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This year the deck on our summer place turns 11. The deck isn’t vast, maybe 10′ x 30′—just the right size for evening gatherings or lunch for my wife and myself.
When I built it, I decided the decking material would be mahogany. Other woods like red cedar or redwood are great choices too, but I liked the grain pattern of mahogany and the silvery sheen it develops when left to weather naturally.
What I didn’t foresee was that the New England damp would soon start promoting mildew. By the end of the first season I was cleaning the deck with a bleach solution. When the deck turned three, it continued to grow mildew and moss instead of taking on the weathered look that I had hoped for.
I enlisted a handyman to pressure wash the whole deck so we could start fresh. Unfortunately, he didn’t quite understand the directions given on how far from the wood to keep the pressure washer nozzle—and the results resembled one of those Jackson Pollock paintings. I was not happy! The solution was to forget the weathered, silvery sheen and apply a coat of opaque grey stain to hide the damage.
Now, 11 years later, I’m starting over. This time I’ll hire a professional to come and do a complete sanding down to bare wood. I got a jump-start on the project last fall, hand setting the many nails that had shifted upwards over the years.
As with any refinishing project, success often depends on the amount of preparatory “grunt” work that gets done. This time around, I intend to apply a wood preservative stain that will be transparent and give us that weathered look from the get-go.
I’ll let you know how I make out!
For more on decks, consider: