Fall is the perfect time for deck maintenance. When you take proper care of your outdoor deck you will be able to extend its life. Here a few helpful deck maintenance tips for the fall season that will keep your outdoor space looking healthy.
Make sure your deck is safe going into winter. You want to spot damage before it becomes a bigger problem. Wood decking is susceptible to a variety of problems like rotting and insect damage. If your deck feels soft or spongy to walk on or the screws won’t hold onto boards, these are good indications that you have rot. Other things to look for are railings that are loose and ledger boards that are not securely attached to your house.
If you your deck is surrounded by trees add checking the branches above the deck to you list. It is a good idea to cut branches that are at a risk of falling through the winter now, rather than wait till heavy snow or ice bring them down.
Keeping the deck clear of leaves and debris is a difficult task in the fall. If you can try not let them sit on there for long periods of time. Also, as you decorate for the holidays and celebrations be mindful of the decorations you use. A pumpkin is a great decoration for fall, but if it starts to rot on your wood surface it can cause damage and stains.
Giving your deck a routine cleaning will help keep the deck in overall good health. People and pets can grind particles left on the deck into the finish damaging it. Also, if you have a grill on the deck drips and such from cooking can create places that attack the finish. It’s a good idea, once or twice a season, to wash the deck down with some dish soap and a straw brush or broom. By keeping your deck clean you will get the most wear out of your finish.
Pressure washing is another effective way to deep clean a deck. Be careful if you choose to pressure wash, because you can also easily ruin your deck. If you get the tip to close or use too much pressure you can harm the finish or the wood itself.
It is recommended that you stain or seal your deck every three to four years. You know your deck needs to be resealed when water no longer beads above the deck surface, and absorbs into the boards instead. Before staining thoroughly clean the deck and check that the wood is not rotten or needing repair. Proper preparation of your deck is important to the health and longevity of your deck.
Make sure the wood is dry before you apply your stain or sealant. If the moisture content is too high it won’t accept the stain very well and your finish can easily peel. You can use a moisture meter to check, look for a moisture content of around 15 percent. When the wood is dry the pores of the wood open are more receptive to the stain. This will allow your finish to last for a much longer time.
As your deck ages, you may need to switch to a thicker bodied stain such as a solid color stain or other heavier coatings to seal up the wood. As wood ages, it starts to separate and cracks start to appear. A thicker bodied stain will fill most of these and allow a longer life for your deck boards.
It takes some work to maintain your deck, but doing so will keep it in much better shape for the seasons to come. We hope you will enjoy some time on your well-maintained deck this fall.