Tips for Easy Deck Maintenance

A deck transforms your backyard into a comfortable place to entertain, relax, or spend some quality time with the family. It’s like adding another room to your home. Use these tips for easy deck maintenance that will keep it in great shape throughout the year.

Clean off the Deck Regularly

Cleaning the deck regularly keeps it looking neat and tidy. If you’re in an area that receives snow, clear it off so that it doesn’t add unnecessary weight to the deck. Sweeping away organic debris such as blossoms, leaves, and twigs will help prevent staining. To keep the deck’s protective seal looking as good as new, clean up after kid spills, doggy mud prints, and food mishaps with a solution of mild detergent and warm water.

Number of Times a Year

The number of times per year you will need to thoroughly clean your outdoor deck depends on what kind of material it is constructed from.

Wood decks: While natural wood decks typically have a protective coating to make them water-resistant, they still need a good scrubbing to remove the dirt and grime in areas where mold or mildew might form. Once a year with a utility brush and the appropriate cleaning solution for the type of natural wood the decking is made of will maintain the deck’s beautiful surface.

Composite wood decks: A composite wood deck requires cleaning twice a year to preserve its appearance and increase its lifespan. Composed of a mix of recycled materials including wood fibers, plastics, and cement, composite decking is hardier and longer-lasting than traditional wood decks.

Vinyl decks: Clean a vinyl deck four times a year (once every season). Depending on who is using the deck and how often, vinyl decking can become vulnerable to scratches – places where dirt and moisture can collect.

Staining a Wood Deck

A new wood deck is typically installed without being stained to allow the wood time to dry out and mature. Industry professionals advise not to stain a new deck before six to 12 months after installation.

Staining and then applying a sealing coat protects the wood from water damage, wood rot, and general use. If the deck boards have never been stained, a good time to do this is in the spring before the summer entertaining season begins.

If your deck has been stained, to keep it well-maintained, stain and seal it once every two to three depending on how heavily used the wood deck is. Not sure if it needs staining – the deck still looks pretty good. Pour a small amount of water on the decking – if it sinks into the boards, the deck needs to be stained again.

Remove Popped Nails

Regardless of how protected from the elements a wood deck is, it will eventually become warped. To prevent tripping hazards or structural damage, remove and replace popped nail and screws whenever they rear their heads.

Go Easy on Pressure Washing

While using a pressure washer might seem like the easiest way to clean off a deck, it can actually harm wood decking, especially ones made of softwoods such as pine, spruce, and cedar. As the name implies, there’s pressure involved – not used properly, pressure washing can gouge out pieces of decking, remove soil from landscaped areas, and break windows. Often a deck can be cleaned efficiently with a pistol-grip spray nozzle attached to a garden hose.