Decks are known as a fun space to spend time outside and entertain guests. However, they also have a reputation for being difficult to maintain. Without proper TLC, decks can begin to look worse due to wear after a few years. To keep your deck looking as good as new, here are five tips that will protect it from the uncertainties Mother Nature delivers.
- Inspect your deck annually
Once the snow melts away for the season, it's important to check decks for damage that may have occurred. Inspect closely for loose boards, loose nails and screws, cracked boards, mold, or even rotted wood. Be sure to check the deck’s infrastructure as well… the frame can become rusty, loose, or detach from the home completely. For intensive repairs, like reattaching the frame, it may be best to call an expert.
- Clean your deck
After inspecting and making any necessary repairs to the deck, clean off layers of dirt that accumulated over the winter months. Thoroughly cleaning a deck helps prevent mold and moss from growing. Power washers are very effective in removing dirt and mill, but do so with caution. Pressure washers can damage deck boards if used carelessly. Deck cleansers can also be used and are available for both wood and composite deck materials.
- Seal or stain your deck
For long-term prevention of mold and mildew, use a stain or sealant. This will protect decks from water damage, mold, mildew, and will protect from color fading as well. To add color back into a faded deck, it's best to use a dark stain. Clear sealers are also an option for those who just want the added protection.
- Incorporate your deck into your lawncare routine
Most people neglect their deck after staining or sealing it, but it’s highly beneficial to incorporate deck maintenance into your seasonal lawncare routine. Regularly sweeping out leaves, dirt, and other debris that collect helps to prevent mold and mildew. If possible, rearrange deck furniture every so often to prevent uneven discoloration and sun damage.
- Prep your deck for winter, and manage it throughout the season.
At the end of the Summer when the warm weather begins to fade away, don't forget to prepare your deck for Winter. This means removing furniture, plants, and other items from the deck's surface. During the Autumn months, continue to sweep leaves and dirt off the deck to promote drainage. Then, throughout the Winter, remove snow as it builds up. If too much snow is left to sit, the boards can crack, break, or warp, and become water damaged. Also, avoid using salt to melt snow on a deck. The chemicals can make sealants less effective, alter the deck's color, or even damage the wood itself.
During deck maintenance this Summer, be sure to use the appropriate materials when making repairs. Composite and wood decks need different fasteners and materials to ensure strength and stability. FASCO America® offers a variety of tools specifically designed for composite decks. Download the whitepaper for more information on our materials, fasteners, and tools for composite decks below.