As we close out the summer, I realize that if this summer was to have a theme for me it would be "the summer of the deck."
We had an ipe deck built for our 10th wedding anniversary present to ourselves. That was 12 years ago. "You can just let it weather to a beautfiul gray" everyone will tell you. Maybe that works in places like Arizona, but the northwest hammers the horizontal surfaces with relatively warm rain all year round, which forms a volatile soup with the molds, spores, and pollens that fall from the sky and form great drifts on the deck. Yes it weathers to a nice gray. But that rapidly transitions to green as the slime takes hold. Not only is this aesthtically displeasing, but it is also a safety hazard as it becomes quite slippery when wet.
I've always shied away from the crushing burden of a disciplined deck maintenance program, giving the deck the occasional scrub and pressure wash to alleviate the safety issue. But then I thought if maybe I did just a little more work and was disciplined about it, maybe, just maybe, I could create a hostile work environment that defies the PNW mold/mildew/spore brigade. And it might look a lot nicer to boot.
After much study and research of everything on the internet, I decided to make a commitment to Penofin. Penofin for Hardwood, to be more specific. This is the begininng of a new long term relationship with this PENotrating Oil FINish. I know I am getting into a recurring cycle of maintenance to keep it up, with an initial application followed by a maintenance coat at 3 - 6 months, followed by an annual maintenance coat. That still sounds like less work than I was doing with the pressure washer though.
Overall the work has been worth it. This was a great summer for the deck, especially with the shade awning deployed and the optional sunset shade ready to roll down. We catch a nice breeze on the deck, and with the hot sunny summer we just had it was an oasis in which to read, listen to music, dine al fresco, enjoy a beer or a glass of rose, and we even hosted a big crab feed for a bunch of friends. Good times. On the deck.
So anyhoo, let's check out some photos documenting my journey with Penofin thus far!
Original deck surface, June 7 2015:
Note the green hue.
In the above photo, there are about 4 cleaned boards next to the filthy ones with the full winter's acculumation of growth.
After maybe half a dozen rounds of pressure wash, scrub, scrub more, scrub with different mixes of oxy clean, dish detergent, and specialized deck cleaning products, and a final round with a wood brightener, here we have the restored deck ready for its first encounter with Penofin.
And here we are June 24 with the full first coat complete, wiped down, and cured.
You can see the penetration is a bit uneven. They say ipe is more of a marketing label and not really a specific tree species, and here we see the varying boards taking up the finish differently.
Fast forward to September, the end of the summer, and here is what it looks like after a very cursory scrub down in preparation for the first maintenance coat.
Et voila! First maintenenace coat is on and the finish seems very even so far. We'll see how it looks in the morning.
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