Everyone understands that in order for a deck to stand the test of time, it must be properly maintained. A deck is a very valuable investment, and must be treated as such. Proper maintenance means more than regular cleaning. Let’s take a look at the typical year with your deck.
Atlanta winters aren’t usually terrible; unless you still aren’t over the shocking winter weather episodes that occurred during the 2014 winter. We all know that isn’t typical Atlanta winter weather! So during the winter, keep an eye on your deck. Walk along the edges, keeping an eye out for screws or nails that may have come loose. Take an overall mental image of the deck, and pay close attention to anything that looks out of place.
Thoroughly clean all surfaces of the deck. Here is the process we recommend:
- Remove all debris from the deck and railings. Pay special attention to the space between the flooring boards. Use a putty knife or another small utensil to get rid of dirt or debris from between the boards.
- Wet all surrounding plants and cover them with plastic sheeting so chemicals don’t damage them.
- Purchase a cleaner that is especially designed for your type of deck.
o Wood deck cleaners are available in a variety of styles. Some require that the deck be thoroughly wet and others require a dry application. Choose the style that works best for you, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
o Composite deck cleaners are designed to remove excess dirt from your deck without harsh chemicals. Choose a brand that you trust and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
o Vinyl or cellular PVC decks may be washed with water and a mild soap.
- All deck types may be pressure washed, but make sure not to damage the finish. A composite deck, for example, requires water pressure to be no higher than 3100 psi, and the use of a fan attachment.
- Clean the deck on a cloudy day if possible. The hot Atlanta sun will evaporate cleaners and dry the surface of the deck before you’re finished cleaning. Alternatively, you may choose to do the cleaning during the fall after the heat of summer is diminished.
- Allow a wood deck to dry for at least two days before sealing.
Sealing the Deck
Wood decks require sealing on a regular basis. Read the instructions on the particular brand of sealer you prefer. Some must be reapplied each year where others may be applied every two years.
- Make sure you have adequate time. Use a three-day weekend if necessary.
- Use 80 grit sandpaper to gently scuff up the surface and prepare it for the sealant.
- Double check the entire deck for any damages, and peck any loose nails back into place using a hammer.
- Apply the sealant according to the manufacturer’s instructions and allow it to dry thoroughly before walking on it.
Enjoy your deck throughout the summer! Occasionally make a visual inspection to look for bee nests, insects, popped nails or screws, or any other damages. This visual inspection is simply part of home ownership, you probably casually inspect your entire home and property from time to time without even realizing it.
Inspect the deck railing, supports, flooring, and overall condition. Repair any damages immediately.
- Trim any nearby trees or bushes that may damage the deck or the finish. We recommend keeping all shrubbery and trees at least 12 inches away from the surface of the decking material to prevent mold, moss, and rot.
- Don’t let dead leaves pile up in the corners. We understand how difficult this can be!
Many homeowners simply don’t have time to handle all of the deck maintenance on their own. Give us a call if your deck needs attention this year and you’re unable to do the job for whatever reason. We’ll help with your deck or outdoor living space needs.