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The Deck Restoration Process: An Interview with Stu Thibodeau of Total Deck Care

By Stu Thibodeau

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

Total Deck Care was started over 17 years ago as a small family company with my sons. Since then, it has grown throughout New England and the Southeast, with over 100 crew members in the field and eight million dollars in sales per year. Our crews are well-trained in wood restoration of all types, and we have an excellent safety record. Our company trains our employees to be wood technicians, not painters.

What are some signs a deck needs maintenance, or to be repaired?

Some signs that a deck needs maintenance include cracks in boards, twisted or warped boards, and nails coming loose or popping out. These are signs that the boards are too dry and may need replacement. Also, when the wood starts to grey, this shows that the top fibers in the woods are dying as a result of weathering and sun damage.

What deck restoration materials do you prefer to use?

While we can apply a wide range of stains to suit the customer's preference, we prefer to use a true penetrating stain that soaks into the wood rather than forming a film on top of it. Using our penetrating stain guarantees that it will never peel or flake.

What is the process of restoring a deck?

The restoration process is different for each deck. Some only need to be cleaned to remove mold and dirt; others must be stripped to remove the old product. Choosing the correct cleaning or stripping agents and using the correct power-washing technique is crucial to prevent damage to the wood. After the deck is clean and dry, we sand the wood and re-nail any loose boards, checking any structural areas that need reinforcement. Finally, we apply the customer's stain of choice.

Do you have any handy tips for homeowners who might attempt this themselves?

My biggest tip is to protect your deck when it is new. Do not wait one year, as builders often recommend. Your deck can start being damaged in as little as three months. It is less expensive to take care of the wood from the beginning, rather than waiting until it is damaged and then restoring or replacing it.

Why do you suggest hiring a professional for this service?

As I mentioned above, each deck is different. We pride ourselves on the details that go into the correct preparation of the wood, something which most homeowners might overlook. The wood can easily be damaged by using the wrong chemicals or power washing methods. Additionally, many stains are the wrong choice, resulting in peeling and creating a maintenance problem. However, someone who is trained and certified in wood restoration will know how to treat and protect the wood without damaging it. It is worth the cost to have a beautiful deck that will last for years to come.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you?

People may request a free wood restoration estimate on our website, www.total-deck-care.com. You may also call our office at (919) 453-2740 or e-mail stutdc@aol.com.

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About The Author

Stewart Thibodeau, located in Wake Forest NC has been providing wood restoration...

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