From the moment construction is completed, outdoor decks are constantly exposed to the elements so regular upkeep and maintenance are required. Keeping up with it will protect the homeowner’s investment, help them avoid costly repairs, and extend the life and enjoyment of this outdoor space. Here are some basic tips to pass along to help your client’s next deck construct live a long and happy life and reduce the likelihood of callbacks.
This one may seem obvious, but homeowners should regularly inspect their deck. It will provide the visual cues that care is needed. Twice a year is a good rule of thumb, checking it in the Spring before heavy use begins, and then again in the Fall when it’s time to put the furniture away for the upcoming winter.
The homeowner can easily do this. They just need to check the deck’s construction to make sure it’s still sturdy and safe by examining the boards, checking if anything is loose, warping or corroding, testing the railing for stability, plus looking at the screws and fasteners. If they notice anything, they should consult you or a carpenter for repairs.
In addition, your client should also look for signs of water damage, like mold, mildew and rot. These problems are often caused by lack of care. Rotted wood will need to be replaced right away otherwise the whole structure is compromised, while mildew and mold can be solved with proper cleaning.
Keep it Clean
Speaking of which, keeping the deck clean will also help extend its life. In Spring, your client should first remove any debris that may have collected and thoroughly sweep it, followed by a total scrub-down (making sure to cover any nearby plants since cleaning chemicals can damage them). Two things to consider when cleaning it: Don’t just use any cleaning supplies. Recommend a cleanser that is best for the type of material the deck is made of. For example, a PVC deck should just be cleaned with mild soap and warm water, while a composite deck requires a specialty cleaner. Also, suggest they clean it on a cloudy day, because strong sun will evaporate the cleaner.
Paint, Stain, Seal
Once the deck is clean and they’ve waited two days after to make sure it’s fully dry, treating the deck - if it’s wooden - is the final step. It will take 2 days to treat: One day to sand, the second day to seal. The homeowner will need to a choose the look they want for their deck, which will then influence if they require a clear sealer, a toner for a pop of color, or a stain.
Otherwise, to help your clients extend the life of their deck, remind them to trim nearby bushes and trees (by at least 12 inches), and regularly move any potted plants to avoid staining. All of these tips will help them be able to enjoy their deck for years to come.
Build it Right the First Time
If you want to build decks that reduce the likelihood of callbacks and the dreaded nail pops, turn to the hidden fasteners in the SCRAIL® InvisiDeck® Hidden System. This deck fastening system creates a completely smooth finish with no visible fasteners. Designed to be used with grooved boards, it can be adapted for use in non-grooved hardwood or composite materials with the use of BECK's groove cutter. The clips and SCRAIL® are installed under the deck's surface and hold tight without being seen.