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Wood decking in your garden can add beauty to your VIRGIN ISLANDS REAL ESTATE, but only if it is well-maintained from year to year. In the case that your deck is showing signs of weather and wear, some simple maintenance together with a new coat of stain or sealer can make it look new again. The job is one that can be easily carried out over a weekend or 2 of DIY.

Before you start, remove everything from your decking. You will need to sweep the entire area to eliminate any leaves, twigs, needles or branches, plus debris that is lodged between boards. Clean the deck well with decking detergent (available at most home centers and hardware stores) and follow manufacturer instructions on best use. Ensure the cleaner you are going to use is ok for that type of deck. A stiff bristle broom will be helpful when eliminating mildew stains, ingrained dirt and grime.

When the deck is clean and dry, examine the state of the wood. Are there any boards that are loose, raised or have splinters? If there are they must be fixed. Does the wood look worn? A little sanding will help to revive the wood and raise the grain for better stain absorption.

Tools and materials

*Stain/sealer

*Rubber gloves

*Paintbrush

*Roller with extension pole

*Goggles

*Rags and drop cloth

Directions

1. Choose a weekend when the forecast is for dry weather, and if possible, try to avoid staining in sunlight. (Always test the stain on a small area and let it dry to ensure the color is the one you wanted.)

2. Use a bristle brush and start by heavily coating the open-end grain of the boards. Then brush two to three boards from one end to the other in long, smooth strokes. To avoid lap marks, ensure the edges stay wet so that wet stain is brushed into wet stain.

3. Apply one coat of stain and wait for it to dry. Remember more stain is not always better. In the event you over-apply, stain may peel or crack when unprotected against moisture, or may possibly not dry properly. allow the stain dry for 2 days before using the deck again and before you return your garden furniture.

Seasonal maintenance will help to keep the wood deck in peak condition. As a general rule, if you see that the deck is repelling water, the existing stain is still doing its job.