A wood deck can last for years if properly cared for, on the other hand it can also deteriorate very quickly if it is not properly taken care of. If you take care of your deck it will last a long time and also look good. Taking the time to follow a few simple preventive tips to wood deck care will also help cut down an the maintenance required too.
Wood decks take a lot of abuse year round. Winter snow and ice accumulation can rot and warp your deck. Fall can bring dead leaves accumulating on the deck surface trapping water and dirt that will also cause rot. Summertime brings harsh UV rays for the sun that can cause the wood to dry out and fade. Spring rains can bring rain water pooling up causing rot and mold growth.
Wood Deck Tips
1). The most important thing is to NOT trap dirt. Keep your wood deck free from dirt by sweeping it regularly. Clean under pot and planters.
2). If you have a grill on your deck you should remove the grease from the deck surface. Grease stains are hard to remove so it is a good idea to just keep it off of your deck. You a grease catcher.
3). Regular sweeping will prevent leaves and dirt accumulation.
4). Keep you deck sealed. Reseal your deck every two to three years.
5). During winter it is important to keep your deck shoveled even if it is not in use. Keeping wet snow and ice off your deck will help it last longer.
Fall is a great time to do outside chores like yard cleanup or deck maintenance on your wood deck. Wood decks take a lot of abuse from foot traffic, chairs being moved around, dirt, leaves, and other debris accumulating on your deck. Fall is the last time before winter sets in to clean, paint, or seal your deck before the harsh weather rolls in.
Why Maintain Your Wood Deck
Why should you maintain your wood deck? Wood decking can rot, warp, or splinter if not properly taken care of. Mold and algae can accumulate on the deck boards making them slippery and unsightly. Not properly maintaining your deck will lead it to costly repairs or it will need to be re-decked. Regular maintenance will help your wood deck last for years or regular use.
Fall Cleanup and Maintenance of Your Wood Deck
Sweep the surface of your wood deck to get all the loose dirt off the deck boards. You can also use a pressure washer if you have one, this will make the job easier. Make sure to clean out in between the boards any dirt accumulation. Cut and trim any bushes or plants growing on or next to the deck that can cause rotting. Plants should be at least 12 inches from deck to avoid mold and algae growth on your wood deck. You should keep any down spouts that are by you deck in good repair so they channel water away from your deck properly.
Choosing a Deck Cleaner
Choose a cleaner made for wood decks. If you don’t have a deck cleaner, you can make your own with water and a little bit of bleach added to the water. Buy a sturdy scrub brush to help loosen up dirt and mold growth.
Make Your Own Deck Cleaner Solution – Mold & Rust
*Mix (1) tablespoon of oxalic acid crystals (wood bleach) with (1) gallon of water.
*Remove grease stains by applying powered laundry detergent directly to the stain and scrub with a brush. Let it stand for 10 minutes then rinse off with the hose.
Make Your Own – Regular Bleach Cleaner
Add 1/2 gallon of bleach to (2) gallons of water. Pour in 1/4 cup of dish detergent and mix well until it suds. Use a large brush of push broom to scrub the entire deck surface until you remove all the dirt and then rise off with water.
Seal or Paint Your Deck Before Winter
Winter weather brings cold temperatures and moisture that can harm your deck so before Fall is over it is a good idea to seal or paint your wood deck. There are many sealers and stains on the market to choose from and they will range in price too.
Sealing or Staining Your Deck
Choose a weekend when the weather is good with clear sky and moderate temperatures for a few days.
1). Make sure your deck is clean and remove all patio furniture, planters, gardening items, or toys.
2). Lightly sand you wood deck with a sander equipped with an 80 – grit sand paper.
3). Replace any missing nails and screws and hammer down any popped up nails.
4). Apply your sealer or stain to your deck surface with a roller covering 3 – 4 boards at a time. Use brushes and small rollers for smaller areas like wood railings, wood planters, or benches. Don’t let the sealer puddle. Apply two thin coats.
Tip: It is better to apply two thin coats than one thick coat.