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Maintaining a Deck: Everything You Need to Know [2022]

Maintaining a Deck: Everything You Need to Know [2022]

Maintaining a Deck

Having a deck can significantly increase the aesthetic value of your home. However, it can wear down over time due to numerous causes like weather, dirt, etc. A little care and maintenance can ensure your deck is appealing and durable for the years to come. Here’s what you must know about maintaining a deck. 

Regular Inspection of Decks

One of the key steps to good deck maintenance is regular inspection. Ensure a thorough look at your deck at regular intervals and ensure that it is structurally sound. Put weight against the railings to ensure tight connections. 

Replacement of Damaged Deck Boards

If any of your deck boards are damaged, it is vital to get them changed. A weak or worn-out board can compromise the integrity of the whole structure. If multiple boards need replacement, consider replacing them all as it will ensure the deck’s strength while also making it look uniform.

Cleaning a Deck

Deck cleaning is a part of good deck maintenance. Consider a deep cleaning session once a year when the temperature is mild, preferably in the spring. Putty knives and bristle brushes can come in handy to remove stains and debris from hard-to-reach areas. While pressure washing is an excellent option, it’s essential to be cautious as high pressure can damage your deck, especially if it is a composite one.

Staining or sealing a deck

A sealant or stain is an excellent option to protect your deck from external elements. You can conduct a water drop test – drop a few drops of water and check if your deck boards are absorbing the same. If yes, opting for a stain or seal is crucial. If it does not absorb the water droplets, you can opt for a simple cleaning session. 

Sanding a Deck

If your deck is devoid of a protective coat of sealant or stain, ensure to sand your deck boards thoroughly. This allows your structure to absorb the sealant coating better. The sanding procedure also gives a smoother finish to your deck, and it is less likely to have splinters. 

Deck Maintenance Tips

  • If you have furniture or other items on your deck, its important to move them around periodically. This prevents mismatched colors on the deck due to sun exposure and water accumulation beneath them. 
  • Avoid placing rugs and mats made of natural materials as they can trap moisture. Instead, opt for synthetic ones specifically made for the outdoors.
  • Ensure trees and bushes are at least 10-12 inches away from the deck to prevent moss and mold.
  • Consider using a waterproofing solution with a sprayer to extend the longevity of your deck. 

Deck Maintenance Tips for Every Season

Each season calls for different methods for deck maintenance. We’ve stated the best practices for deck maintenance season-wise to ensure you have an excellent-looking and durable deck all year long!

Winter

In areas with heavy snowfall it is important to keep your deck clear of snow as regularly as possible.  

  • If there is mild to moderate snowfall, you can brush it away with a broom; however, less severe snow generally doesn’t affect well-built decks. 
  • If there is heavy snowfall, use a shovel made of plastic but without metal edges. The cleaning motion should be parallel to the board placement to minimize the risk of damage. 
  • If there is ice on the deck, go for the calcium/magnesium ‘safety melt’ blend instead of the infamous salt treatment.

Spring 

As winter subsides and the snow melts, a lot of molds, debris, and mildew accumulates in between the deck boards. It is essential to follow these steps to get the shine back on the deck during spring. 

  • Use a plastic putty or a scraper to take out mold and dirt from in between the boards. This will minimize the risk of scratches.
  • Clean the deck with special deck brushes and sweep it to get rid of dirt or debris. 
  • Apply a deck cleaner thoroughly and spray it with a powerful washer at an angle to avoid cracks on your deck. 
  • Dry it for about 48 hours and sand your deck. Then use a toner to give it the much-needed shine. 

Summer

Summer is excellent for deck inspection. Take a thorough look and ensure you beat any issues before they start. 

  • Check your deck for any rotting. Homeowners can treat minor cases with preservatives. However, consider reaching out to a professional if you notice major rotting.
  • Check for rust at the ledger – the deck section where it’s connected with the house. Rusting in such areas is one of the prime causes of a deck collapse.
  • Keep an eye on joists, screws, beams, and posts as they are prone to rust. Cracks or rusting at the conjunctions can compromise structural integrity. 
  • Ensure the railing is strong and is devoid of any exposed screws or nails.

Fall

There’s not much that can be done during winters. Hence, Fall is the best time to clear up any debris before the winter jams it all up.

  • Trim plants and bushes and ensure they are at least a foot or two away from the deck. Doing so also prevents mold, rot, and mildew. 
  • Get rid of fallen leaves, branches, etc., to ensure they do not get jammed during the winters. 
  • Check downspouts and drains to ensure your deck is not exposed to unnecessary moisture.