Protect Your Deck with Preventative Maintenance
A well-maintained deck can provide many years of enjoyment for you, your friends and family. Birthday parties, backyard barbeques, and just good fun all take place outside on the deck.
Decks get a lot of foot traffic. They also receive exposure to the sun, rain, and snow which makes them more vulnerable to the elements. The sun fades and dries out the wood, causing cracking. Moisture can from rain and snow cause mold, mildew, and rotting. Creating a seasonal maintenance schedule can help keep your deck in tip-top shape so you don't have to replace the whole unit later down the line.
How to Keep Your Deck in Good Condition
Keeping your deck looking maintained season after season isn’t just about looks—it’s also about ensuring that it’s in good condition. So how do you keep your deck looking like new? Annual deck cleaning and maintenance will forestall repairs and protect your investment.
Clean and Wash Your Deck
An unwashed deck is an invitation to mold and mildew, which can cause rot. Have your deck professionally cleaned at least every 2 to 3 years to protect it against the rain and sun. If you choose to do it yourself, clean your deck at least once a year.
- Trim nearby bushes and trees to help prevent mold, moss, and rot.
- Move planters, chairs, and tables occasionally to avoid discoloration on your deck.
- Thoroughly sweep the deck and remove leaves, pine needles, and other debris between deck boards.
- Clean the deck. Your choice of cleanser depends on the material of the deck. For a wood deck, a standard cleaner is fine. A composite deck will require a cleaner specifically designed for composite materials. Vinyl decks only require warm water and mild soap to remove dirt and mildew.
- If your barbeque grill is on your deck, clean up any grease stains immediately. Using a grease catcher is helpful.
- Always wash your deck in spring or fall. A cloudy day is best when temperatures are mild. You do not want the cleaner to evaporate.
Temperatures should be mild when applying sealer your deck. Be sure to wear gloves, a mask, and eye protection when applying sealers and stains. Keeping your deck is sealed protects it against moisture from rain and dew, which causes the wood to swell. Sealer also protects it against the sun, which can shrink, fade and dry the wood.
- Lightly sand the deck. Using a pole sander.
- Replace any missing nails and screws.
- Apply the sealer or stain. Use a roller to apply the sealer to the decking, covering three or four boards at a time. Use brushes and small rollers for railings, planters, and benches. Two thin coats should get the job done.
Inspect and Repair
When the weather is warm and dry, it’s a good time to give your deck an inspection. Pay attention to any areas close to the ground and any sources of water, such as downspouts and planters.
- Look for signs of rot. Check the stairs and each perimeter post. If you can push a screwdriver a quarter-inch into an area, chances are you probably have rotting wood.
- Inspect the ledger. Underneath your deck, pay attention to the ledger. The ledger is the piece of framing that attaches the deck to the house. A damaged ledger is the cause of 90% of all deck collapses. The metal cap that covers the top of the ledger should be free of rust and holes.
- Check all the hardware underneath; replace any that are badly rusted.
- Check for cracks or rotten decking boards. If you find damage, replace the piece.
- Check the railing. Give it a good shake to be sure posts are not loose or damaged. Look for cracks that may develop around nails or screws.
- Make repairs as soon as possible.
Prepare for Winter
To prevent moisture from accumulating during the winter months:
- Remove all furniture, planters and barbeque pits from your deck.
- Check for fallen leaves between deck boards as they can inhibit water drainage.
- When there’s snowfall, shovel the snow off your deck as soon as possible. Snow build-up can cause warping and water damage. Use a plastic shovel to cause less damage to the deck’s surface.
- Avoid chemicals and salt to remove ice. This can also damage the deck’s surface and affect the sealant.
Enjoy Your Deck
Let Battle Born Painting extend the life of your deck. Contact our team of experienced painters today and let us protect your investment.