Written by: Quintin Bentley Crevling
Nobody wants to have one of their friends fall through a rotten spot on their deck during a summer BBQ. A deck is the best part of the house in the summer months, but before you can host a large group of people you should ensure that the deck is properly maintained.
We often enjoy this amenity so much that we forget that we need to perform regular maintenance so we can continue to enjoy the additional space. A deck will only require a few hours of care throughout the year to greatly extend its useful lifespan. If a deck is not properly maintained, then it will quickly rot and become unstable, or will cost hundreds of dollars to repair. As you maintain your deck you will want to thoroughly clean the deck, begin floor sanding and polishing the wood, and then continue to perform regular upkeep during the year.
The first step in maintaining your deck is to clean off all of the debris you can by hand. You should start by removing everything from the deck: chairs, table, BBQ – everything. Once your deck is barren you will want to sweep all the leaves and dirt off of the deck so the cleaner can work to fight the deep stains, and not be wasted removing dirt you could have swept up.
While you are cleaning off your deck be sure to keep your eyes peeled for any signs of rot or damage that could be potentially devastating to the integrity of the structure. After you have thoroughly cleaned all the dirt and grime off the deck, you can begin to hose down the surfaces. After you have hosed the deck make sure to give it at least two days to dry before you brush on your cleaner.
Now that you have a clean deck you can begin to lightly sand your deck to remove any leftover blemishes and make a fresh surface for your new coat of sealant to be applied. After you have sanded the deck and swept up the sawdust, it is time to replace any broken or missing screws and to repair damaged sections of wood.
When you feel confident that you have properly cleaned your deck, you will want to spray or brush on your sealant with a generous coating. Before the sealant dries you should hand brush all of the surfaces to work the sealant into all of the small crevices in a process called back brushing.
The most important step to maintaining your deck is to perform regular upkeep throughout the year. You will want to regularly sweep leaves off of your deck so they don’t pile into a corner and begin to rot. It is important to keep trees and bushes trimmed at least a foot back from the deck to prevent mold and potential damage during storms. A good tip to avoid discoloration of your deck is to move around your outdoor furniture a few times during the year.