A deck or porch is a great addition to your home that will give you peace and tranquility.  Maintaining it, however, can be a nightmare. A deck is constantly exposed to the elements and weathering can even appear days after construction. But as long as you provide routine maintenance, most deck fixes can be done by yourself. Here are a few tips to get your deck in tip-top shape.

Splish Splash Your Deck is Taking a Bath

Washing your deck is an important factor in keeping it maintained. An unwashed deck will cause mold and mildew to grow, which can lead to premature rotting. Here’s how to properly wash your deck:

  1. The first thing you should do is remove all debris between deck boards. A great way to do that is by using a putty knife. Be sure to pay attention to the areas where deck boards cross the joists.deck board joists
  2. If you have any plants or flowers near your deck, remember to protect them. Plastic sheeting is an easy way to cover them.
  3. Now it’s time to sweep, then wash. Choose an appropriate cleanser for your deck. Is your deck wood, composite, or vinyl? Be sure to pay attention to what type of cleanser you’re purchasing.
  4. Once you’re done washing, it’s important to wait two days before sealing.

Your Deck’s Boards are Sealed

It can be expected to reapply clear sealers and toners annually. A good routine is to reapply stain finishes every other year. Here’s how to stain your deck:

  1. When you seal the deck it’s a good idea to choose a two-day period when you will have clear skies and moderate temperatures.
  2. Begin by lightly sanding the deck. Sanding it will remove any furriness caused by washing.
  3. Next, remove and replace any nails that are lose or popping out.
  4. Now it’s time to apply the sealer or stain. When you apply the stain cover three or four boards at a time. Tip: two thin coats is better than one thick one.

Turn into Inspector Gadget in the Summer

Once the weather is hot and dry give your deck’s structure a close inspection. This is where you should pay particular attention to any areas within six inches of the ground or downspouts and planters.

These are things to look for:

  • Signs of rot
  • Ledger condition, also known as the important piece of framing that attaches the deck to the house
  • Cracks or rotten decking boards
  • Railing condition

General Repair Tips

  • To get rid of every day dirt from a wood deck, try using a mild household detergent in water to wash it.
  • If the wood is soft it’s time to replace it.
  • When nails are popping out of the boards it’s best to replace them with longer, thicker nails. Those typically have a better hold.

Besides cleaning, staining and repairing there are other ways to get your deck ready for spring. How about adding to or modifying? You could replace those old corded lights for hassle-free solar lighting. If you’ve had your furniture for a couple of years, there’s a good chance it’s faded. So, go shopping! You can build planter boxes to incorporate more greenery. The possibilities are endless! After you shape up your patio, don’t forget to add curb appeal. Use your creativity and enjoy the spring season in style.

How to Get Your Deck Ready for Spring