Deck Maintenance

12 Replies

I have a house in South Carolina with 150 sqft of decking that needs to be refinished. The house is 8 years old, and I don't think the decking has ever been touched.

I have gotten one quote to clean and seal the deck: $400. That seems a little steep, but I don't really know the first thing about refinishing decks. I could do the job myself, but the websites I have been reading tell you to let the deck dry 48 hours after power washing it and before staining, then another 48 hours before sealing. I live a 5 hour drive away, so I if I do this myself I am trying to get it done in a single weekend.

Do any of you have advice regarding deck maintenance? The deck is about the height of a standard step. It is very gray in color and starting to splinter off if you walk on it in bare feet. There are no railings. I apologize but I don't have any pictures.

Thanks in advance for any replies,

Mike

Not necessary to power wash it. Better to take a belt sander and sand it down. Make sure to sink all screws or nails first before sanding. Then you take a decking primer coat to it. Two coats will add to the longevity. Then the sealer coat. It is possible to do this over a weekend as the area is not that large. If it is warm, that will help with the speed of the drying process.

By the way, $400 does not sound like a bad deal. My entire weekend is certainly worth more than that, especially when you figure cost of materials and the cost to rent the belt sander. All you are saving is maybe $200 and your time should be worth more than that.

Mix a solution of bleach and water , 70% bleach , 30% water and add some dawn dishwashing soap . Grab a cheap plastic pump up sprayer , 2 gallon works good , and soal the wood deck , probably twice , let the surface dry , once dry hit any green areas again , once clean rinse with a garden hose . No power washer needed . If it is a sunny warm day , and the deck dries completely , you should be able to apply a finish later that day .

$ 400 is not a bad price

Thanks for the replies. Its actually 300 sqft, so the $300 quote probably isn't that bad, especially since I would be spending $150 in gas to drive down there.

I would drive there and get a cheap hotel if the place is rented out and do it yourself, or take my pop up camper and live in that for a night or weekend. If place is not rented pack a sleeping bag! You can def do it in a weekend. You can power wash or sand. If you power wash you need to let it dry.(bring cord and fan to help) Sanding does really well but just make sure to sand evenly. With out railings it will go very quick, and I think I would sand if it was my choice especially with out railings. You can rent a floor sander for $70 bucks for a day or for like $45 for 4 hours which is plenty for a deck that size. Add sanding pads and what not and say $90 for 4 hours. Then id bring a smaller air compressor to blow off dust after sanding, and give it a quick blowing before sanding to remove leaves and what not. Return sander, start staining. On a nice day you can do this in one day with a deck that size for sure. Maybe stay one night and hit it again in the morning if need be.

I know Will said his time is worth more than $400.... but if you don't do anything then you losing $400 plain and simple. Im not of fan of "my time is money" to an extent. Unless you have something else you could be doing that day to make more money then ok... But if not and you going to watch tv and do nothing then was watching tv really worth $400? And if so you can rent my couch and tv for a day or weekend for $400!!!!

Time is money.....lol... im not saying anything bad about Will and im sorry if this comes off as an attack, its more an attack at that mind set. Im newer to REI but not to making money. Most of the time when people say that my time is worth more than that, they dont do anything to generate money during said time frame. So if indeed there time is money then doing it your self will save you money and you will be paid in a sense and gain the invaluable knowledge so next time it will get done quicker. Unless your loaded, very busy, or you plan on dumping the place soon for a nice profit, or never plan to own a property with a deck again then pay someone else. just giving my .2c. If your balling out of control and don't mind giving away profits then by all means pay someone else. Im too cheap for that, my time is worth something only when im doing something. As I type, my time is only worth as much as the dirt outside, no more, maybe less since the dirt has a value I guess :-)

Saving money on a project is the same as making money in my book!!

and you know what kind of work your getting. The person who gave you a "good price" do you know them or have you worked with them before? If its the cheapest you could find then chances are (not always) that the work will be on par with there "cheap price" If you plan on making the drive to check on there work then might as well do it your self since you plan on going anyways. And I would do 2 coats, chances are you were gonna pay for only 1 anyways and They would prolly use an all in 1 sealer and stain. That is how I would quote someone. I bet you can do it for half the cost. Use stain and sealer combo to save time and money.

Point is if you have the time and you do it your self you know what your getting (within reason) and your SAVING MONEY (that means making money in my book)

We just resealed our deck (had to drive 5 hours, but house was turning over so other work to do so saved a lot over the PM maintenance people, plus we pressure washed the 3 houses and a white vinyl fence as well). We used Thompson's WaterSeal Waterproofing Stain semi-transparent after we pressure washed it as it says "applies to freshly cleaned damp or dry wood." And instructions don't give any wait time between wash and stain, while some of their other products say wait 48 hours. We pressure washed in the morning, then I painted the railings that evening and finished it the next morning. It wasn't expensive, and would have been a much easier/faster job if it wasn't a 2nd floor deck with railings.

Originally posted by @Michael S. :
Thanks for the replies. Its actually 300 sqft, so the $300 quote probably isn't that bad, especially since I would be spending $150 in gas to drive down there.

That and the cost of materials, looks like you answered your own question here.

Originally posted by @Account Closed :

I know Will said his time is worth more than $400.... but if you don't do anything then you losing $400 plain and simple. Im not of fan of "my time is money" to an extent. Unless you have something else you could be doing that day to make more money then ok... But if not and you going to watch tv and do nothing then was watching tv really worth $400? And if so you can rent my couch and tv for a day or weekend for $400!!!!

Time is money.....lol... im not saying anything bad about Will and im sorry if this comes off as an attack, its more an attack at that mind set. Im newer to REI but not to making money. Most of the time when people say that my time is worth more than that, they dont do anything to generate money during said time frame.

No offense taken, I welcome anyone's opinion, being too closed minded hinders growth! To your point, Will Barnard is not one of those who says my time is worth more and then does nothing, my statement assumes the other could do something of better importance with time. Time spent with family is worth more than $300 and don't forget all the costs involved with doing it your self, rental of equipment, materials, gas to get there and back. All he is really saving is about $100 and for an entire weekend, certainly one could find something better to do with that $100 in savings. Just my counter point to you my friend.

Thanks for the replies everyone.

@Lynn M. I like your strategy. I think the key is to plan ahead and bundle preventative maintenance so you can accomplish multiple tasks in one weekend. Part of that is not letting things slide until they become emergencies.

Definitely worth the $400 to save on gas and supplies IMO

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