Decks are a quite popular and low-cost way of adding living space to a home. They open up the home, provide a convenient way to enjoy sitting outside and facilitate entertainment. Unfortunately, decks are also subject to the harsh exterior weather conditions, which makes deck care and maintenance critical to their durability.
The damaging weather elements often cause discoloration, flaking, cracking, and algae/mildew growth, among other damages. Over time, splinters may also form, creating a rough surface that may invite more dirt and organic growth.
Deck Care and Maintenance Tips
Inspect Your Deck Regularly
Inspection is an extremely important part of deck maintenance –it helps you catch the less obvious damages much sooner. Check especially for any signs of water damage, excessive moisture, rot and insect damage. Check also for any loosening boards and protruding nails and have them repaired as soon as possible. A thorough inspection should be done at least four times per year.
Keep Your Deck Clean
When dirt, dust, and debris is left sitting on your deck for too long, it creates favorite conditions for the proliferation of mildew, mold, and bacteria. Regularly give your deck a good sweep to get rid of any loose surface dust, leaves, and debris. Remove any debris that’s fallen through the boards with a putty knife. Pressure wash your deck 2-3 per year to remove grimy dirt that can’t be cleaned during normal sweeping.
Seal Your Deck
Your deck should always be sealed to protect it against moisture from dew and rainfall, which often causes the wood to swell. Sealing the deck will also protect it against the sun, which can shrink and dry the wood. The alternating cycles of expanding and shrinking will cause the wood to warp, cup, crack and gray. It also promotes organic growth. Before sealing the deck, it needs to be sanded and completely dried.
Take Special Steps For a New Deck.
You always need to take extra precaution when dealing with a new deck. Usually, you will want to have it professionally cleaned to kill mildew and remove any accumulated surface impurities that might prevent future deck treatments from penetrating. But be sure to wait for at least 60 days for the deck to settle before sealing or staining it.
Remove Rotting or Split Wood.
Split boards not only look bad but are also more likely to develop splinters when not addressed. While at it, check if there is any rot developing. Remove any rotten or split board –you might cut off the damaged area or replace the entire plank. It’s easy to miss wood rot because it tends to develop in areas out of sight. So be sure to check under and in between the boards.
Stain Your Deck
If your deck is starting to look significantly dated and discolored, you might want to have it refinished. If you have some staining skills and the right tools, you could give DIY deck staining a try. But we highly suggest that you hire a professional deck staining professional for better protection and increased durability of your deck.
Typically, the deck needs to be pressure washed first to remove any surface dirt and debris, and any old sealer sanded off before applying new stain. There’re different types of stains with varying opacity, formulations and color pigmentation, and your professional painter might be able to advise on the best pick. However, semi-transparent stains are generally the most preferred.
The Bottom Line
With a regular and well-thought-out deck care and maintenance plan in place, your deck can last much longer and serve you better while helping you reduce repair costs. If you’re considering hiring a painting contractor in Amador County, California to handle your deck staining, Hines Painting Company can be of help. Just contact us to book an estimate and we will take over everything from thereon.