Deck Maintenance That You Should Not Overlook
Every homeowner wants their outdoor deck to last for years. Due to the high traffic, regular wear and tear, and exposure to the weather, it is inevitable that your deck will look worn down with time. As with any property that you own, deck maintenance is necessary to increase the integrity of your deck and prolong its lifespan.
Causes of deck deterioration
The most common reason for outdoor wood deck boards deteriorating is water damage and exposure to the elements. This does not mean that you do not need to check your deck rails; it just means that you need to do a little bit of research first.
During the winter, moisture from snow and rain can damage your deck boards. In fact, during the winter months, it is not uncommon for people to see large chunks of wood fall off their decks.
Proven tips on outdoor deck maintenance
Here are some tips on how to properly maintain your custom deck.
Check for loose nails and screws
Check for loose nails or screws in planks or boards before you step on them. Also, make sure that no nails are sticking out of the wood. If they are, you need to take a sledgehammer and pound them into the deck boards to avoid injuring yourself or someone else.
Clean the deck
Clean the deck with a pressure washer to remove dirt and debris. Start washing at the top and working your way down. This will prevent dirt from scratching the surface. Using a power washer on wood or composite decks can damage or remove the surface of the material. If you must use a pressure washer to remove debris, direct it at an angle so that it sprays out from the surface instead of directly into the custom decking.
Check for splits or cracks.
You also want to check for any splits or cracks in the deck boards. If you have noticed these before but have yet to do anything about it, now is the time to fix them. You can either purchase wood filler or use a piece of plywood as a patch until you are ready to replace the custom deck board completely.
Maintain proper spacing between the boards so that water can't pool there. In addition, you want to avoid placing large pots directly over the surface of the outdoor deck boards.
Move outdoor furniture around
Keep your outdoor furniture in good condition by moving it around from time to time. This will ensure that there is no build-up of grime and dirt along with the same areas of the deck boards. According to professional contractors, on average, a wooden or composite deck can last for about five years before it begins to show signs of wear and tear. On the other hand, most composite decks last between ten and fifteen years before a new deck is needed.
Check the deck railings. If your deck is more than a few years old, some rust probably accumulated around all of the screws and bolts. The best way to remove this rust from metal is with some steel wool or fine-grade wire brush. This process will let you clean off the rust and get your deck screws and bolts shining again.
Repair damaged boards
If the weather has not been kind to your deck, you will need to repair any damaged boards. Unfortunately, this is a more labor-intensive process that entails taking out the old board, fixing it with some wood filler, or setting up a new piece of wood and sanding it down so that you can put on a new coat of stain or paint. You want to do all of this before you replace the board because the new layer of paint or sealant will prevent water from damaging your deck again in the near future.
Check for insect infestations.
Deck boards can also be damaged by pests such as termites and carpenter ants. Carpenter ants actually bore through the wood of outdoor decks as well as homes. If you know or suspect you have a termite or carpenter ant problem, the best thing to do is contact a professional pest control company.
Apply anti-slip coating
Add an anti-slip coating to keep people from slipping when they walk on wet surfaces. You can purchase this at any hardware store, and it is fairly inexpensive.
Stain the decks
Once you have completed these tasks, all that is left is to stain the deck. You need to make sure that you do this early enough so that the board can dry completely before nightfall. This final step will leave your outdoor deck looking great and ready for many years of heavy use ahead.
If you take care of your deck, it will last for years and look great in the process. Please do not be afraid to get down and dirty when cleaning and maintaining your deck; any hard work you put in will be well worth it in the end!
Richmond Deck Pros has been providing deck maintenance in the greater Richmond area since 2017. We provide various services, including building and maintaining porches, pergolas, arbors, and sunrooms.