat all contribute to deck surfaces being weathered before their time. The almost year-round summer weather in Jacksonville calls for some type of outdoor living space, and decks are an attractive option for almost any house. No deck finish will last forever, but some techniques lend themselves to Florida weather better than others. When deciding how to refinish a deck, keep in mind all the adverse weather the deck will withstand before you choose any products for the job.
Preparation is the key to almost any job, and finishing your deck is no different. Years of use will give decks a surface of ground-in dirt and stains, which will inhibit any finish you apply. Cleaning the entire surface of the deck is critical before moving on to the actual finish. Use an oxygen cleaner specifically designed to clean deck surfaces. It will reach down into the grain of the wood and remove any dirt that might mar your final finish. Use a hose sprayer to rinse the deck completely, making sure you leave absolutely no chemicals behind.
Type of Stain
Wood decking finish comes in two varieties: oil-based and water-based. Oil-based stains are a good choice for northern decks but don’t do well at all in humid Florida weather. Unlike their oil-based cousins, water-based stains can be applied in moist or humid conditions and don’t have to be applied to bone-dry wood. Water-based stains also sink deeper into the wood, helping the finish to last longer, no matter how much traffic it withstands. When it comes to Jacksonville weather, knowing how to refinish a deck the best way possible means knowing to use a water-based stain, hands down.
Color makes a surprising difference when it comes to the lifespan of a deck finish job, according to This Old House. Clear finishes give the wood surface an attractive, natural look but tend to break down sooner. Colored finishes, known as stains, give the wood an extra layer of protection. Sunlight must penetrate through the color layer before it touches the wood underneath, so a colored stain can give a deck an extra year or two of protection. The darker the color, the better the protection, so give serious thought to giving your deck a redwood color or an even darker hue.
Keeping your deck in good condition is easier with regular maintenance. Give the surface a good scrubbing once a month or so to remove sand that will scratch the surface and dirt that can dull the color. A cleaning job as simple as hosing off the surface can go a long way toward keeping the surface clear and making the finish last as long as possible.