Your wood deck is likely the focal point of your outdoor space. Wood is one of the most distinctive and beautiful natural materials found in and around your home. But like most natural materials, it must be properly cared for and maintained so you can appreciate it for many years.
Most outdoor deck systems are constructed of pressure treated wood. Although pressure treated wood has been specially created to withstand the elements, it still requires regular maintenance and care.
Just some of the enemies of outdoor decks include ultraviolet rays, tree sap, dirt, standing water, bird droppings, mold, mildew and pollutants.
Steps to Maintain Your Wood Deck
An annual cleaning and application of a deck coating system will protect your outdoor deck and prevent rot, wear and damage. Taking these easy steps will help you enjoy a beautiful wooden deck for many years.
- The first order of business is to remove dust, dirt, grease, mildew and mold so that the deck coating system can property penetrate and bond to the wood.
- You can easily remove dirt, leaves and debris by using a leaf blower. A leaf blower works more efficiently than a standard broom, as it clears out all debris and dirt from the cracks and crevices of the wood.
- Next, wash the deck surface, as well as the stairs and railings, with a cleaner and water combination. You’ll often find cleaners specifically made for deck surfaces at your local home improvement center. You may need to pretreat stubborn stains, such as mold and bird droppings.
- It is best to use a garden hose or low pressure power washer to clean your deck. Don’t ever use a pressure washer set on a high setting, as it can splinter and damage the wood. You may need to repeat the cleaning process, depending on how dirty your deck is.
- Let the wood completely dry and then sand the entire area to prevent splinters and to remove any old wood sealer or protectant. Use a leaf blower to again remove any debris, including sawdust, before you apply your wood sealer and protectant.
- There is often a huge difference between a low-end wood sealer and protectant and a high-end one, so asking for a recommendation from a high-end paint retailer is often the smartest decision. This is not the time to shop around for the best bargain! Do your homework and buy the best – you’ll be glad you did!
- You can apply your wood sealer and protectant with a brush, roller or paint sprayer. Just be sure to carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations before using.
- Allow the wood sealer and protectant to completely dry before walking or placing furniture on the deck. Again, follow the manufacturer’s drying time recommendations. You may also choose to apply one or two additional coats.
- It is also wise to perform an overall check of your deck at least once a year. This includes looking for damage to surface boards, structural supports and nails, screws and bolts.Check for excessive curling, cracking and rotting of the surface boards. Replace any that show signs of excessive wear.
Check for signs of animal or insect damage on your structural support boards. Any signs of insect damage should be immediately reported to a qualified pest control expert.
Tighten and replace any nails, screws or bolts that have popped up or become loose.
Regularly taking these steps to protect your wood deck ensures that your investment will continue to give you entertainment and property value returns.