No matter what type of wood your deck is made with, it is still susceptible to damage without proper care. If you’ve gotten behind on deck maintenance, we won’t judge! Just be sure you get to it as soon as time and weather permit you to.
Make sure you have proper ventilation under your deck first and foremost. Learn why ventilation under your deck is so important and how to achieve it.
Some deck maintenance tasks are better left for specific seasons. Let’s take a look at the basics of deck maintenance:
Autumn Deck Care
Fall is a great time to do some peripheral yard work. For example, are the hedges encroaching on the perimeters of your deck space? Is the trellis of ivy getting a bit unruly? Perhaps a mature tree has some hazardous branches drooping over the deck.
The reason fall is ideal for projects like this is because most deciduous plants are losing their foliage, making it easier to spot problematic limbs. Late autumn allows for good weather and adequate sunlight to spot dead or diseased branches and prune them before winter sets in.
You don’t want an unruly shrub overtaking your deck, or an overgrown branch to literally crash the party. Take a look at the vegetation that’s adjacent to your deck area, and take advantage of the fall weather to do some cleaning and pruning.
Spring Deck Care
Come springtime, after all the debris that has built up over the winter, it’s definitely time to clean your deck. Aside from the obvious broom and spray nozzle, you may need to utilize some special equipment for anything that’s gotten caked on. A trowel or a gardening knife do nicely to scrape up debris that’s gotten caked up between your floorboards.
Unless you’re planning to completely refinish your deck, using a power washer is discouraged. It will strip away the finishing, leaving the wood grains fully exposed. A decent nozzle for your hose is plenty of pressure to sufficiently wash the surface clean.
Most decks need to be resealed every year or two, depending on the type of wood, as well as the type of sealant you’ve used. Additional factors include how often it’s used and how much weather-related wear it may endure from one season to the next.
Be sure your deck is thoroughly clean and dry before adding any sealant. You will also want to check the weather, to be sure you aren’t painting just before a rainfall or an unseasonably windy day that could blow dust onto the drying material.
Summer Deck Care
Now that your deck is freshly cleaned and resealed, summertime is a good opportunity for some basic repairs. Take a close eye to the floor and the railings, making note of any problem areas.
A few issues to be on the lookout for:
- Loose boards that need to be tightened, to prevent a tripping hazard. This is especially true for steps and border planks.
- Loosened nails that need to be hammered back into place. This is also a potential sign of warped wood that could need reinforcement or replacing.
- Splintered areas that may need to be sanded and refinished, not only for safety but also to prevent rotting.
- Any signs of rotting or other decay, that could compromise the structure. Minor rot can sometimes be cut away, but large stretches of decomposing wood create a significant structural hazard.
If you find yourself in need of more extensive repairs, How to Restore a Wood Deck has some fantastic advice and instruction for you.