Fall Deck Maintenance – Wood Decks

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.

Old Deck
Old Deck – No Maintenance

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.

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Fall Wood Fence Care

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Early Fall is the perfect time to get your fence ready for winter.  Fall is also a great time to get the rest of your yard ready for the long cold winter months too.  Fall clean up makes it easier in the Spring to do your spring clean up.

Before the snow flies it is important to inspect your fence for damage from wood rot, warped boards, missing boards, and rotted fence posts.  Make sure the fence post are structurally sound and will not move when pushed against.  Also check any metal latches and metal hinges for rust and replace them if necessary.

Signs of Wood Rot:

  • Posts are loose and wobbly
  • Gate sags and won’t close
  • Boards are caving in
Rotted Wood
Rotted Wood Fencing

When checking your fence for damage it is also important to make sure your wooden fence can handle the weight and moisture that the snow will bring.  Snow can be very heavy and a rotted fence can be pulled down with a lot of snow.  The persistent moisture that your fence will experience in winter can increase the chances of wood rot and a rotted fence will not last through a long winter if it is already rotted to begin with.

Protecting Your Wood Fence Through Winter

Before the temperature gets cold it is a good idea to stain or paint your fence, deck, or railings.  This will give your wood a protective coat to help with wood rot when the weather gets cold and damp.

A great tip to help you decide if you need to waterproof your wood fence is the “splash test”.  Splash water on your wood fence and see if the water beads up.  If the water beads up your fence is still protected.  If not then you should stain or paint your fence.

Keeping Your Yard Clean Helps Your Wood Fence

Fall Fence Care
Privacy Fence

Keeping your yard clean will help your wood fence last longer.  Wood rot can happen at the base of the fence when old leaves, grass, and other yard debris accumulate around the bottom trapping moisture.  Make sure to rake your yard free of old leaves and other plant waste.  Snow piling up on old leaves will trap in moisture and cause your fence to rot rapidly.  It only takes a few seasons of miss care to badly damage a wooden fence.

This is also a great time to trim bushes and trees.  Plants growing right up to and touching your fence can cause wood rot.  Over hanging tree branches will hang lower once laden with heavy snow and could potentially damage your wood fence.

Heavy Snow Fall and Your Wood Fence

Heavy wet snow can damage a wood fence.  After a large snow fall it is a good idea to brush away the snow from your fence.  Snow will trap in moisture on the wood of your fence causing it to rot.  Brush way the snow from the base and top if possible.

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Should You Replace Your Wood Fence?

After carefully inspecting your wood fence it will be important to decide if you should repair it or just replace the fence.  An old wooden fence that is badly damaged should just be replaced.  You will spend more time and money trying to resurrect an old wooden fence and then still have to replace it in a few years or even the next season.  If your fence just needs a post or two and some paint then just repair the wood fence.

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Central Iowa Fencing are experience craftsman that can repair or replace your old worn out wooden fence with a new sturdy beautiful one.

No job is to big or to small!

Central Iowa Fencing installs quality fences in the Central Iowa area.  A family owned company with over 15+ years experience.  Contact Central Iowa Fencing today for your FREE fence quote.

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