It is sad to say, but the cause of a splintering Northern Virginia deck is usually neglect on the part of the homeowner. A well-made deck won’t splinter unless a very long period of time has passed without the deck being treated with water sealer or stain. When the boards aren’t protected, rain water seeps into them, which eventually causes them to splinter and crack. The deck can still be saved, although it may never look brand new again.
Step #1: Bleach Water
The first step is also the easiest. Mix equal parts of bleach and hot water, and spray down the entire surface of the deck. If you happen to find areas that are moldy, hit them especially hard with the bleach water solution. It is very important to remove all of the mold, so any stubborn areas should be scrubbed of with a scrub brush. You will have to wait for the deck to cry before proceeding with the next step.
This step performs two functions: the destruction of all deck mold and mildew. Second, the wood is bleached to a uniform color. If a deck that is at the point of splintering is treated without being bleached first, the result can be an unattractive darker color, instead of revealing the natural wood colors that you are trying to restore.
Step #2: Sanding
After a good 24 hour drying period, and all of the bleach solution gone, you can begin the sanding process. A splintering deck increases the chances that bare feet can be stabbed by slivers, so it is vital that the deck is sanded smooth. If you rent a floor sander, you can knock out the large areas with relative ease, but a smaller sander will be necessary to do the other parts, or possibly even sand paper in the most hard to reach places. When it is time to clean up, renting a power washer is recommended to remove the layers of saw dust that sanding will generate. If this dust is not removed, the sealer will not take properly.
Step #3: Treatment
Another drying period will be necessary after the power wash, so the next day you can begin treating the deck. A power sprayer can create an even, professional looking coat quickly, but using paint rollers and brushes are just as good if you have the time. The most important point is to never let any drips or runs dry because they are easy to smooth out when wet, but almost impossible to remove when dry. On a final note, the deck should be retreated at least every few years, if not annually, to prevent the appearance of cracks, rot, mold, and splinters.
Or Skip All the Steps and Hire a Contractor
As you have read above, repairing a splintering Northern Virginia deck is a very labor intensive undertaking, and may require the use of specialized equipment. A good general contractor, experienced with decking repair, has all of the supplies, tools, and knowhow to get the job done quickly and easily. For many home owners, the cost is well worth the time and effort saved.