Taking care of your deck throughout the year will protect your investment, boost your enjoyment of your outdoor living space as well as avoid any unnecessary repairs. Because a deck is a good investment returning about 87% of its original cost, according to Remodeling Magazine, it is a good idea to create a routine for maintenance to follow throughout the year.
During this time period, wash the deck thoroughly. An unwashed desk introduces mold and mildew, which can cause rot overtime. First, remove debris between the deck boards with a putty knife. Pay close attention to the area where deck boards cross the joists itself. Next, protect any plants or shrubs around the area with plastic sheeting. Thoroughly sweep the deck next.
Before you wash the deck, choose the appropriate cleanser for your type of deck. Use a standard deck cleaner for a wood deck. Some require that the deck is wet first. For composite decks, use a cleaner that is formulated for composite material. Use a commercial degreaser to get rid of any oil stains or grease marks from a grill. For vinyl decks, use warm water and mild soap. Use a stiff-bristle brush broom or paint roller to apply cleaner. Don’t let the deck dry until you’ve scrubbed it clean. Let it soak according to the instructions and rinse it with clean water.
For a large deck, rent a power washer that delivers up to 1,200 psi of pressure to rinse the deck. This machine should have a nozzle with an arc of 25-40 degrees. Use safety googles and hold the nozzles about 6 inches above the surface of the deck. Spray slowly in line with the wood grain.
After allowing two days for the deck to dry, seal the deck. Various stains and sealers are available to cover approximately 250 square feet of decking. Choose between a clear sealer that lets the wood’s grain and color shine through, a toner that adds a touch of color, a semi-transparent stain that tints the wood and/or a solid stain that seals weathering damage and covers the grain. Before applying the sealer or stain, lightly sand the deck.
During this time of year, look for signs of rot. Check the stairs and at each perimeter post. Areas of rot can be removed with a chisel. Inspect the ledger with a flashlight. This is especially important to prevent the deck from collapsing in the future. Check all boards, posts, beams and joists for rust or rot. Next, check the railing for any damaged or loose connections or screwed. Look for any cracks. To fix any problems, remove fasteners and seal the cracks with exterior-grade adhesive. Drill a new pilot hole and add a new deck screw.
This is the best time of year to keep the deck in good shape. Trim any bushes or tree to be at least 12 inches from the deck to help slow moss, rot or mold. Don’t allow leaves or debris to pile in corners. Move any furniture or planters to avoid discoloration on the deck boards.