Great Tips for Maintaining Your Deck
Now that Spring is here and Summer is fast approaching, if you’re like me, you’re looking forward to spending nice evenings, barbecuing and relaxing in your outdoor living space… your deck.
But after a few months of summer foot traffic and a few more of winter weather, your deck is probably ready for some maintenance, so it can not only be ready for you to enjoy, but so it will last as long as possible.
Depending on where you live, your deck is exposed to different harsh elements that wear it down and break it down. Some of the weathering that may need your attention is:
- Green mold and mildew that is slippery, unsightly and hard on the wood
- If you have stained your deck, it may be turning gray or fading
- If you have painted your deck, the paint could be chipping off (which brings up another topic, should you paint or stain your deck?)
- Splitting wood
- Black stains from debris that has laid on your deck for several months
- Water stains
To keep your deck in good shape:
Throughout the year, it’s important to keep your deck swept off as much as possible. But at least once a year, preferably twice, give your deck a little TLC:
- First things first, Wash it – Begin by applying a deck cleaning solution, then use a pressure washer to clean it off along with any embedded dirt. Avoid using the high pressure settings which can damage the wood or ruin the finish.
- Check for nails that have popped up, and tap them back down. If a nail needs to be replaced, the best way to replace it is with a screw that is longer than the nail being replaced.
- Check for cracked or rotted boards that need to be replaced.
- Check the railing by giving it a good shake to be sure it is solid and not loose or damaged. Also look for cracks where screws or nails have been used as fasteners. If cracks are found, remove the fastener. Seal the hole and the crack with adhesive, drill a new pilot hole and insert a new screw.
- If you have built in benches or tables, check the same as the railings.
- Keep bushes and trees trimmed to about 12 inches from the deck which will help prevent mold, mildew and moss from growing and causing wood rot.
- Check the underside of the deck, the frame, joists, beams and ledger for signs of wood rot. If you suspect a problem, it’s probably a good time to call in a professional carpenter.
How to prepare your deck if it needs to be refinished:
Choose a time when the weather is supposed to be dry (not necessarily hot) for at least 2-3 days. Follow steps 1-5 & 7 under maintenance, letting your deck dry thoroughly after washing it. Then it’s time to make the selection of the type of product you want to use. If the wood on your deck looks good and is still in good condition, you may want to consider simply sealing it with a clear or semi-transparent stain (this is usually done when the deck is still new). But if your deck is older and the wood not so attractive a semi-solid or solid color stain might be your best option. If you’re considering painting your deck, please read about the pros and cons of painting in the link above.
Maintaining your deck is key to it’s long life and your safety…watch this brief video that shows what can happen when your deck is not maintained properly.
Contact us or give us a call for a free estimate for all your painting needs – (425) 888-3634