Deck Maintenance 101

Decks are beautiful additions to any home and require regular maintenance to keep them looking great and functioning well. Whether you’re a seasoned homeowner, a first-time deck owner or considering adding a deck to your home, we hope you’ll find some valuable tips that help you maintain a deck and extend its life span.

Benefits of Regular Deck Maintenance

Maintaining a deck has several advantages, including:

  • Preserving its beauty and appearance. 
  • Preventing costly repairs or replacements. 
  • Ensuring the safety of people who walk on it. 
  • Giving guests a comfortable and enjoyable place to relax. 

Part One: Prepare for Maintenance

Spring is ideal for cleaning your deck since you’ll likely want to use it during the warm summer months. If you experience a harsh summer, you can do a second cleaning in autumn. Before you start any deck maintenance project, take some time to prepare. You must ensure you have the right tools and know what to look for during the inspection.

1. Gather the Necessary Tools and Materials

The right equipment can make the job easier and more efficient. Here is a list of some of the items you will need:

  • Broom
  • Power washer or hose
  • Cleaning solution, such as deck cleaner or a mixture of mild soap and water
  • Sandpaper or sander
  • Stain or sealant
  • Paintbrush or roller
  • Paint tray or bucket

2. Inspect Your Deck

The first step in preparing for deck maintenance is to inspect and clean the deck. Here are some things to look for during the inspection:

  • Loose or damaged boards
  • Rotten wood
  • Loose or rusted screws or nails
  • Signs of mold or mildew
  • Fading or discoloration

3. Clean Your Deck

Once you’ve inspected the deck, it’s time to clean. There are two main types of material used for decks. Each one has slight differences in how you should clean them.

  • Wood: You can use a standard deck cleaner for wood. Ensure you follow the product’s directions.
  • Composite: Because composite decking is made from recycled materials, it is best to use a specific formula. Use a commercial degreaser or detergent if you accidentally spill grease or oil on your deck.

Once you’ve identified any areas that need repair, it’s time to clean the deck. Here’s how to clean your wood deck:

  1. Sweep the deck to remove any loose debris.
  2. Use a power washer or hose to rinse the deck.
  3. Apply a cleaning solution to the deck, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Use a scrub brush to work the solution into the deck.
  5. Rinse the deck with a power washer or hose.
  6. Allow the deck to dry completely.

    Part Two: Identify Damage or Rot

    One of the most common issues homeowners face with their wooden decks is damage or rot. Fortunately, repairing damaged or rotten wood is a straightforward process. With a few basic tools and some elbow grease, you can solve the problem. The first step in repairing damaged or rotten wood is identifying the problem areas. Look for signs of:

    • Soft, spongy wood.
    • Cracks or splits in the wood.
    • Loose or missing boards.
    • Water damage or discoloration.

    1. Repair Damaged or Rotten Wood

    Exposure to the elements and regular wear and tear can lead to damage or rot on your deck. This detracts from the aesthetic appeal of your outdoor space and compromises the structural integrity of your deck. Follow these steps to fix the damaged areas:

    1. Remove any loose or rotten wood with a saw or chisel, and remove all the affected areas.
    2. Replace the missing planks with new decking boards and attach them securely. 
    3. Sand the area to smooth out any rough edges.
    4. Fill in any gaps with a wood filler or epoxy, smoothing it out with a putty knife.
    5. Sand the site again to create a smooth surface.
    6. Apply a primer to the area and allow it to dry completely.
    7. Paint or stain the area to match the surrounding wood.

    You can also contact a professional to help you fix a deck that’s been affected by damaged wood. 

    2. Prevent Future Damage or Rot

    Deck Maintenance 101

    To prevent future damage or rot, make sure to:

    • Clean and inspect your deck regularly.
    • Replace any damaged or rotten boards as soon as possible.
    • Apply a sealant or stain to your deck every few years to protect the wood from the elements.

    Part Three: Seal and Stain Your Deck

    Over time the weather, foot traffic and constant exposure to the sun will wear down the sealer or stain on a wood deck. It is advised that you seal a wood deck annually or biannually, depending on the product you use and the results of your visual inspection. The right stain or sealant can help prevent water damage, UV damage and fading. 

    When choosing a stain or sealant, consider the following factors:

    • The type of wood your deck is made of
    • The level of sun exposure your deck receives
    • The climate in your area
    • Your personal preferences for color and finish

    Getting a smooth and even finish when staining or sealing your deck can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help you get that perfect finish:

    1. Work in Small Sections

    Working in small sections helps ensure even coverage and avoid overlap marks. Start at one end of the deck and work your way across, applying the stain or sealant evenly to each section before moving on to the next.

    2. Avoid Applying Too Much Product

    Applying too much product at a time can lead to drips and overlap marks. Instead, use a thin, even layer of stain or sealant and allow it to dry completely before applying a second coat. Read instructions on the product to determine the number of layers required.

    3. Use Long, Smooth Strokes

    Use long, smooth strokes to apply the stain or sealant, working in the direction of the grain. Even brush strokes will help ensure even coverage and a smooth finish.

    Other Tips for Maintaining Your Deck

    Regular cleaning and maintenance of your deck will keep it looking great and functioning well. Here are some tips to help you clean and maintain your deck:

    1. Sweep or blow off debris regularly: Leaves, dirt and other debris can accumulate on your deck and trap moisture, leading to damage or rot. Sweep or blow off your deck regularly to keep it clean and dry.
    2. Remove stains promptly: If you spill something on your deck, clean it up promptly to prevent staining. Use a mild detergent and a soft-bristled brush to remove any stains.
    3. Use furniture pads: If you have outdoor furniture on your deck, use furniture pads to prevent scratches and damage to the wood.
    4. Call a professional if necessary: If you need assistance with deck maintenance or repair, calling an expert means you can benefit from professional results and quality materials. You’ll also save time in the process. 

    Call Garrety Glass for Deck Installation in York, Pennsylvania

    Deck Maintenance 101

    Proper maintenance and repair are essential to ensure your deck’s longevity, safety and beauty. If you are looking for deck installation services, contact Garrety Glass. We offer a range of services, including railing installation and deck installation. Our team has over 20 years of experience in the industry and are well-known deck builders in York, Pennsylvania. We are dedicated to providing high-quality service, and we use only the best materials and products to ensure your satisfaction.

    With Garrety Glass, you can trust that your deck will be in good hands. If you want to install a deck at your home, contact Garrety Glass!