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Swabbing the Deck

Pick a warm autumn day to get your deck ready for winter

Swabbing the Deck
Illustration by Narda Lebo

The fall, while the weather is still mild, is the perfect time to prepare a wood deck against potential damage like checking and splitting that can occur during a wet, snowy winter. The first step is to apply a deck brightener to the surface to loosen ground-in dirt and stubborn grease stains. Then rinse the deck with a garden hose or, better yet, a power washer ($50 per day to rent).

Once the deck is dry, apply a clear wood preservative to bare wood or a decking stain to previously stained surfaces. If you're staining, choose one that contains a wood preservative. And don't forget to coat all end-grain surfaces, which tend to soak up water and crack if not properly sealed. Use a 2-inch-wide foam-rubber brush to coat the long edges of the deck boards, forcing the applicator down into the space between two boards and sliding it along to spread the finish.

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Swabbing the Deck

 

Swabbing the Deck

Swabbing the Deck
Illustration by Narda Lebo
 
 

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