Regular maintenance key to restoring patio, deck after winter

By: Kristyne E. Demske | C&G Newspapers | Published March 4, 2015

 Moss and weeds can grow in the joints between brick pavers. A thorough power washing with a turbo nozzle can open up the joints and allow new sand to be spread and hardened in between the bricks.

Moss and weeds can grow in the joints between brick pavers. A thorough power washing with a turbo nozzle can open up the joints and allow new sand to be spread and hardened in between the bricks.

Photo provided by Mr. Clean Powerwashing

Right now, there are likely several inches of snow piled up on at least a portion of your deck or patio.

But what will you find when it melts?

Flaking paint chips and nail pops on your wooden deck, moss and weeds starting to grow between brick pavers, or worse.

“The first thing you’re going to want to do is look at your deck and assess what is wrong with it,” said Tony Menzo, of Deck Details in Rochester Hills. “Nail pops because the wood expands and contracts in the weather. The sealer that you had on it is starting to fade; you’re going to want to get that resealed. That means it’s not getting protected, and you might have some rotting starting in the wood.”

The best way to help a wooden deck, brick-paver or concrete patio bounce back from winter is to make sure it is properly maintained.

“The best thing you can do for your deck is to have it maintained regularly,” Menzo said, adding that, if you do, “it’ll last you probably 20 years.”

Menzo recommends having a wood deck cleaned and sealed every two to three years. It’s a job for a professional, he said, because “the biggest part would be power washing, and I don’t recommend just anybody to pick up a power washer and work on their deck.”

Do it wrong, he said, and you’ll have lines running down the deck, which is evidence of  damage to the wood made by holding the nozzle too close.

“Power washing is best left for the professionals,” he said. “You’ll probably need a stripper agent to get the old stain or old product off of the deck, and a brightener to make the wood look good again.”

Power washing is necessary to open up the wood grain and allow the new product to properly soak into the wood, he said. Without that first step, Menzo said a new seal may only last a year because it didn’t actually soak into the wood.

Randy Solmen, of Mr. Clean Powerwashing in Davisburg, said that his company has been restoring and cleaning decks and brick pavers for 27 years.

“The decks require a lot of maintenance,” he said. “They just need to be cleaned and sealed; they shouldn’t be painted. Other companies will slap a coat of paint on it, but it looks good for a very short period of time.”

He said an oil-based sealer that sinks into the wood will give it color and protect it from the sun.

“You want it to almost look like there’s nothing on the deck,” he said. “That’s the least amount of time and maintenance and the best way to keep your deck looking nice.”

Sealed, colored and stamped concrete can also take a beating from the winter and the products used to melt snow.

“Simple products like vinegar and water can clean it,” said Rick Luth, of RML Contracting in Shelby Township. “For driveways and front entrances, they want to get that salt residue off as soon as possible (using) a mild solution of vinegar and water.”

Luth said there are products available at places like Home Depot, Lowe’s and other home improvement stores that will bring the seal on concrete back to life. Resealing the concrete is actually problematic, because it starts to create buildup that can get hazy.

“It might need to be stripped and resealed,” Luth said.

Salt can damage colored and stamped concrete after two years or more.

“A clean wash and seal will bring it back,” he said of the finish, although the pitting will remain.

When residents reseal the concrete, he said, they can mix adhesives and nonskid products into the stain to keep the concrete from being as slippery.

Brick-paver patios can be spruced up after the winter, as well, Solmen said.

“We clean the bricks, and the first thing that we do is we use turbo nozzles and we remove everything from between the bricks. ... (We) create an inch or more gap in between each brick,” he said.

Then, Solmen said, a brick-joining sand is swept between the bricks, and an acrylic product is used to harden the sand like cement, preventing weeds from growing up between the bricks.

“There is no shortcut to doing bricks the proper way; you have to use a lot of product,” he said. “The sand’s hardened for multiple years. If you don’t harden the sand, you’ve compromised the job.”

The best time to call for help is now, the professionals say.

“Call to get on our list, and we call you when we open our doors, and we start the scheduling once the doors get open,” he said. “We make the old new. It doesn’t make any difference how old they are — they all look new when we’re done.”

For more information on Deck Details in Rochester Hills, call (248) 240-0550. Mr. Clean Powerwashing in Davisburg can be reached at (248) 625-3284. RML Contracting in Shelby Township can be reached at (800) 859-0059.