How to Maintain A Deck

Maintain A Deck

In a cold-weather state there is nothing like that first warm day when you run outside to uncover the deck furniture and the barbecue.  You waited many long months to stretch out on that chaise lounge and contemplate life from your perch on the deck.  (It’s also a great place to survey all the yard work which soon must be done.)

Owning a home comes with its share of joys and miseries.  Some of the miseries include the maintenance on the interior and exterior of the home, not to mention keeping the landscaping, driveways and sidewalks in tip-top shape.  If you have a pool, that’s more maintenance.

Unless you have a faux wood deck, such as the Trex brand (Trex Company, Inc.), you have another annual job – maintaining and preserving your wooden deck.  A Trek maintenance-free deck, constructed of 95% manmade materials, requires just a routine soap-and-water cleanup,  and  obviates the need for this annual painstaking, and often messy chore, but, its somewhat slippery surface, can be dangerous for slip and falls, and there are many homeowners, who are purists who desire only a real wooden deck due to its rustic good looks.

Here are some pointers on what the upkeep for a wooden deck entails.  Hopefully, you won’t find the list formidable and abandon obtaining a deck, for it is a venue to gather with family and friends to make the most of the warm-weather seasons.

But, if you don’t own a deck, be advised there is no better way to relax with family and friends than on a beautiful deck in your own backyard.  Be sure to contact an exterior remodeling company in East Windsor to get ideas on how a deck configures into your personal backyard space.

Maintaining a wooden deck

Unfortunately, you can’t cover up your deck and protect it against the elements.  It’s a rather sorry sight to gaze out into your yard in the middle of Winter and see snow banked up on the railings and on the deck floor.  It will make you wistful for Winter to end and Spring to come forth soon.

But, not only is that snow a drag, but it wreaks havoc with your deck, saturating it for weeks, if not months, at a time with heavy, wet snow.

The steps are pretty simple for maintaining a deck but you must set aside a few days annually to perform this chore.  Preserving the wood is of utmost importance if you want your deck to give you many years of service.  You know that it is time to do this chore, when you see the rainwater no longer bead up on the deck surface, but, instead it quickly soaks right into the wood.  When this happens, your wood becomes precariously close to begin the splitting, twisting and rotting process.  To keep this from happening, select a couple of days wherein you can remove everything from the deck, clean it, allow it to dry, make repairs and apply the proper preservative before returning the items to the deck surface again.  You don’t want to have hot or humid weather either, just a couple of perfect, sunshine-filled days.

  • Even though Mother Nature provides Winter’s snow and Springtime’s rain, you still need to get rid of the grime which embeds itself into the wooden deck. You don’t necessarily have to use a lot of elbow grease to do this, but you must use chemicals to remove the dirt and grime.  The manufacturers of deck cleaners recommend that you use the cleaners with caution around your eyes, thus wearing protective goggles might not be a bad idea.  Likewise, do not use a hose with a forceful spray as the chemicals might splash up onto your skin or get into your eyes.  It is recommended that you use a garden sprayer with a soft spray instead.
  • Armed with your sprayer, apply the deck cleaner to all vertical and deck surfaces and railings. Following the manufacturer’s directions, allow the cleaner to remain on the deck for the suggested amount of time.
  • After the cleaner has remained on the wood for the recommended time period, you must now wash down the entire deck. The best tool for the job is a pressure washer as it delivers a concentrated blast of water at anywhere from 1,000 to 3,500 pounds per square inch.  It is important to not exceed this suggested pressure, because training the pressure washer on any one place on the deck will damage the wood.  You can rent or buy a pressure washer at most home improvement stores.  To clean the large, open areas easily, experts recommend using an attachment known as a deck scrubber.

Deck Cleaning

  • After the deck has been scrubbed and the wood is dry, it is a good time to carefully inspect the wood for damage. Any splinters, especially on deck rails, should be sanded down to make the wood smooth.  If there are any protruding nails, either replace them with special deck screws, or in the alternative, hammer them down so they are flush with the surface of the board.  Any rotted or otherwise deteriorated board should be replaced at this time.
  • After the deck repairs are completed, it is time to refinish the wood to preserve it. There are two main types of wood protectants available:  stain or clear sealer.  You can use a tinted deck stain which essentially hides the grain of the wood, or, instead opt for a clear sealer that allows the wood grain to show through.   Your best bet for the application of either medium is a pump sprayer such as the type used for the deck cleaner.  This tool allows the liquid to spread evenly, though a paintbrush might be needed to work the medium into the cracks to ensure every inch of wood is covered and thus protected.

After letting all points of the deck surface and railings become dry to the touch, you’re ready to load up the furniture, barbecue and sit yourself down with a cold drink after performing this annual task.