Inspect and Repair Your Deck

Doing a yearly inspection and any repairs of your deck will help keep it safe and cut down on repair bills later.  Find a time when the weather is good and take a close look at your deck, railings, and fencing before the weather gets too cold to repair or stain if needed.

Doing Your Inspection

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It is important to pay special attention to any parts of your deck that is close to the ground or any areas of moisture accumulation.  Any area that is within six inches of the ground should be looked at close.  Look at areas around planters, downspouts, or low laying areas that can accumulate water during rains or may just have standing water.  These areas are more prone to rot your wood decking and fencing.

TIP:  Always clean off leaves from your deck.  Leaves accumulating on your deck will cause moisture to get trapped and will promote wood rot.

Cut any trees or shrubs that are on or around your deck.  Allow for enough area for air to circulate so mold and algae do not build up on your deck or siding.  Keep grass trim around your deck so moisture does not accumulate.

 Check Structural Members

Check all the structural members of your deck for wood rot.  Check all the the deck stairs and the stringers meet the ground.  The stringers are the saw-tooth notched piece that supports the steps.  You should also check the perimeter post too.  You can use a screwdriver to check for rotted wood boards on your deck.  If you can push the screwdriver into the wood a quarter inch or more than you probably have rot.

Areas of rot that are small about the size of a coin can be removed with a chisel and treated with a wood preservative.  If the rot is a larger area than the structural member must be replaced.  If you cannot do this yourself it would be a good idea to hire a handyman or contractor to do the job properly.

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Inspecting the Deck Ledger

The ledger is a very important piece of your deck and should be inspected carefully.  The ledger is the part that attaches to the house.  Get a flashlight and inspect the underneath  and around the ledger.  The ledger should be attached with lag screws and nails.  Check the flashing to make sure it is free of rust and holes.  The flashing is the metal cap that covers the top of the ledger and prevents moisture from getting behind the siding.  A badly damaged ledger can cause a deck to collapse so it is a good idea to inspect your deck every year for rot.

Check the posts, beams, and remaining joists.  Check all the hardware underneath paying special attention to the joists hangers.  Replace any hardware that is extremely rusted.  Any signs of rot it is a good idea to call a professional to make the repairs.

Old Deck

Cracks or Rotted Decking

If you find rotted deck boards you should replace it.  Cracking boards will get worse over time.  Large cracks should be replaced.

Deck Railings

Check the deck railings for loose posts or rot damage.  Try shaking the posts to make sure they are sturdy.  Look for any cracks that may have formed around the hardware including screws or nails.

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Please gives us a call today!  We would love to help you repair or maintain your deck or fence.

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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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