Decks make great gathering spots and add beauty and value to your home, but they can quickly deteriorate without proper care and regular maintenance. Make sure that your deck is ready for many more summers of entertaining, dining, and relaxing by taking the time now to perform maintenance and repairs to protect your investment.
Regular Sweeping and Debris Removal
Regular sweeping will prevent dirt, leaves, pollen, tree seeds, and other debris from collecting in your deck’s floor board gaps. When debris accumulates in these gaps, it holds moisture and accelerates rot. Remove any accumulation of debris between your deck’s boards with a putty knife, paying special attention to the areas where deck boards cross the joists underneath the decking.
Summer Scrub Down
A dirty deck is not only unsightly, the accumulated dirt and debris can build up and wear down your deck’s materials over time. Scrub your deck with a simple soap, water, and a stiff brush before rinsing with a hose (pressure washers can tear wood fibers, resulting in a course, fuzzy surface). If your deck is stained or spotted with mold or algae, it may require some scrubbing with a commercial hardwood deck cleaner (never use chlorine bleach) that has a mildew killer, borate, or oxalic acid as an active ingredient. Choose a cloudy day when the decking is cool and the sun won’t evaporate the cleaner to perform this task.
Sanding and Staining
Without proper and regular sealing, dirt, grime, and moisture will penetrate the pores of your hardwood. Your deck’s wood type, direction it deck faces, sun intensity, and your local climate are all factors that will determine the length of time between stainings and sealings. An easy way to determine if your deck is or is not ready to accept a stain is by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. If the water stays beaded on the surface, your deck is not ready to accept a stain, but if the water soaks into the wood within a few seconds, then the stain will also soak in.
Repairs and Replacements
A split or rotted board on your deck not only looks bad but it can result in injury. Perform a thorough check under your deck and between the boards for any split or rotted boards as well as loose nails. Perform any necessary repairs and replacements as soon as possible to prevent further damage.