Over time the wood in your deck will expand and contract due to changes in the weather. When this happens, nails tend to “pop” up above the surface.
Not only is this bad for your deck it is a trip hazard for you. And it will surely rip into your sanding belt if you plan to sand your deck.
However, you can pop those nails right back in with a hammer and a nail set. You can get a nail set at your local hardware store or home center.
If you don’t have a nail set, lay flat a 12d or 16d common nail with its head over the nail you want to set.
Holding the nail carefully with your fingers, strike it firmly into place with your hammer.
With all the nails safely back where they belong, you can sand your deck and bring it back to life.
Here are some more tips we found for you when it comes to keeping your deck in shape.
It is important to keep a close eye on your deck as it gets older. Every spring you should carefully inspect the deck to see if there are any popped nails or if there are other repairs you will need to make to keep your deck in good shape.
When you are sanding your deck you will need to keep an eye out for splintered areas and handrails. A belt sander with 80-grit paper is what the experts recommend. If you come across large splintered areas in your deck you may have to use a hammer and chisel to cut out the bad areas and then sand the edges.
CHOOSING A CLEANER
To clean your deck, you may want to consider renting a pressure washer to clean it thoroughly. Be sure to wear goggles and gloves whenever you are handling chemical cleaners. Kneepads can save your knees if you plan to really get “down and dirty” and scrub the deck by hand. You will also want to wear kneepads for repairing and sanding your deck. Consider using a piece of carpet to kneel on as well as the pads.
Deck cleaners get rid of mold, mildew and any dirt or stains imbedded in wood fibers. Though you can mix your own with laundry detergent and bleach, a store-bought cleaner is best for very dirty or damaged wood.
When you go to your hardware store or home center you will want to ask for either a deck cleaner or a deck restorer. Cleaners have detergent and bleach, and work best on dirt and mildew. Restorers have oxalic acid and are good for removing streaks and stains around nail- and screwheads in cedar and redwood decks. Both come in liquid and crystal form.
Remember your deck needs your protection. Between moisture what swells the wood and the sun that dries, cracks, and discolors it, your deck actually begins to break down the moment you are finished building it.
However, did you know you can reverse some of the damage by applying a specially formulated cleaner and the treating the surface with a water-repellent finish? A clean deck is one way to keep it a sturdy deck. Dirty decks won't accept a finish well; dirt can also react with the finish and turn the lumber black. And even the cleanest deck surface is at the mercy of the elements without the right finish.
Decks are a wonderful addition to your house and will give you hours of enjoyment, whether you are relaxing outside with nature and the newspaper or entertaining family and friends with a back yard barbecue. And the better you treat your deck the longer the enjoyment will last.