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How to DIY enthusiasts can maintain and care for their outdoor decks?

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

An outdoor deck can make your home and yard more enjoyable and can increase the resale value of your house when you want to sell it. But owning a deck comes with some responsibilities, especially the task of regular maintenance and upkeep. Outdoor decks are exposed to the air all year round. Rot, mold, and insect damage are more likely to occur on a wood deck.

Compared to wood decking, composite decking is easier to take care of. This is because composite decking boards are composed of recyclable plastic and wood flour. The performance advantage of the raw material represents that composite decking has good water-releasing and pest-control properties. On the other hand, since wood is a natural material, it may be more susceptible to weather and insects and can absorb more water.

But if you perform regular maintenance work, you can make your wood deck last longer. If you want your outdoor deck to look great and last a long time, regular maintenance and care are very important. Let’s go over how to do wood deck maintenance work in detail.

Look for rotten and deteriorated wood

If you want to use your wood deck safely for more than a decade, it’s important to keep it in good condition. The North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) recommends that you should inspect your deck at least once a year to check it for rotten or decaying wood.

outdoor composite decking

When you look at your outdoor deck, carefully and thoroughly inspect all areas, surfaces, and joists. Here’s a quick, do-it-yourself checklist of the best ways to maintain and inspect your deck each year.

  1. Check the ledger board. This is the piece of wood that connects your outdoor deck to the house or other structure that holds your deck in place. Ledger boards are often one of the first places on a deck to show signs of decay. Flashing your ledger boards can help create a barrier against moisture and precipitation. Another reason ledger boards may be more susceptible to rot is that they may be made of wood that does not resist rot.
  2. Check the joists and support posts. Joists and support posts are important to the way your outdoor deck is built. Not only should you look for signs of rot in the joists and support posts, but you should also do good preventive maintenance on a regular basis.
  3. Inspect deck boards. Check the surface of your deck for signs of rot, insect damage, or boards where the wood has begun to crack. Check each deck board to make sure it is not loose, has small holes, or feels soft. Boards that are too loose should be tightened, and boards that are cracked or rotted should be replaced. If you can, you should also check the underside of your deck boards for rot and/or pests. Also, make sure there is enough space between the deck boards for water to drain and air to circulate.

How to check your deck for rot

  1. Prepare a screwdriver. You can inspect your deck with a screwdriver to see if the wood is soft or breaks easily. This could be a sign that the wood is rotting.
  2. Look for signs of pests. You can poke your deck with a screwdriver to find any areas that may be rotting, and you should also look carefully for small holes. These small holes could be signs that termites or other pests are getting into the wood, or that insects are living there.

Make sure fasteners, stairs, and railings are in good condition

For deck maintenance and upkeep, deck owners should check the nails or screws on the deck every so often to make sure they are still in good condition. It is especially important to check fasteners to ensure that outdoor decks and railings are not wobbly.

Ledger boards are one of the most important places to check to make sure your fasteners are in place. If your fasteners are not tight, your deck could pull away from the structure it is already standing on and fall over. Here’s a short checklist to make sure the fasteners on your deck are secure.

  • Ledger boards. Make sure your ledger board is securely attached to something that can stand on its own.
  • Stairs and railings. Check your stairs and railings to make sure they are secure and do not show any signs of decay or decay.
  • Stair risers and stanchions. When you look at your stairs and balusters, check the risers and struts. Check to see if any of your stairs’ fasteners are loose and if they feel stable and secure.
  • Check for loose screws or nails. Check your deck boards for loose and buckled screws or nails. This can be dangerous and allow people to trip on your deck, or it can mean that your deck boards have come loose. Knock these nails down and/or replace any loose or worn screws.
  • Check bolts, nails, and screws. Check any screws or bolts for rust or corrosion. Inventory any rusty nails or screws and replace them with new ones. If you live near a saltwater environment, use stainless steel fasteners.

Clean the deck and remove debris

Even composite decking needs to be cleaned thoroughly. By cleaning your deck frequently and making sure it is free of debris and trash, you will not only keep it in good condition, but you will also make it a safer place to be. If you clean your outdoor deck regularly, mold and mildew can’t grow, and if left unchecked, it can lead to rot.

Here are some ways to clean and maintain your deck.

