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Sunscreen For Your Deck?

The first day of summer falls on Sunday, June 21 this year. For Southern Californian residents, that means the season for even more intense rays of sunshine. Summer is one of the best times of year to enjoy the sunshine outdoors from your deck or patio. But just like you have to be careful to protect your skin in the sun to avoid harmful sun damage, your deck can also be susceptible to sun damage from ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Decks made of wood that are left unprotected can suffer from sun-related damage. And unfortunately, it’s not just your wooden deck or patio that can be victim of the sun’s warming rays. Fences, play structures, tree houses and a number of other wooden structures on your property can be affected by overexposure to the sun.

In particular though, decks can show the greatest signs of exposure, the quickest due to the horizontal positioning of the wood. Decks can get up to 50 percent more sun exposure than other, vertical wooden structures.

Signs of Sun Exposure
The most visible damage to decks from the sun is a graying look, which, depending on the type of wood and the length of exposure can happen more or less rapidly. Decks made of cedar and redwood can experience signs of graying within as little as a month, while other woods may take up to a year or two to see the degradation of the fibers. Luckily, deck repair can happen fairly easily by removing the top layer of damaged wood fibers and revealing the healthy fibers underneath. 

Deck Repair
If your deck is suffering from graying and you want to spruce it up in time for the summer season, one of the best ways is to use a pressure washer. Using a high-pressure stream of water allows the top, damaged layer of wood fiber to wash away and give way to the more healthy layers. Don’t make the mistake of trying to stain a graying deck without first removing the gray layer otherwise it won’t work. Sanding off the top layer with a sander or pressure washing the top layer is your best bet.

Prevention
If you have a newer deck that hasn’t yet been affected by sun damage and you want to keep it that way, be sure to invest in a good wood stain that will not only protect it from sun damage but water damage as well. Leaving a new deck unstained for even as little as six months can lead to damage that will take time and money to restore.  Additional options to protect your deck during the summer months include installing a sunshade. Contact your local Orange County handyman for help with any and all of your upcoming summer projects.

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