The climate that makes Jacksonville attractive to so many people also hastens the decay of wood in a deck. No wooden deck will last forever, but decks with the right combination of stain and finish can survive many more years before being replaced. These surface chemicals will gradually wear away and need to be refreshed every year or two. So is all this effort to refinish a deck really worth the time and money? Wooden decks develop multiple problems as they weather, but refinishing the deck will take care of all of them.
When surface sealants begin to crack and wear, they let moisture into the wood, which allows mold spores to enter and grow. Mold in your deck wood is not only unsightly, it can be a health hazard to people who are sensitive to molds. Florida is well known for its humid air, so mold problems occur here more easily than in drier states. Once mold forms in the wood in your deck, the only way to remove it is to clean and strip the wood, add chemicals that kill the mold spores, and wash them away. Once the mold is gone and the surface of the wood is sealed, the health problems from mold should disappear.
Wood is a natural material, and it will deteriorate over time. The deck that started out straight and smooth will eventually develop warped boards, popped nails, splinters, and gouges. Fixing these problems on a finished deck will ruin the finish and allow moisture to penetrate the wood, so the repair and refinish of a deck go hand in hand. Once you remove the old finish, it’s the perfect time to sand any dangerous splinters, smooth off the gouges from your kids’ hockey skates, and hammer in any nails that are coming loose.
Stains and finishes not only make a deck look better, they also protect the wood underneath from deteriorating in Florida’s hot sun. Transparent coatings offer less protection than more opaque ones, but any finish is better than none when it comes to keeping the wood in better condition. Sunlight will break down stains and finishes, leaving your deck surface with less protection over time. It’s necessary to strip and refinish a deck every year or two, especially in sunny climates like Florida, to maintain the protection the stain and finish provide. Keeping the finish fresh on your deck by replacing it when needed can extend the life of your deck by many years.