While the water and snow in winter are obvious threats to decking, many people overlook the summer season and forget that their deck will still need care. UV damage by the sun is a major contributing factor to the premature aging of a deck, destroying the structure of the wood and fading the color. Learning the steps of how to protect deck during summer months is simple enough; and just needs to be fitted into normal cleaning regimes and then everyone will be free to enjoy their barbecues, garden parties and outdoor living throughout the warmer months without worrying about the deck beneath their feet.
Start with inspecting the entire decking. The first things to look for are obvious signs that winter has taken its toll, including damage to structural timbers, like cracking or splitting, or areas where moisture damage appears to have caused rotting. Using a small screwdriver, press gently on the wood in areas where water is known to collect – for example, at the bottom of any vertical posts. If the wood is soft and breakable then it is likely that moisture damage from winter’s rain and dampness is going to be an issue. Most of these problems can be easily fixed by removing damaged struts and replacing them with new timber.
Before making too many repairs, though, give the deck a thorough clean. Any fallen leaves or other organic material needs to be swept away, as it retains water and threatens the wood underneath. Use an old putty knife or other straight edge to clean the grooves between the base slats, where drainage channels can easily be blocked by ingrained dirt. Then, once the whole surface has been cleaned and any necessary repairs made, it is time to add a coat of sealant to make it properly ready for summer.
In winter, waterproofing is the main factor. In summer, it is the ultraviolet sunlight rays which can cause fading and damage. Ideally, the sealant or stain used will protect against both of these risks. Look for a labeled product which advertises a high level of UV protection.