How do you maintain a wood deck? With careful planning and basic research! Today, we’ll be discussing the essential tasks of deck maintenance, both for annual and bi-annual care. By knowing how often to clean and re-stain your wood (and steering clear of harmful products), your family can enjoy the outdoor deck for many years to come!
What is Deck Maintenance?
The two primary purposes of deck maintenance are: to rejuvenate your wood, and to protect it from future damage. To accomplish these tasks, you’ll first need to understand how to thoroughly clean your wood. Next, you’ll need to know which staining products to embrace, and which to stay away from.
What You’ll Need to Get Started
Before you get started, carefully examine the decking for damage: degraded boards, exposed screws, etc. These need to be addressed each year to avoid unnecessary damage and/or injuries. After your inspection, it’s time to grab your materials. For the project, you’ll require:
- Protective Glasses and Gloves
- A Power Washer (that can supply 1200-1500 psi)
- Sanding Equipment (for non-powered sanding, 80-grit paper)
- Wood Deck Cleaner (oxygen or acid-based, no chlorine)
- Your Choice of Paint, Sealant, or Stain (see notes below)
You’ll want to have the area to yourself, so make sure to talk with your family about staying off the deck during the maintenance process.
Deck Maintenance in Winter
Cleaning your deck is a process that should be performed annually. There are several hazards that can harm your tough but vulnerable wood, all which must be addressed during your annual deck care. Your three cleaning targets will be miscellaneous stains (BBQ sauce, etc), discolored or faded wood, and biological growth.
After you’ve removed nearby furniture and plants, the first step is to sand down your wood deck. This will remove splintering sections of wood and finish. Use fine grit paper to avoid damaging the wood. Afterwards, take a soft bristle brush and finish off the initial cleaning by removing any stubborn spots.
Your next step is to kill any algae, mold, and bacterial growth that’s developed over the course of the last year. Avoid using any chlorine based bleach products, as these can harm the appearance and composition of your wood. Instead, select an acid-based or oxygen-based bleach. There are many effective brands for the occasion, such as such as Mold Armor. Application instructions should be included on the back of each product.
The second to last step of your annual deck maintenance (or biannual) is to remove the cleaner and leftover debris with a pressure washer. Keep your power setting at a mild 1200-1500 psi, or you could harm your decking. Stick to the lower end of that range for soft wood decks. The nozzle should be held at least 8 inches away from the surface, directing water with a 45 degree spread for maximum cleaning function.
Wood Deck Protection Steps
- Step #1: Sanding
- Step #2: Brushing
- Step #3: Applying Cleaner
- Step #4: Pressure Washing
- Step #5: Painting or Staining
Staining or Painting Your Deck
The last step for deck maintenance is applying your new paint or stain to the wood. Stains are typically recommended, because they sink into the wood for a much longer lifetime. Paint products are more likely to show their wear with time.
As for picking a staining product, that depends entirely on your personal preference and style tastes. For rustic looks, transparent or semi-transparent stains provide an excellent protective surface that doesn’t cover up the natural wood aesthetic. Make sure your stain or sealant is highly rated for UV protection, as sunlight can quickly fade exposed wood.
How Long Should a Deck Last?
With high quality wood and continued staining each year or so, your wood deck can last for up to 40 years. That’s a lot of maintenance, but it’s certainly worth the effort. If you work becomes too difficult or time consuming to continue, there are many qualified deck maintenance services available to complete it for you. You may need to talk with a specialist if your home has a rooftop patio installation. Be sure to ask any potential care company what kind of cleaning product they use, just in case.
Schedule Your Deck Maintenance and Repair!
Wood decks are a beautiful part of the home that are worth taking care of. At C & J Roofing LLC., we provide all sorts of helpful solutions to keep your home in great shape. That includes cedar deck repair, which can restore the functionality, protection, and color of your beautiful decking. If you’d like to learn more about our deck maintenance service, be sure to give our Chambersburg, PA team a call at 717-267-0059. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have!