Maintaining one’s wood deck is important for it to look its best and to last the longest. Yearly maintenance is optimal. By following these helpful tips, you can ensure your wood deck continues to look fresh and new all year long.
Decks are ultimately one of the most popular and well-loved parts of a home. The practicality of a deck can plummet if it isn’t properly maintained. When you neglect your deck, you will face many consequences that could have been saved with a little regular maintenance. According to the North American Deck and Railing Association, there are about 40 million decks in the United States that are at least 20 years old or more. Maintenance for older decks is important as they are more likely to be structurally compromised, leading to costly repairs and damages to the home.
Regardless if your deck is only a few years old or older, it is still a good lesson to learn before anything bad should occur because of neglect. Here are some of our best tips for maintaining your deck throughout the year.
When the weather is dry and warm, it’s a good time to closely inspect your wood deck’s structure. Pay close attention to areas within 6 inches of the ground or that are close to sources of water such as planters. Look for signs of rot. Do this with a flat-blade screwdriver. Check stairs and each perimeter post. If you can push your screwdriver a quarter-inch or more into an area, you most likely have rot. Areas of rot that are bigger than a silver dollar should be removed with a chisel and the hole itself should be treated with wood preservative. A professional carpenter can give you an estimate for repairs.
Next, inspect the ledger, the important piece of framing that attaches the deck to the house itself. A damaged ledger could leave to collapse. Make sure the ledger is attached with lag screws and not just nails. Also, check joists, beams and posts. If anything looks seriously rusted, look to replace them. Look for rotten deck boards or cracks, which are structural threats. Lastly, check the railing to ensure that it isn’t damaged or loose.
This is the time of preventative measures for your wood deck. This is also a great time to both wash and seal a deck. The point is to do this when temperatures are still mild, but not too hot. Trim any nearby trees or bushes so that they are at least a foot from the deck to keep moos, rot and mold growth at a minimum. Don’t let debris pile up in corners either. Move all planters and tables occasionally in order to prevent discolorations on the wood deck. Keep all downspouts and gutters in good working order around the deck.
Wash your deck thoroughly as an unwashed one invites both mildew and mold as well as rot. Remove all debris from between deck boards. Next, protect all landscaping items with plastic sheets. Sweep the deck thoroughly. Use a standard deck clean to clean the deck on a cool, cloudy day. Use a stiff-bristle brush broom or paint roller to apply the cleaner evenly. Don’t let the deck dry until you’ve scrubbed it clean thoroughly. Let it soak, scrub it and rinse it with cool water.
To clean your wood railing, apply the cleanser from the bottom up, scrub and rinse. Wait two days before sealing the deck.
Seal the deck at this time. Choose a two day period of time where there are clear skies and moderate temperatures. Lightly sand your wood deck with 80-grit sandpaper. Replace any missing screws or nails at this time. Use a roller to apply the sealer to your wood deck. Don’t let the sealant dry or puddle. Two thin coats is a better than one single thick coat.