Okay, I know we ended the Deck primer last week, but we have one last thing about decks: How to maintain them! After all the work we just put in to making it spotless and beautiful, you need to make sure it stays shiny! Proper deck maintenance drastically improves the amount of time your stain and sealant will keep looking new, so don’t skip the maintenance!
- Washing the Deck Early in the Year. Before the sun starts to pound down in the summer months, make sure you wash the deck thoroughly in early spring. It will help rinse off winters late blech (all the junk that sticks to the snow will now stick to your deck) and make sure you don’t develop any stains from debris. Without a proper washing, your deck can start to develop mold and mildew, resulting in rotting wood and a huge problem thats easily avoided! After you have washed the gunk off your deck, make sure the spaces between the wood are clear of debris. Its easiest to use a putty knife stuffed in the end of a PVC pipe so you don’t thrash your knees. By keeping the spacing between the wood clean, it will avoid rot and discoloration. An early spring deck washing is great for your deck, make sure and add it to your spring cleaning! PRO TIP: If you have bushes and plants surrounding your deck, make sure to cover them in plastic. You don’t want to wash all the gunk directly on to your lovely floral friends!
- Use some cleaning product. Last year, when you did all that deck work you originally cleaned it with product. You need to do that again to remove the scum/stains from the winter. Make sure the cleaner is SAFE for your stain! Even using diluted dish soap works well, basically anything that will remove grime will work. Don’t break the budget on some “name brand deck cleaner.” After you have chosen you product, put it into a 5 gallon bucket with the correct amount of water. Then apply to your deck with an “abrasive” application pad. The DIY-er in me says to just use anything: an old brush, mob, or broom, should do the trick. Make sure and use some old junk around the home rather then buying something. Thats for sissies. Don’t forget that your railings will need cleaned too! After cleaning, allow the deck time to completely dry.
- Replace missing screws/nails. Nobody has ever identified where they go, but nails and screws always come out of decks. When it is super clean is a great time to find the missing ones and replace them. Unless you are a stickler for details, any screws that are coated for outdoor use will work. You can also insert them directly into the missing screw holes, just use a slightly larger screw gauge.
- Check your ledger! The most important part of the deck, rotted ledger cause 90% of deck accidents. It is the piece of wood that connects your home to the deck (yes you will have to crawl under the deck to check it. We promise its worth it). If their is any gunk or signs or wear make sure and clean it while you’re down there! Since your already a mess and under your deck, feel free to check all the joists and connecters for any signs of damage. Because of the exposure outdoors, damage is always obvious (except with the ledger) so this should be easy to assess.
That should about cover it! Keeping it clean is easily the cheapest, most effective way to keep your deck looking great! A Good proper cleaning a few times a year will keep your deck happy and healthy!
Trust us, we’re professionals. To read our other deck care articles, click here!