The summer is the best time to be out on your deck. Place some lounge chairs out there, along with maybe a table and a cold drink, and you’re all set. To properly enjoy the sunshine though, you’ve got to ensure your deck is in peak condition. Here are some wood deck maintenance tips to help you get your deck ready for the summer season.
The Importance Of Wood Deck Maintenance
Like most things in your home, your decking needs to be taken care of. This is especially true as it’s outdoors, exposed to the elements. It takes a battering over the winter, and so in the summer it’s going to look a little sorry for itself.
Luckily though, it’s fairly simple to spruce it up and get it ready for the summer, when you’ll be using it most. Use these tips to clean it up and get it looking and performing at its best.
1. Inspect Your Decking
Before you can do anything else to your decking, you need to thoroughly inspect it. You’re looking for any signs of wood rot, as they need to be addressed first before the rot spreads. If the deck has been well maintained, this shouldn’t be a problem. When inspecting your deck, don’t forget to check underneath it too. Wood rot can take hold in areas that aren’t easily seen, so ensure that you check everywhere.
If you do find some signs of wood rot, you’ll need to replace that wood before it goes any further. It may mean taking out some planks and replacing them, or cutting out areas of wood underneath the deck. Measure the area to get the right size wood to replace it, and then have the new wood installed.
2. Wash Your Deck
Over the colder months, dirt and other debris can start to build up on your deck. Now that the sun has come out, you can start to clean it off to make it look its best. To start, you’ll need to give the decking a good sweep, to get rid of any loose dirt. Use a putty knife to go in between the boards and ensure that nothing has been missed.
The best way to clean your deck is with a pressure washer. This helps blast the dirt off, and lets you get in between the cracks too. If there are any tough stains, you can treat them with chemical cleaners, but you’ll need to be careful to choose the right one for your deck. If you’re not sure how to do this, you can call in professionals to help.
Once the deck has been cleaned, allow it to dry out thoroughly before you start on the next step.
3. Replace Loose And Popped Nails
Loose and popped nails are annoying, as they’re able to snag feet as you walk over them. Also if they’re loose, they’re not holding the wood down securely. If you’re seeing these problems with your deck, you’ll need to replace those nails. Many choose to simply hammer them back down, but that’s not enough to properly mend them. A hammered down nail will simply pop back up at a later date, so it’s much better to replace them.
When you do this, ensure you’re using a nail the same size as the one you’re replacing. Hammer it in close to the original hole to replace it, and then place a deck screw over the top of it. This is designed to hold the nail in place and stop it popping back up again. If you want, you can cement it down with putty to make it extra secure.
4. Sand And Seal Your Deck
Now you’ve taken care of all the hard work, your deck is ready to be sealed. There are several types of sealant, so you’ll need to find the one that works best for you. For example, clear sealants will be able to keep the wood sealed, while still showing off the wood beneath. Semi transparent sealants will do something similar, but they’ll add a touch of color to the deck. It will still show off the grain, but it will also sink into the wood, protecting it.
The last option is a solid sealant. These are a good option if there are marks on your deck that you want to cover, as the color will block out the look of the wood entirely. These sealants also allow you to bring a pop of color to your yard if you’re looking for something different.
Whichever one you choose, now’s the time to pick one and seal your deck, ready for the summer.
5. Routine Wood Deck Maintenance is Key
Now that your deck has been fully cleaned up and sealed, you’ll need to do routine wood deck maintenance on it. The good news is because you’ve done the hard work, you won’t need to do so much hard work when you’re keeping up with it.
You’ll need to sweep the deck regularly, to remove any debris that falls on it. Debris will stain the deck if left there for long enough, so ensure that you’re removing it regularly to avoid this. You’ll also need to keep inspecting the deck, looking for any signs of damage, such as wood rot or loose nails. Replace wood and nails as and when needed, and you’ll stop damage from spreading.
As you work on the rest of the garden, you’ll need to consider your deck too. For example, if you’re spraying chemicals on your lawn, they may damage your deck if it comes into contact with it. Check the packaging of any chemicals you use, and ensure that they don’t touch your decking.
With these wood deck maintenance tips, you’ll be able to get your deck looking amazing for the summer. It doesn’t take much work to get even the most tired looking deck looking like new again, so now is the time to get started. Take good care of it now, and you’ll be ready to use it all summer long.