Even though our decks are outdoor spaces designed to endure the elements, taking care of them can help extend their lifespan. Routine maintenance can also ensure that your deck is safe and beautiful for your family and guests. Wondering what basic deck maintenance entails? These helpful tips will get you started on taking care of your outdoor space.
The Basics of Deck Maintenance
From inspection to sealing, these are the items to include on your deck care list.
Check Your Deck
An annual inspection of your deck is a great place to start. Looking over your deck once a year will help you spot any areas that need maintenance or those that might be damaged. Things to look out for include rot, protruding screws or nails, and lose boards. Check especially after extreme hot or cold seasons where your deck can take a lot of damage. If you do notice something amiss, either fix the issue yourself or contact a professional for help.
Give It a Thorough Cleaning
Just because it rains regularly on your deck doesn't mean it's clean. After your annual inspection, it's time for your deck's yearly cleaning. How you clean your deck will depend on what type of material it is made of. Start by sweeping off any debris with a broom. Cleaning with a solution that clears bacteria, mold, and mildew is an excellent way to prevent rot and damage on wood decks. Your cleaning solution can be scrubbed onto the deck with a broom or applied to your deck's surface with a pressure washer.
Either way, be sure you're not too aggressive so as to avoid damaging the deck materials. Also, you may want to steer clear of certain cleaners that contain chlorine bleach, especially wood. These types of cleaners can alter the color and beauty of your deck.
Consider If You Need to Stain
If your deck is wood, it was likely stained when it was first installed. Reapplying stain as needed can help return your deck's color and aesthetic. Colorful and vivid stains will show damage more quickly and can be prone to fading. Lightly tinted or clear stains can help the natural beauty of your wood shine through.
Regardless of the stain color, select a solution that will soak into the wood rather than sit on top of the planks. The best stains have qualities that protect them against the elements. In most cases, they are waterproof instead of water resistant, UV resistant, and may even contain mildewcide.
Seal Your Deck
Sealing your deck helps to preserve the appearance of the stain while protecting against the elements. Sealing out moisture to keep wood rot away can be done with a sealant. First, you'll want to remove any objects like plants or patio furniture. If items cannot be removed, make sure to protect them with a tarp.
Next, use a roller, sprayer, or brush to apply the sealant evenly, starting with a thin coat and reapplying if necessary. Go back with a brush to apply a sealant to tight corners and cracks that may have been missed.
Annual inspection and maintenance will help keep your deck safe and beautiful season after season. Now you can spend more time decorating.