Tips for Annual Deck Maintenance
So, your roof looks great & is well-maintained – but what about your deck?
When you live in a coastal region you must put more thought and work into the proper maintenance and care of your decking. Take a look at some of the steps you should be taking to keep your decking in good shape.
Protect Your Deck From Rain
The Washington coast is known for many things, one of which is moist weather. That moisture can take its toll on your deck if you don’t take the appropriate steps to protect the decking. Install a cover, such as a patio roof or a permanent canopy, so rainwater drips around the decking rather than on the decking.
Wash and Seal the Deck at the End of Spring
Once the end of spring approaches, give the decking a good cleaning. Otherwise, the deck will be at risk of mildew and mold, which will continue to grow and cause your beautiful decking to rot and need repairing or even a full replacement.
Remove all debris including leaves, twigs, and needles from between each deck board using a sharp object. A knife, a putty knife, or a pipe cleaner may work best for this job.
Sweep all the dirt and leaves off of the deck surface. Use a cleanser that is intended for use on the type of decking you have. Always follow the instructions on the container because the instructions themselves will differ depending on whether you have vinyl, wood, or composite decking.
Give your deck a couple of days to completely dry after you have thoroughly cleaned the deck surface. Finish the job by sealing the deck with an appropriate sealant. Again, follow the directions on the container since they can vary. Sealing the deck is the last step. Once the deck dries, you can enjoy the patio knowing you have protected the deck for the next season.
Inspect the Deck Each Summer
Summer is a good time to inspect the deck. If you find issues that need repairing, the weather will be more forgiving this time of year.
Look for rot in the deck by taking a screwdriver and poking at various parts of the deck to feel for softness. Go under the deck and look at the deck, specifically paying close attention to the posts and the areas where the deck meets the decking.
Look at all the hardware to verify the hardware is free of rust. Make sure the deck has been constructed with screws rather than nails.
Check the top and bottom of the deck for cracked boards. While cracked boards don’t automatically mean that the deck is rotting, the boards should be replaced to ensure the deck maintains good integrity.
Don’t forget to pay close attention to the rails. Check each rail post for visual signs of issues. Try to move the posts and the railings; you shouldn’t find them to have any give. Make sure you don’t see any cracks in the posts.
Keep the Area Under the Deck Free of Debris
Rake and remove any leaves and needles that get blown under the deck. Leaving them in place will increase the risk of your deck rotting because the piles of leaves and needles will retain moisture. When the weather heats up, the humidity will keep your deck boards moist and at a greater risk of mildew and mold.