Porch Deck Life

Written by on September 19, 2020 in Articles, Common Issues with 0 Comments

Every deck has its own unique exposures based on how much sun, shade and weather they face. One common design feature on many homes is the porch deck…a deck with a roof over it, sometimes screened and sometimes not.

Our staff recently completed a brand new ipe deck in this style. This porch deck is a high traffic transition between the inside of the home and a pretty spectacular outdoor living scene, including a swimming pool and grill area. For a young family of four, this will be a very busy living space.

The deck had been installed about a month prior to our treatment, meaning that the ipe had already seen some weather exposure – including a full southwest sun exposure. Prevailing winds in the area are typical out of the south, so most rain blows into the deck. And, there is also a roof line above to drop all watershed off the house onto the perimeter steps.

Deck with wet oil…

We prepped the deck by sanding at 80 grit and finishing at 120. Then, applied a liberal coat of Sherwin Williams Super Deck Exotic Hardwood Oil, which is a transparent natural toned penetrating stain. While being transparent, this product contains enough subtle pigment to bring out the inherent tones in the wood and provide some UV protection.

3 Levels of Exposure

This deck will be treated one more time before winter. However, the next round and the future maintenance coats will be done with a careful eye on how we know the deck will weather. Sometimes one deck can have 2-3 different maintenance needs within itself.

We observed that the inner third of the deck (near the house) is never hit by the sun. The outer two thirds of the deck body see a ton of sun, and will get hit by blown in rain and snow. And the perimeter steps are going to have the most difficult life of all the ipe in this design.

Deck at almost 24 hours dry time.

So, maintenance will be done with that in mind. We will let the freshly oiled ipe weather for 4-6 weeks and then check the patterns of fading, which we expect to follow the pattern described above. The steps will fade quickly, the body of the deck will fade and weather into the shadow line created at the inner third.

Therefore, we will always make sure that the exposed steps get the most oil. They will be dry and thirsty. And we will gradually decrease the amount of oil applied moving from the perimeter of the deck in toward the house. Importantly, the inner third will probably need no oil at all for several months. It is a game of knowing where and how much to apply.

Studying and understanding your deck’s weather exposure is the best way to plan it’s maintenance going forward. We will update and show the weathering pattern on this one when we do the first maintenance oiling.

About the Author

About the Author: Scott Burt is a wood finishing expert. IPE decks are one of the areas of expertise in which he is frequently published in paint and remodeling magazines. He also engages in clinics and speaking appearances on the topic. Ipehelp.com is where IPE owners and installers can engage with Scott. .

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