Tips for Deck Maintenance
With the brutal winter that’s so very much still a part of daily life in Chicago, who knows what condition your deck might be in by the time spring returns? That’s one reason you should always take a few preventative measures for the ongoing maintenance of your wood deck next spring. Just the right care and upkeep can add significantly to the life of your deck, the value of your home and the enjoyment you get out of outdoor entertainment.
Here are a few tips to help you keep that deck weatherproof and lustrous year-round.
Wash, Wash, Wash:
It seems obvious but it bears mentioning that, like most anything, decks suffer when they don’t get the benefits of a good scrubbing every now and again. Dirt and grime are natural enemies to your deck’s appearance and for the kind of care and maintenance you want to provide, washing is a prerequisite. Using a pressure washer, you can loosen any dirt and debris that has settled into the cracks and crevices of your wood planks over time. Remember to keep the pressure moving evenly along the deck’s surface so as not to gauge the wood.
If the deck is particularly grimy, you might want to use a commercial cleaning solution when you wash. Some power washers even have reservoirs for mild solutions. There are three types of cleaning solutions you want to be on the lookout for: (1) chlorine bleach solutions, which kill mold and mildew; (2) oxygen bleach solutions, which remove mildew and restore weathered gray wood; and (3) oxalic acid-based solutions, which are great for brightening when mildew is not really an issue.
Remove Migrating Nails:
Many times a nail or two has worked loose from the boards of your deck. Use a hammer or a cat’s paw to remove any protruding nails and simply reattach the board with an even longer screw.
Replaced Warped Wood:
Even though your deck is sealed, Mother Nature can still have a major impact during harsh seasons. So remember to replace any warped or cracked wood in your deck and pay close attention to areas that tend to harbor more moisture or are regularly exposed to water. Also check the railings, ensuring you tighten any areas that offer too much give.
Check Your Deck’s Hardware:
Extreme weather conditions and everyday wear and tear can stress wood and metal hardware over time. Check your fasteners and flashing, which leads water away from the house. Tighten as necessary to keep your deck’s structure stable. These elements are the joints of your deck’s construction and if you take care of them, they’ll take care of you.
It doesn’t take major construction to maintain your deck’s surface and extend its life. But timing and frequency is key. If you pay close attention to any signs of wear and stay on top of restoring and protecting the surface of your wood, you’ll keep your deck in fine condition and ensure that you get the most out of your outdoor entertainment space.
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