As a deck owner, it is imperative to protect your deck from the effects of weather. A deck's longevity is measured by how well it stands up to the stresses thrown at it by Mother Nature. Regardless of where your deck is located, be it at a single-family home, a multifamily complex, or a business location, it requires periodic maintenance to remain in tiptop shape.
Some of the top contributors to deck stress are:
• Mold or mildew
• Heavy use
Simple Stuff, a Deck Owner, Can Do All Year
Keep your deck clean. Make sure to sweep it periodically to keep dirt from building up on your deck's surfaces. This is especially true if you have large planters on your deck. You want to make sure any bugs attracted to your plants don't become enamored with your deck’s wood.
Regularly inspect for damage and have it repaired immediately. There is nothing worse than having your deck fail due to damage that went undetected. You want to make sure that your deck is safe, especially before that big gathering that will put stress on its structure.
Pressure wash the deck regularly to remove any mold or mildew buildup. Mold and mildew can permanently discolor your deck if left too long on the surface.
Deck Maintenance for Fall
Fall is a great time to perform deck weatherproofing. The falling temperatures make it more pleasant to work outside, and there are steps you need to take before winter arrives.
1. Move your planters off the deck. Trapping water between the containers and the deck will lead to discoloration and potential damage from mold or mildew.
2. Remove all patio furniture and store indoors for the winter. Again, leaving the furniture on the deck can result in uneven weathering and damage.
3. Give your deck a good scrubbing down. Make sure to remove all dirt, mold, and mildew before moving to this next, most crucial step.
4. Apply a water-repellent seal to your deck. Even pressure-treated wood should be resealed periodically.
Winter Deck Maintenance
The primary task for winter deck maintenance is snow removal. Snow should be removed immediately and not allowed to accumulate. Sweep snow, or better yet, use a snowblower to remove snow from your deck. If snowfall is too deep and requires shoveling, then you should cover your deck with a tarp before the first snowfall of the year to prevent gouging of the wood from your shovel.
For a Brand-new Decks
Wait at least 60 days for your deck to "age" before giving it its first beauty treatment. Have your deck professionally cleaned before applying a sealant to ensure that any mold or mildew spores don’t get trapped inside the wood before sealing. These professionals can then use a water repellent seal to protect your new deck.
For Older Decks
All decks should be sealed. If you notice that water is not beading up on the deck's surfaces any longer, it's probably time to reseal the deck. Avoid painting or staining the deck. Even though these products have improved in recent years, they are still not as good for your deck as water repellent sealants.
Deck weatherproofing is something all deck owners should do. To keep your decks looking new for years of enjoyment, they require just a little TLC from you. If some of these tasks, like applying sealants, etc., seem too daunting for you, hire a professional. They have all the right tools, techniques, and supplies to keep your deck in top-notch condition for the long haul.