A little care goes a long way when it comes to decks. On the other hand, not maintaining a deck can lead to repair and replacement long before its time.
You may want to take care of regular maintenance yourself or you may prefer the convenience and expertise of a professional. The most important choice is to do it and not procrastinate!
Here is a quick checklist for maintenance. Note these are directions for a wooden deck. If you invest in a composite deck, you will not need to stain or seal it.
Check it out. At least once a year, take a close look at your deck. If you see any loose boards, wood rotting, or protruding nails, it’s time to act now.
Keep it clean. Regularly clear off any debris, such as leaves. Clean the boards at least once a year when the outdoor temperature is moderately warm. Use an appropriate cleaning solution for your deck boards to eliminate mold and stains. Be careful in using power washers set too high, which can damage the wood fiber. Also, avoid cleaners with bleach, which might hurt your boards’ coloring.
Stain it. If you have a wooden deck, you’ll need to re-stain your boards from time to time to keep your deck looking new. Be sure to buy a waterproof stain (not just water-resistant) that offers some ultraviolet (UV) protection to prevent fading. Before you begin staining, be sure there isn’t rain in the forecast for at least two days.
Seal it. Sealant should cause rain to bead up on your deck boards, much like on a waxed car hood. To test whether to seal your deck or wait, sprinkle a few drops of water on the boards and see if it seeps into the wood. If it beads up, you have more time. Sealing helps prevent moisture from damaging your wooden deck boards. Apply a sealant with a paintbrush, a paint roller, or a sprayer. It’s best to start with a thin coat and apply more as needed. Be sure to cover any nearby shrubbery or grass, so they are not damaged by the sealant.
Taking care of a deck is more time-consuming than skill intensive. If you’re not interested in frequent staining and sealing, consider composite decking. The goal for composite or wood is many years of enjoyment