Decked Out

Make the most of summertime weather with a well-maintained deck.

One of our favorite summertime activities: Sipping an ice-cold lemonade from the great outdoors — a civilized plein-air extension of our home. The deck.

Decks and pavers, however, withstand constant exposure to the elements, in addition to wear and tear, so knowledgeable care is important to keep them healthy and looking good. Mike Bonadeo, Jr., had been working for the family-owned OPW Decks (opwrestoration.com) for 15 years before purchasing the company in 2018. Bringing on his father, brother, brother-in-law and cousin, Bonadeo works daily to perpetuate the importance of family and quality. Successfully restoring more than four million-square-feet of wood, decks, homes, concrete and brick pavers, OPW Decks offers low pressure house cleaning, cement and concrete cleaning and more — at fair pricing, quality products and one-on-one service.

Here, Bonadeo tells his tips for keeping your deck healthy and maintained.

• Firstly, it’s crucial to seal and wash decks and pavers “to protect your investment,” Bonadeo says. “Unprotected wood will break down from the moisture and UV rays. Brick pavers need maintenance for weeds, moss and algae to prevent movement. Sealing protects them longer.” It’s time to restore when you see wear of stain, grayness, mold, mildew and algae.

• The best time of year to restore/pressure is when the temperature is between 55-90 degrees for washing and 60-80 degrees for staining. “Summer is good because it's warmer and the stain dries/cures quicker; late summer/fall isn't a bad time because the deck is ready to go for the next spring/summer, and you don't have to wait,” Bonadeo says.

• Clean your deck every one to two years; stain your deck every two to three years, depending on the age of wood, sun exposure, usage; clean your siding every five to 10 years or longer depending on sun exposure.

• -how do you choose a stain for a wood deck? is one choice better than others? “It’s very important to choose the correct stain for a wood deck,” Bonadeo says. “Oil-based stains and some water-based stains are ideal for Michigan weather. Solid stains and paint have their place, but the excessive moisture in this climate will make the finish peel. Not all stains are created equal. Oil-based stains penetrate into the wood without leaving a film, so there's no peeling and it wears off naturally.” Not all oil-based stains are the same, he adds — it’s important that a company is knowledgeable about products. “That’s half the battle,” Bonadeo says.

“I have clients with decks that are 20- to 30-years-old and are in great shape and look beautiful because they’ve been well-maintained,” Bonadeo says. General cleaning helps: blowing debris and light pressure washing. To save on long-term costs, “some clients will apply a maintenance coat to the horizontals (top of railings/flooring) one to two years after our full-deck staining to extend the life of our work,” he says. “The vertical surfaces hold stain much longer than the horizontal surfaces. You have to clean the wood properly and use the same stain — I’m always willing to teach my clients how to care for their decks themselves, when possible.” 

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