Aggravation & Frustration Weather Or Not

Curt-lineby Curt Kovener

Not much of one to make New Year’s Resolutions, but early on I had decided that this would be the summer I would clean and re-coat the back deck at the wilderness retreat.
It is a 14’x40’ elevated wood structure that overlooks a tree filled valley and creek. It is a place of summer grilling, nature solitude, contemplation, and conversation… frequently over adult beverages. Over the years I had cleaned and re-coated with a semi transparent stain only to have to repeat the process every few years.
Those four-letter words—work and life—got in the way of my routine maintenance plan and the deck went lacking and was overdue for some care.
I started in May…and it is mid-July and it still isn’t done thanks to the weather.
Being shaded much of the day by yellow poplar, maple, oak, and cherry trees, the deck got its share of tree sap, pollen, tree blooms and seeds, and the accompanying mildew over time. To clean the nearly black wood, I acquired a solid surface cleaning attachment for the power washer. The enclosed circular spinning wand has a pair of nozzles which did a quick job of cleaning the deck down to the bare wood without the usual fuzzing or raising the grain.
I highly recommend this tool to anyone who needs to clean wood or concrete surfaces.
After cleaning I found a number of the boards were split and that a larger number of the fastening screws were above the surface. So I spent a couple of days on a small stool and my cordless drill tightening screws, replacing those that broke. And there was a lot of breakage owing to the years of neglect.
Reading the solid stain instructions, I was instructed that this product is thicker than other stains and contains a sand like substance that helps fill cracks and holes as well as help eliminates a slippery walking surface. Not slipping in my advancing years, is a good thing, I believe.
Advice from experienced painters encouraged me to be sure the deck was totally dry from moisture before beginning the coating lest my efforts not adhere to the wood.
Those experienced told me two days without rain, then let the morning dew evaporate before coating the deck making sure after I was finished there was another 12 hours of drying time without the threat of rain.
Also, I factored in an aging back and knees
By my reckoning that would be four days in a row without rain in the forecast. And that, dear reader, is the rub. We haven’t had a forecast of four days in a row without rain up here in the wilderness.
Well…yes we did and it was during the Red, White & Blue Festival which otherwise occupied my activity and attention.
In late June & July the deck would dry and I would plan on starting the next morning only to be awakened to the sounds of thunder and yet another delay.
So I have tried to complete my task in bits and pieces. Since June I have managed to fill cracks and screw holes in the little time between precipitations in preparation for the eventual first coat of deck stain.
It does make for a peculiar looking deck right now—sort of a combination of polka-dot and stripes of new deck coating and bare wood— but so far now one in complaining or making fun of how it looks.
Perhaps a temporary tarp made into a roof may eventually need be implemented in order to get & keep the deck dry enough for a fresh surface.
I said I planned on re-coating the deck this summer. I just didn’t think it was going to take all summer.