WINCHESTER, Va., May 19 /PRNewswire/ -- As warm weather approaches, the thoughts of the nearly 40 million Americans who own decks turn to enjoyable days and evenings spent entertaining family and friends or just relaxing on their outdoor havens. However -- no matter what kind of deck you own -- it's important to examine its condition and conduct any necessary upkeep before you break out the patio furniture and grill. "Just like the other outdoor surfaces of your home, a deck needs to be cleaned and protected prior to summer use -- especially after the beating it can take from rough weather during the winter months," said Scott Fedor, senior product manager of decking at Trex, the country's largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking, railing and fencing products. "There are certain maintenance issues that should be addressed on a bi-annual basis in order to keep your deck looking beautiful and welcoming." Fedor offers the following solutions for tackling the top five most common deck dilemmas: Deck Dilemma #1: Loose nails that are exposed above the deck's surface create hazards, especially for children and pets. In fact, nearly 10 percent of Americans believe that their decks are unsafe because of exposed nails. Solution: If you own a wood deck, inspect the boards to find any protruding nail heads. Hammer them down, or replace them with galvanized screws that are approximately 1/2-inch longer than the original nails. For a smooth deck surface that is completely free of any type of nails or fasteners, consider a wood-alternative material like Trex Brasilia(R) with its proprietary Hideaway(TM) Hidden Fastening System for the ultimate in worry-free outdoor relaxation. Deck Dilemma #2: Scuffs and abrasions from furniture or foot traffic can mar the beauty of a deck's surface. Consequently, it's no wonder that half of all Americans are not satisfied with the appearance of their decks. Solution: To keep wood decks looking pristine, it's important to wash, stain and seal them in advance of the arrival of warm weather -- as the process can take several days and may require the use of heavy equipment like a power washer. With a wood-alternative deck, scuffs and abrasions should naturally fade or disappear during the weathering process. Deck Dilemma #3: BBQ sauce is delicious, but not when it's coating your deck. In fact, oil and grease stains can be downright unappetizing -- especially if they're set-in from last summer. Solution: Whether you have a wood or a wood-alternative deck, try scrubbing stains with a household de-greasing agent (ideally as soon as it occurs). For set in stains, try an automotive degreaser or a carburetor cleaner and rinse immediately with hot water. Deck Dilemma #4: Mold and mildew are enemies of any exterior surface -- especially shady decks exposed to pollen or other organic debris and moisture. Problem areas typically are where water stands for periods of time or where puddles form under potted plants. Solution: Sweeping away pools of water and periodically cleaning the deck surface creates a first line of defense against mold and mildew (http://www.trex.com). These actions prevent the creation of an environment that nurtures the growth of fungus. Use conventional deck washes or cleaners that contain sodium hypochlorite (bleach) and detergent. In addition, wood decks should be sealed every other year to protect against other types of moisture damage, such as rotting planks -- a problem that 44 percent of Americans feel makes their decks unsafe for kids and pets. Deck Dilemma #5: Summer fun should be ouch-free, but that's not possible if your deck is plagued with splintering boards -- which could leave barefoot outdoor revelers with painful splinters of their own. Solution: The amount of time and effort required to fix splintering boards on a wood deck depends on the extent of the damage. Lightly splintered boards may be salvaged through sanding, while severely splintered planks will continue to deteriorate and most likely will need to be replaced. For a splinter-free deck, choose a highly durable wood alternative material that offers the natural beauty of wood, but leaves behind all the rotting and splintering. "While wood-alternative decks require significantly less maintenance than decks made of other materials, it's still important to properly and regularly clean the surface in order to ensure a 'like new' appearance for longer," said Fedor. "With summer right around the corner, the most important rule of thumb is not to procrastinate and to tackle any problem areas right away." For more information on how to clean and care for a wood-alternative deck, visit http://www.trex.com. About Trex Company Trex Company is the nation's largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking, railing and fencing, with more than 15 years of product experience. Products are marketed under the brand name Trex(R). Made from a unique formulation of reclaimed wood and plastic, combined through a proprietary process, Trex decking, railing and fencing offer significant design flexibility with fewer ongoing maintenance requirements than wood. For more information, visit the Company's Web site, http://www.trex.com. Trex(R), Trex Brasilia(R) and the Trex Hideaway(TM) Hidden Fastening System are trademarks of Trex Company, Inc., Winchester, Va.
* All statistics are results found in the Trex 2007 "All Hands on Deck Survey." Results are based on responses of 1,000 adults in the U.S. who participated in a national phone survey December 2007. Results are accurate to +/- 5 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level and can be generalized to the entire adult population in the U.S. within those statistical parameters.
SOURCE Trex Company