Whether your deck is entirely made of wood or also includes aluminum balusters for decks, it needs periodic upkeep to help it resist the elements to remain beautiful and in good repair. Even pressure-treated wood is potentially vulnerable to damage from the sun and the rain. What follows are some important tips to help you protect and preserve your deck for many years of outdoor enjoyment.
1. Perform Light Cleaning Regularly
Remove debris like branches and leaves. Clear away snow and standing puddles of water. Perform these light cleaning tasks as the need arises.
2. Clean Deeply on an Annual Basis
Once a year, when the weather is moderately warm and dry, use a sprayer or roller to apply an appropriate deck-cleaning solution to kill bacteria and mold. Avoid a pressure washer or a power washer and use a garden hose with a hard-stream nozzle to clear the residue. Be prepared to scrub problem areas with a utility brush.
3. Inspect for Damage
As a homeowner, you have a responsibility to repair any issues that could pose a health hazard. Before your annual deep clean, inspect your deck for any signs of serious damage and make the repairs before cleaning.
4. Be Mindful of the Cleaning Agents You Use
You should only use a cleaning solution on your deck that is intended for that purpose. Avoid using chlorine bleach as it damages the structure of the wood in addition to stripping it of its color. Also be mindful of the effect that cleaning agents and sealants can have on surrounding vegetation. Loosely cover plants near your deck with a tarp before cleaning.
5. Avoid Paint
If you want to add color to your deck, there are solid-colored and semi-transparent stains that can produce the effect you want. You can then protect your deck by applying sealant. Paint is vulnerable to the weather and will eventually peel, crack, and look generally distressed. Proper routine deck maintenance can help preserve your home’s beauty and protect your investment.