Decks are a simple way to add some extra living and relaxing space to homes. They provide spaces for summer parties, entertainment, and outdoor dining. When outdoors, decks are also the most exposed surfaces to damaging weather elements such as rain, frost, humidity and UV rays.
Deck maintenance is therefore critical in keeping your deck looking clean, new and intact. Regular deck maintenance prevents discoloration caused by dirt, moss, algae, and other plants. If they’re not cleared in time, they damage the wood surface leading to the formation of splinters that roughen the surface and invite even more dirt. With that said, here are some quick tips for minimizing damages and maintaining your deck.
1. Clean Regularly
Your deck needs to be professionally cleaned at least once every year to prevent accumulation of dirt and debris. A wood cleaner will clear most dirt, stains, mold, and mildew to prevent your deck from being discolored. More considerable buildup may require a degreaser or stain remover. If you’re washing in preparation for painting, you will need to follow this up with sanding.
2. Seal the Deck
Applying a sealant or a waterproofing agent repels water and helps your deck withstand extended exposure to moisture. Have your deck professionally cleaned and sealed at least every 2 to 3 years. If you choose to do it yourself, you will probably have to repeat the sealing yearly.
3. Avoid Paint
Painting your deck or staining it using a solid stain is a viable option, however, these finishes eventually peel and require a significant amount of maintenance. As earlier mentioned, your deck is the most vulnerable and most exposed to damaging weather elements. Where possible, use oil-based clear stains since they fade naturally and gradually. The signs of stains failure on clear stained surfaces are also less obvious compared to paint or solid stain.
4. Pay Special Attention to a New Deck
If you just installed your deck, it will need special attention to make sure you get the longest durability. Have it professionally cleaned to kill any mildew spores in the wood and to remove any surface impurities that may prevent deck sealing products from penetrating. The new deck should then be sealed using a waterproofing sealant. But it needs to be given at least 60 days to “age” before it can be sealed and stained.
5. Stain the Deck
While a few homeowners choose to paint their decks, it’s not generally recommended. The same applies to solid stain as mentioned above. A clear or lightly stained finish is the most recommended. If you must use paint, start with a stain-blocking oil or alkyd primer first. You should generally use finishes that penetrate into the wood instead of forming a surface film. Three most important characteristics of a deck finish product are: it should be waterproof, offer UV protection and where necessary, contain a mildewcide to protect against mildew growth.
6. Consult a Professional
Deck maintenance might seem like an easy DIY task, but without the right skills, tools, and experience, you can easily make mistakes that will cut short the durability of your deck. You can save yourself a considerable hassle and costly issues by simply hiring a professional.
A professional painting contractor has the training, skills and the right tools, and they will know exactly which products to use in different areas. The Pro will also ensure that your job is done right the very first time. Most DIY projects end up lasting for a much shorter time and cost you more money in the long run.
Having said that, if you need any help pressure washing, staining, painting or refinishing your deck, our professional crew can help.