How to maintain your deck for spring
As the temperature drops, our lives are slowly entering winter. With the arrival of winter comes heavy snowfall. After a winter of change, when spring comes, you need to clean your house, including maintain your outdoor deck. Everything looks better with a spring cleaning.
Spring is not only a great time for homeowners to spruce up their landscaping, but it’s also the perfect time to assess any damage and repairs needed on your wooden deck.
Here are a few ways to deck maintenance for spring
Look for damaged decks
During the long winter months, when snow piled up on your deck boards, you may not have noticed some obvious damage. But now, in the warm spring sunshine, take some time to thoroughly inspect your outdoor wood decking. See if the deck surface shows any of these problems below.
Look for softened, splintered, and any loose boards. In particular, you need to check the sill plate, the area where the outdoor deck is attached to the house. This is because rotting boards here can be dangerous to the entire deck structure.
Although mold is not as dangerous as wood decks rot, it still needs to be removed before more damage occurs. Do not use bleach when removing wood deck mold as it can damage your siding, sidewalks, and landscaping. Use decking boards stain or the manufacturer’s recommended wooden decks cleaner to remove the mold.
If there are parts of the wood deck where fasteners or screws are missing or loose, then any missing fasteners or screws need to be replaced immediately. If you see nails popping out of place, knock them back into place.
If you see signs of erosion on your wood deck, you may need to call in pest control.
If you’re not sure what to look for, or if you find damage but aren’t sure what to do next, call a professional.
Was the wood deck pressure washer before staining?
If you have a new wood deck, be sure to wait a few weeks before staining or sealing. Waiting a few weeks gives the pressure-treated wood time to dry. If you are not sure of the correct time, you can use the “sprinkle test”. Place a few drops of water on the wood. If the wood absorbs the water within 10 minutes, strain it as soon as possible. If the water forms beads on the surface of the wood, give it more time to dry.
It is a good idea to wash your deck before staining it. Since it’s new, you won’t need to do a deep clean like you would for a deck that has months of dirt on it. Of course, be cautious about using pressure washing, as high pressure can cause the wood to splinter. A simple sweep and wash with soapy water is a much better approach.
Do I need to sand my wood deck before staining?
Whether your deck is old or new, it’s a good idea to wash it before sanding. Otherwise, you could be sanding dirt into the deck fibers.
Once the deck is dry, it’s a good time to sand. Always wear goggles and gloves, and take special precautions when sanding any pressure-treated wood. Don’t sand too fine, which will prevent the stain from really sinking in, or too rough, causing the new stain to sink in too deeply and become too dark.
What is the best thing to use to clean the deck?
Avoid using bleach or chlorine. Instead, scrub with a cleaner that contains oxygenated bleach. Test the cleaner on a small area before applying it to the entire deck.
Again, avoid power washing unless you use a low-pressure setting and keep the nozzle at least 6 inches from the surface. Use a hand brush for any stained areas. When you are finished, rinse off the cleaner thoroughly with a garden hose.
Should you clean your deck boards after sanding?
This is a tricky question. Generally speaking, the answer depends on the surface of your deck. If your surface is rough, with splits and cracks, it may be best to sand it first. However, if you have any dirt or debris on your boards, you usually don’t want to sand.
After sanding, you’ll need to get the dirt off the board, but since you should have cleaned the board before sanding, it’s best not to clean it again. Instead, use a shop vacuum or leaf blower to remove the dust.
What is the best way to stain a deck?
Once you’ve washed and sanded your deck, you’re ready to stain it. Start with the deck railings and work your way down. Use a stain that has a built-in sealer to protect your wood and has UV protection. If your wood is naturally gorgeous, you may want to use a clear sealer or a light-colored stain. If the deck has more wear and tear, it may be better to use a darker stain.
Give your outdoor decking an upgrade
While outdoor decks bring more enjoyment, they also bring some extra labor. But these regular maintenance visits are essential to keep your deck looking great, as well as increase its longevity.
If you’re tired of staining every one to three years, consider upgrading your outdoor deck to a composite deck. With composite decking, all you need to do is keep the boards clean and no more maintenance work like staining or sealing. You’ll be able to enjoy the outdoors for a long time without the extra cost of maintenance.
Composite decking is environmentally friendly and available in many colors and wood grain. It is also highly resistant and will not rot, mold or warp, making it a quality material for outdoor decks.
Enhance your deck with outdoor furniture
Once your outdoor deck is ready to go, it’s time to give your furniture a refresh. The right furniture can give you a more comfortable outdoor enjoyment. Matching outdoor rugs and side tables help complete your outdoor living space.
Also, in addition to deck furniture, consider adding accessories to enhance your outdoor living space. From lighting to structures such as pergolas or deck roofs, you can create a deck with shade and beauty all year round.