Tips & Tricks for Deck MaintenanceSeasonal and annual deck maintenance will help protect, prevent, and maintain you decks look, feel, and quality. Following a simply maintenance schedule will ensure that your deck stays looking great all year long. Our deck maintenance schedule is broken up into three different seasons; Late Spring, Midsummer, and Early Fall.
Late Spring (Part 1) - Wash Your Deck
- Remove all debris from between deck boards using a putty knife.
- Protect all shrubs and plantings around the deck by covering them with plastic sheeting.
- Thoroughly sweep the deck.
- Choose an appropriate cleanser
For wood decks, use a standard deck cleaner and follow its instructions.
When choosing a cleanser for composite decks make sure to find a specific cleaner that is formulated for composite materials. To remove oil or grease stains, use a commercial degreaser or detergent.
For a vinyl deck, you can simply use warm water and a mild soap to remove any mold, mildew, and dirt from your deck.5. Clean your deck with the appropriate cleaner. For the best results, choose a cloudy day when the decking is cool and the sun wont evaporate the cleaner.
For wood decks, use a paint roller, a garden sprayer, or a stiff-bristled brush brook to apply the cleaner. Don’t let the cleaner pool. Do not let the deck dry because you’ve scrubbed it clean. Once the cleaner has soaked (refer to manufacture’s instructions) rinse the deck thoroughly with clean water.
For composite decks, use a soft brush to scrub deck. Do not use a pressure washer – it can permanently damage the decking and will void any deck warranty. Remove any rust and leaf stains with a deck brightener containing oxalic acid.
Vinyl decks should be scrubbed in a circular motion using a stuff broom, then rinsed thoroughly6. Let deck dry for two days before sealing.
Late Spring (Part 2) – Seal the Deck
- Schedule a two-day period to seal your deck when there will be clear skies and moderate temperatures.
- Lightly sand your deck using a pole sander equipped with 80-grit paper to remove any furriness caused by washing.
- Replace any missing or popped nails and screws with deck screws slightly longer than a nail. If a nail only slight protrudes your best bet is to hammer it back into the wood. Pulling out a nail that is only slightly sticking out of the wood may do more harm than good.
- Use a roller to apply the sealer or stain to the decking, covering three or four boards at a time. Use brushed and small rollers for railings, planters, and benches. Don’t let the sealant dry or puddle. TIP: two thin coats is better than one thick one.
Midsummer – Inspect & Repair Your Deck
- Look for signs of rot by probing structural members with a flat-blade screwdriver. Start by checking the stairs, especially where the stringers (the saw-tooth notched pieces that support the steps) meet the ground. Also check each perimeter post. TIP: if you can push a screwdriver a quarter-inch or more into a suspect area, you probably have rot
- Inspect the ledger by using a flashlight underneath your deck. Make sure to pay special attention to the ledger (the important piece of framing that attaches the deck to the house). A damaged ledger is the cause of 90% of all deck collapses.
- Check all remaining joists, posts and beams, including all hardware underneath your deck. Any joist hangers that are seriously rusted should be replaced. Probe around joists and posts for any signs of rot. If anything looks doubtful, call in a pro to provide an estimate for any needed repairs.
- Check for cracks or rotten decking boards. Not all cracks are a structural threat, but they will get worse with time. It’s better to replace any damaged pieces before it is too late.
- Check the railing by giving it a good shake to ensure all posts are secure. Additionally, look for any crack that may have developed over time around nails or screws.
Early Fall – Preventative MeasuresIn case you forgot, or didn’t get a change in the spring, fall is a good time to wash or seal your deck. If you already washed and sealed your deck, use the fall to keep your deck in good shape by trimming surrounding bushed and trees. TIP: occasionally moving around planters, chairs, and tables will help prevent the deck from becoming discolored. Check back soon for our FAQ page!