A well-maintained deck adds beauty, enjoyment, and value to a home or business. Unfortunately, a deck in poor condition, in need of repair or cleaning can be a distracting eyesore. Moreover, left unaddressed, many deck issues can become worse over time. Experts recommend completing deck maintenance tasks at least twice a year, preferably in the Spring and Fall. Here are eight deck maintenance tips to keep your deck looking great.
Conduct an Inspection
Inspect the deck’s surface and structure. Check for any issues such as loose boards, paint bubbles or chips, faded spots, loose nails, nails sticking up, screws, fasteners, large splinters, grease spots, mildew, mold, and rot. Also, make sure to check under the deck and between planks using a high-power flashlight. Write down all issues and make an action plan to address each issue.
Staining and Sealing
Since sun and moisture are the biggest threat to decks, experts recommend applying a new stain and sealant every two to three years. This will help extend the life of your deck. Moisture (rain, snow, dew) can cause a deck to swell, while the sun can cause shrinkage. Here is an easy way to test if it’s time to stain/seal. Spray water on your deck or wait for a rainy day. If you don’t see the water beading up, it means it’s time to reseal and/or stain.
With proper application, power washing offers the most effective way to clean a deck. Without proper use, a power washer can easily cause damage, so when in doubt it’s best to hire a professional. Make sure to clean between the planks and other hard to get at areas. The type of cleaning solution used will depend upon the type of deck, condition and if sealing or staining is to follow.
Sanding and Refinishing
Some wood decks may need to be refinished, which often requires general sanding or spot sanding. It is important to consult with professionals before taking such action. For example, sandpaper should never be used on a composite deck unless otherwise noted by the manufacturer.
Over time, wood decks will lose color over time and with accumulated damage. Fortunately, many wood cleaners and wood brighteners can help restore some color. Experts recommend sealing the deck after cleaning and/or brightening the wood. If all these steps don’t address the appearance it may be time to consider a deck restoration project.
Dealing with Rot
Rot means a deck’s wood is falling apart. It’s also one of the most severe consequences of an unprotected wood deck. An unsightly condition, rot indicates serious structural problems caused by water damage. Addressing the rot will require a professional inspection, repair, and refinishing. Also, if rot is spotted despite having a good seal, it’s important to find out what is causing the problem. Some homeowners discover a clogged gutter issue that is draining water onto their deck. Of course, this issue will also need to be addressed.
While major deck maintenance tasks can be done annually or bi-annually, it’s important to regularly sweep your deck to prevent damage caused by dirt and debris. Also, it is ideal to shovel off the snow as soon as possible. Replace rotted boards and tighten loss boards as needed. This will save time and effort down the road. Finally, if you do not have the time or expertise, it is better to higher deck professionals than forgo maintenance or risk costly mistakes.
About Deck Doc
With over 20 years of experience, Deck Doc provides top-quality deck cleaning, sealing, staining, restoration, and maintenance services for residential and commercial customers throughout Chicagoland. Call 847-979-9299 to schedule your free, no-obligation estimate.