Decks are exposed to weather all year round. From the time you build you new deck or move into an established home with a used deck, it is best to plan out a routine schedule to care and maintain your deck. Prevention is better than cure, so you want to keep your deck looking great and ward off any expensive repairs.
Keep you deck clean
An un kept dirty deck is an invitation for mould and mildew to grow – which in turn can cause rot. Start by removing debris from between the decking boards. A putty knife is a great tool to use. If you have pot plants and outdoor furniture on the deck, move them elsewhere whilst you thoroughly sweep your deck.
You need to choose an appropriate cleaner for the type of decking boards. For a wood deck you can use a standard deck cleaner. A composite deck will require a cleaner formulated for that material. You can use a commercial degreaser and detergent to remove any grease and oil marks. For vinyl decking you will only need warm mild soapy water to remove any mould, mildew and dirt.
Once the deck is thoroughly clean wait two days before sealing.
Sealing your deck
When choosing a deck sealant there are a few options to choose from. You can choose a clear sealer that will let the wood’s natural colour and grain show through. Or you could use choose a toner that adds a bit of colour but also reveals the grain and provides some UV protection against sunlight. Another option is a semi-transparent stain that tints the wood but lets some of the grain show. Lastly you could choose a solid stain and opaque colour that seal up weathering damage and also cover the grain. Clear sealers and toners will need to be re applied annually, whereas the others can be done every other year.
When sealing your deck you should ensure it is clean, then give the deck a light sand where needed. Have a look and replace any missing or popped nails and screws. Then when ready apply the sealer or stain with a roller where possible and ensure the sealant doesn’t puddle and spreads evenly.
Regularly inspect your deck for needed repairs
The summer season is a good time to give the deck a close inspection to see if any problems have arisen or repairs are needed. Pay close attention to parts of the deck that are close to sources of moisture such as downpipes, pot plants or air conditioning units.
Check for signs of mould and rot. Check the stairs, followed by the stringers, and each perimeter post. If needed you can probe the wood with a screwdriver – If it penetrates a centimetre or more you may have some rot – if that is the case, it is best to get a professional in to take a look to provide advice and remedy the situation.
Regularly inspect the ledger – this is the part of the deck framing that attaches to your house. A damaged ledger can be the cause of many deck collapses. The ledger should be attached with screws, not nails. The capping on the ledger should always be rust and hole-free so that moisture can not penetrate and cause damage. Ensure you check the the joists, posts and beams. Also probe these for any signs of rot. If you aren’t sure of anything, call in a professional.
Next check for cracks and rotten decking boards. Cracks can get worse overtime, so if you find a damaged board it’s best to have it replaced. Always check your deck railings – Give them a shake to ensure they are not loose or damaged.
Trim nearby bushes and trees that are close and overhanging your deck to ensure that no mould, moss or rot occurs. Don’t let leaves and other debris pile up and gather on your deck, sweep regularly. Move your pot plants and outdoor furniture around on a regular basis to avoid discolouring or moisture buildup. Lastly keep nearby gutters clear and downpipes in good working order.
If you are not sure of anything to do with deck repairs and maintenance – call a professional. Here at Amazing Decks – we know how to take good care of a deck and have it looking great all year round.