Outdoor decks are a great addition to any home. They offer a place to entertain family and friends as well as place to just sit and relax. Decks are also a value-added amenity to most homes. What that means is that they increase the value of the home at resell time. With decks having so much to offer, protecting them from wear and tear is often an important issue. Here are some tips on how to protect your deck so it lasts for years to come.
Believe it or not one of the easiest things to do to add years to your deck is to keep it clean by sweeping it off as often as needed. Not only does this help keep leaves and twigs off the deck but it also keeps dirt off. Dirt, when walked upon, can easily scratch the surface of the deck. Over time, these scratches will become visible. Tracked on dirt will also begin to scrape the paint off of the boards, if they are painted.
Homeowners should keep in mind that when leaves or twigs get stuck between floor boards, they will decompose and rot. This rot will soon spread upwards and affect the boards as well.
A good tip for all homeowners is to check decks for water penetration. If water soaks into the wood, it is time for deck protection applications. This is very important because nothing will destroy a deck faster than penetrated water.
If you find mold or mildew on your deck, you can use a deck wash to remove those. These products are very affordable and they are easy to use. Often you simply spray them on and then hose it off. For heavy build up, you may need to scrub a bit but it is worth the effort.
When using a deck wash, make sure you allow it to dry for at least two days. This means paying attention to the local weather forecast. Do not apply deck wash if rain is expected.
For some decks, a tinted wood protector is the answer. These products contain both a color and a finish. To use these simply apply an even coat of the tinted wood protector over the area. The key to success in this task is to spread the coating evenly. If you allow one area to be soaked and another to be less soaked, you will have spotty results at best. You can purchase a special "mop" to help with this task.
If you want the natural color of the wood to come out, use a clear wood protector instead of a tinted one. These products are applied in the same manner but they help bring out the natural wood color.
Keep in mind that some clear wood protector applications may need to be replaced every year. You should read the product label for more information on this issue.
If you have a brand new deck, you should wait thirty days before applying a wood protector to the deck. The chemicals that are commonly used in pressure-treating lumber require at least that much time to evaporate. Once these chemicals have evaporated, you can safely apply a wood finish to the deck.