You’ve invested time and money into building a stunning wood deck for your home. The last thing you want is to let that investment wash down the drain through improper deck maintenance.
Taking care of large wooden areas the right way may seem daunting to some. Fortunately, we’ve got a simple guide of 5 essential practices to keep your new deck looking it’s best, and lasting it’s longest.
Deck Maintenance: 101
Rotting, wear and tear, weather damage, all these and more are threats to your snazzy new deck. But, with the right preparation and care, you can preserve your deck from most damage and enjoy it for decades.
Proper care and maintenance can even ensure that if accidental damage does occur, you can avoid replacing the entire deck and have minimal repairs. Here’s how it’s done.
1. Check Your Deck
If your deck is brand new, or you’re thinking it’s time for maintenance, there are a few things to check to verify the deck’s condition. First off, do a water test.
A water test can be done by dropping a few small drops of water onto one board of your deck. If proper sealing has occurred (or is still up-to-date), the water should bead on the surface of the wood.
If the water is absorbed into the wood, you know it hasn’t been properly sealed, or that it’s time to reapply the sealing.
If your deck is still new, the sealing will take 60-90 days. Once this time has passed, you can move on to staining.
Other important signs to look for when checking your deck are chipping paint, loose boards, loose nails, or flaking bits. If any of these problems appear, your deck could be ready for some repair/care.
2. Scrape the Deck Surface
Before reapplying wood sealing or stain, your deck must be properly cleaned and sanded. As mentioned, tighten or replace any loose nails or boards,
It’s best to use a scraper to remove any peeling paint or finish. If there are boards or areas that are damaged, use a scraper to clear them down to just the bare wood again.
Areas that are worn or peeling may also need to be sanded until you see bare wood.
Once all damaged or flaking areas are smooth, it’s time to crack out the scrub brush. Clean off dirt, stains, or flakes with the brush so your wood is ready for new coats of paint or stain.
3. Scrub Your Deck
This step can be done whether you’re having to replace paint or not. Scrubbing and pressure-washing a deck is a part of good deck maintenance that should happen regularly.
Keep your deck clean using proper wood-cleaning agents and power washing. This will prevent mold, bacteria, unwanted plant-growth, and other problems that could erode the wood and shorten the life of your deck.
The brush you clean your wooden deck with will be important. Stick neck brushes are more effective at working the cleaner into the wood and getting it totally clean.
Find a stick neck brush with an extension or long handle to help you reach difficult areas and cover larger surfaces quicker.
Just be sure you use the right kinds of cleaners that are specifically made for outdoor wood. You don’t want to be the reason your deck becomes damaged because you used harsh or inappropriate chemicals to clean with.
Pressure-washing after scrubbing with cleaner will make sure no residue is left before you add paint or stainer.
You may even consider adding the occasional coat of oil or end grain sealer.
4. Reapply Deck Stain
Before you apply or reapply deck stain, be sure the wood is completely dry. If you’ve recently pressure-washed, it may be wise to give about 24 hours to let the wood dry.
Don’t apply stain if it has rained recently or snowed.
Before you begin applying your deck stain, read the manufacturer’s instructions on the product you have chosen. Some deck stains require specific tools for proper application.
Once you’re positive you have the right tool, (it could be anything from a brush, a pump sprayer, pad, or roller), begin applying on your cleared and clean wood.
Different wood stains require that you reapply them at different times. Again, read the instructions and see how often you should reapply your stain. Keeping up to date with your deck stain will help preserve the long life of your deck.
5. Replace Broken or Damaged Boards
Unfortunately, damage and accidents do happen that can require you to replace areas of your deck. Luckily, that doesn’t mean your entire deck is ruined.
Most repairs can take place one board at a time. Isolate the damaged area by pulling up just the damaged boards using a claw hammer.
Once your damaged boards have been removed, replace them with new pieces that have been measured and cut to fit the areas needed.
Be aware that due to weathering, stains, and other factors, sometimes the new boards can look slightly different in color or quality than the originals.
If uniformity in your deck’s look is important to you, then your best bet is to replace all the deck boards at one time. Doing this will leave you with a uniform look and quality.
Replacing all the boards together will also work to preserve the structural integrity of your deck.
To keep your deck lasting longer, choose a wood that’s pressure-treated, natural, and has advanced composites. These types of wood have improved quality to make your deck boards last longer so replacing them is rare.
Choosing A Deck That Will Last
Keeping with proper deck maintenance and care will go a long way in preserving the life and quality of your beautiful wood deck. Even better than simply caring for your deck well is selecting materials and professionals who will install the best deck for you.
We’ll work with you to meet your budgetary needs and personal tastes. Let us help you build the stunning deck of your dreams.