  • Set a regular cleaning schedule. In order to do a good job of deck maintenance, you need to stick to a schedule. At least once or twice a year, give your deck a deep cleaning. Cleaning your deck in early spring is a great way to get it ready for summer barbecues and other gatherings in warmer weather.
  • Sweep your deck regularly. You should treat your deck like you would any other room in your home. Sweep it weekly or biweekly to make sure dust and other things don’t stick to it.
  • Clean up leaves and trash. Leaves and other things that can blow onto your outdoor decks, such as trash like used napkins or plastic bags, should be swept up and taken off of it regularly. Not only can these things cause people to trip and fall, but they can also cause mold to grow on your deck if they get wet or damp.
  • Remove debris from between the seams of your deck. In addition to sweeping your deck frequently, you should also look between the seams of the boards to make sure nothing is stuck there. If wet or rotting leaves are stuck there, mold can also grow in the spaces between the deck boards. You can use a putty knife to clean between the boards.
  • Use the right cleaning products. In order to keep your deck in good condition, it’s important to use the right cleaning solution. You don’t want to use something too rough or you will damage the deck surface.

Stain and seal your wood deck

Staining and sealing your wood deck is an important part of deck maintenance. This should be done once a year to prevent rot and decay of the wood deck. There are a few key points to keep in mind when you are staining or sealing your deck.

The clear, water-resistant coating that can be applied to your wood deck is called a sealer. When it dries, it creates a “seal” between your deck and the outside world. This prevents water from entering and causing rot.

Deck stain is a solution with tints or pigments that can make a wood deck look better or change its color. Although many modern deck stains are designed to be waterproof, you should always check the label to make sure the deck stain is also a sealer.

If your deck stain does not come with a protective sealer, you will need to add an extra layer of sealer to finish your deck. This will keep the stain from wearing off in high-traffic areas and make your deck look uneven. More importantly, it will give your deck an added layer of water resistance, protecting it from water damage.

When applying sealer or stain, it’s best to do it when the weather is nice. Check the weather forecast ahead of time to make sure you can stain and seal your deck when the weather is dry. Rain or snow can ruin all your hard work!

Before staining or sealing your deck, don’t forget to read the stain and sealer manufacturer’s instructions for more information. Below we have listed things to keep in mind when staining and sealing your outdoor deck.

Dos and Don’ts When Staining and Sealing Decks

Wait for the deck to dry thoroughly after cleaning. If you have cleaned or washed the deck thoroughly, wait at least 48 hours. Make sure it has had enough time to dry before you stain or seal it. However, if your deck is in a shady part of the yard and doesn’t get much sunlight, you may have to wait a little longer for it to dry thoroughly before you stain or seal it.

Check the weather forecast. Remember to check the weather forecast before doing this maintenance work. to make sure there will be a drying period while you stain or seal the wood. If you want your stain and sealer to stick well, the best temperature is between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove furniture from the deck. Remove any furniture, potted plants, or anything else that is on top of the deck before staining it. Stains or sealers can harm plants or furniture, so be sure to cover them and any nearby grass or shrubs with plastic sheeting, tarps, or garbage bags. If you have a raised deck, you can cover the ground underneath with a tarp to keep the stain or sealer from getting on your grass or anything else.

Sand the deck. This step is optional, but if you haven’t sanded your deck in a long time and there are many layers of sealer or stain on the surface, you should do it. Before you stain or seal your deck, you should sand it. This will help the stain or sealer adhere better. When you sand your deck, you can remove any old stain or sealer from the surface and smooth out any wood chips. Sand the surface of your deck with 80-grit sandpaper. You can make this easier by using a pole sander instead of sanding on your hands and knees.

Apply a stain or sealer to a clean deck. After sanding the deck, make sure you sweep away the dust and grit. To remove dust, you can sweep or use a hair dryer. Before staining or sealing your deck, make sure your deck is clean. This will help your stain or sealer stick to the outdoor deck and prevent any dirt or debris from being “sealed” in. Be careful not to use the hose to remove dirt! Before staining or sealing your deck, it needs to be dry.

Note: If the stain you want to use does not have a sealer built in, you will want to stain your deck first, then wait for the stain to dry before applying the sealer. Stain takes time to dry, so wait at least a full day before applying the sealer or moving the furniture back to the deck. If you need to apply a sealer over your stain, wait 24 hours before doing so. Then, let your sealer dry for another 24 to 48 hours before walking on your deck.

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