One of the things I enjoy about home improvement is trying out different products so see how they stand up to our Northwest climate. The project that my wife and I knew was on our top five to-do list was to remove an on-grade slab of concrete which was our patio. When we purchased our home the only access to the outside patio was through the garage door or walking around the house–a real drag that we had to change. After we installed an Anderson sliding door from the kitchen and dining area for easy access to the back yard where the concrete patio was, we put our savings in high gear for our on-grade deck where we could lounge and watch the scenery and enjoy our Summer-like weather we are now experiencing.
I’ve repaired, cleaned and stained numerous decks for family and friends and after considering what products seemed to work well and what types of decks gave me the most frustration in repairing or maintaining, we settled on a composite deck system by Xtendex sold at retailers around Puget Sound. This decking is extremely dense and has a wood-grain feature that is embossed into the board lengths during the manufacturing process. My initial concern was that this would wear away, but after three years it still looks very good.
We purchased our deck and railing system at Dunn Lumber. The color that worked best for us was Redwood. I’ll be the first to admit this deck has taken a beating both with fireworks landing on it (and being launched from thanks to a creative son), numerous food spills, ice, snow (and me shoveling it off with…a shovel), and deck furniture. This past Fall and Winter weather was as brutal as I can remember since we’ve lived in our home. A lot of grime and dirt built up since last Spring when it was last cleaned.
See the pictures of how clean this deck looks after three seasons. I used a mild detergent and then pressure washed the decking. About 750 sq. ft was cleaned in about 90 minutes start to finish. I couldn’t help but look at my neighbors house (Joy, I hope you don’t read this post and if you do I’ll buy you a Mocha) where their decking looked haggard, worn and peeling paint everywhere. To have a wood deck refurbished, stained and railings painted would cost a bundle and the refurbish cycle would have to be close to every other year depending upon the quality of the materials, workmanship and finish. Washing down our decking is about the only maintenance I have to look forward to for a number of years. I we had to do anything all over again it would be to change the fastening system from what we have (Stainless Steel Top screws) to a hidden fastening system.
Good luck to all the D-I-Y ‘s this Spring and Summer.