Splintering decks are usually the result of one thing: homeowner neglect. Splintering decks don’t happen unless a long period of time has passed during which the deck has not been treated with a water sealer and stain. The lack of protection allows water to soak into the boards, eventually causing them to splinter and crack. Fortunately, all is not lost. It might be hard to get that brand new look back completely, but you can repair decking that has been neglected by following a few simple steps.
Bleaching Splintering Decks
Your first order of business is the easiest. Mix up a solution of half bleach, half water, and spray down your entire decking. If you see areas of deck mold (not unlikely if it’s been a while since your deck’s been treated), hit those especially hard and work at them with a scrub brush until the mold has been removed. Finally, wait for the deck to dry before moving on to the next step.
The bleach does two things: it kills deck mold and mildew, and it bleaches the wood to a uniform color, preparing it for taking the deck treatment. If you treat a deck that’s at the point of splintering without applying bleach, you’ll end up with dark, unattractive decking, instead of bringing out the natural wood look you’re trying to recover.
Sand It Down
Once the bleach solution has dried off the deck (it’s a good idea to give it about 24 hours, just to be sure), you can move on to sanding. Since splintering decks mean lots of painful slivers for bare feet, it’s important that you sand down your deck so that you’re once again working with a smooth surface. Renting a large floor sander will certainly speed up the job, though the railings, banisters, and steps will probably need to be done with a hand sander or with sandpaper in hard to reach places. Finally, rent a power washer and clean off the deck. It’s going to be covered in a fine layer of dust from the sanding, and you’ll need to get rid of that if you want your sealer to take properly.
Treat the Deck
Once the deck has dried out a second time, you’re ready to treat the deck. Using a power sprayer drastically reduces the time it takes to treat a deck, though it can be done with paint rollers and brushes if you’ve got the patience. Just be sure to watch out for drips and runs, and to brush them up quickly. Taking care of them immediately is pretty simple. Waiting until after the deck is dry to try to get rid of them is almost impossible. Finally, remember to treat your deck on a regular basis (at least every few years). It’s the only sure-fire way to prevent problems like splintering decks, cracking, rot, and deck mold.
Hiring Contractors to Fix Splintering Decks
While it is possible to repair decking yourself, it’s a time consuming and laborious job, especially if you don’t have the tools. A decking contractor is experienced enough to repair decking of all sorts, and has the supplies and know how to get it done right in a fraction of the time. For many homeowners, hiring them is well worth the extra cost.