Ways to Keep Your Deck Protected

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Home Improvement

While you can’t control the elements that your deck is exposed to, you can take steps to protect it and extend its lifespan. Learn more about how to keep your deck in good condition with these tips and tricks.
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Your deck takes a lot of abuse from the elements, as well as regular foot traffic from people and pets. From water and dirt to algae and bird droppings, your deck has likely seen it all. With all of these challenges, it’s amazing that decks can last for years on end. However, as a responsible deck owner, there are steps you can take to protect your deck and ensure that it lasts for many seasons to come.

While it’s important to clean and seal your deck on a regular basis, it’s also important to perform smaller maintenance tasks on a regular basis. These tasks can help you catch problems early on and prevent major issues from developing. By staying on top of maintenance, you can keep your deck clean, safe, and in good condition.

On the next page, we’ll explore some simple, easy steps that you can take to keep your deck protected and in great condition.

Simple Steps for Protecting Your Deck

Sweeping your deck regularly is one of the most important things you can do to keep it in good condition. Pay close attention to any cracks or spaces between the decking. Be sure to clean up stains as soon as you see them, and trim any bushes or shrubs that are encroaching on your deck. Wipe down furniture and planters every so often to prevent debris from building up. Keep an eye out for loose nails or warped boards and address these issues promptly.

If you’re planning a major cleaning and sealing project, autumn is the ideal time to tackle it. Look for temperate, dry weather and make sure it hasn’t rained for a few days before and after you plan to work on your deck. The cleaning method you use will depend on the materials your deck is made of. For wood decks, pressure washing can be risky, and it may be better to use oxygen bleach and a scrub brush instead. Composite decks can be cleaned with a special cleaner and gentle pressure washing. Be sure to wait a few days after cleaning before you apply sealant.

When you’re ready to seal your deck, be sure to choose a product that’s appropriate for your decking materials. A synthetic resin sealant may work well for most wood decks, but cedar decks may require a water-based epoxy. Look for a solid or semi-transparent product that will provide UV protection for your deck. Above all, be sure to read and follow the instructions carefully to ensure that you get the most out of your deck protection products.

Additional Information

Related Articles

  • Ideas for Decks
  • Expanding Your Outdoor Living Space
  • Top 10 Tips for Outdoor Living

Sources

  • Carter, Tim. “Removing Stains on Composite Decking with Oxygen Bleach.” The Washington Post. Sep 18, 2010. (Jul 31, 2012) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/16/AR2010091607839.html
  • Carter, Tim. “How to Clean a Deck.” Ask the Builder. (Jul 31, 2012) http://www.askthebuilder.com/how-to-clean-a-deck/
  • Do it Yourself. “Tips for Deck Care.” (Jul 31, 2012) http://www.doityourself.com/stry/deckcaretips
  • Do it Yourself. “How to Pressure Wash a Composite Deck.” (Jul 31, 2012) http://www.doityourself.com/stry/how-to-pressure-wash-a-composite-deck/
  • Provey, Joe. “Spring Maintenance: Spruce up Your Deck.” DIY Life. Mar 22, 2010. (Jul 31, 2012) http://www.diylife.com/2010/03/22/spring-maintenance-spruce-up-your-deck/

FAQ

1. What are the most common causes of damage to decks?

Decks can be damaged by a variety of factors, including weather, insects, and heavy foot traffic. Exposure to moisture can cause wood to rot or warp, while termites and other insects can eat away at the wood. Heavy foot traffic can cause boards to loosen or crack, while exposure to sunlight can cause fading and discoloration.

2. What are some preventative measures you can take to protect your deck?

One of the best ways to prevent damage to your deck is to keep it clean and dry. Sweep away debris regularly and use a power washer to remove dirt and grime. Apply a sealant or stain to protect the wood from moisture, insects, and UV rays. You can also install a shade structure or awning to reduce exposure to sunlight and weather.

3. Is it necessary to use a professional to install a deck?

While it is possible to install a deck yourself, it is often best to hire a professional. They have the expertise and experience to ensure that the deck is installed correctly and safely. They can also help you choose the right materials and design to fit your needs and budget.

4. Can you build a deck over an existing patio or concrete slab?

Yes, it is possible to build a deck over an existing patio or concrete slab. However, it is important to ensure that the surface is level and structurally sound. You may need to add additional support or framing to the existing structure to ensure that it can support the weight of the deck.

5. What are the benefits of using composite decking?

Composite decking is a popular alternative to traditional wood decking. It is made from a combination of wood fibers and plastic, which makes it more durable and resistant to moisture, insects, and rot. It also requires less maintenance than wood decking and can be installed in a variety of colors and styles.

6. How often should you clean and maintain your deck?

You should clean and maintain your deck at least once a year, preferably in the spring or fall. This will help to remove dirt, debris, and stains that can cause damage to the wood over time. You should also inspect your deck regularly for signs of damage or wear and tear.

7. What are some signs that your deck needs repair or replacement?

Some signs that your deck may need repair or replacement include loose or cracked boards, rotting wood, insect damage, and uneven or unstable structure. If your deck is more than 10-15 years old, it may also be time to consider replacement.

8. What are some common mistakes to avoid when building or maintaining a deck?

Some common mistakes to avoid when building or maintaining a deck include using the wrong type of wood, failing to apply a protective sealant or stain, overloading the deck with too much weight, and neglecting to clean and maintain the deck regularly.

9. Can you use a pressure washer to clean your deck?

Yes, you can use a pressure washer to clean your deck, but you should take care to use the right pressure and nozzle setting to avoid damaging the wood. You should also avoid using hot water, which can cause the wood to expand and warp.

10. What are some eco-friendly options for decking materials?

Some eco-friendly options for decking materials include composite decking made from recycled plastic and wood fibers, bamboo decking, and reclaimed wood decking. These materials are more sustainable and environmentally friendly than traditional wood decking.

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