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The Rules of Wood Deck Maintenance

Decks are an amazing family space and the best spot to entertain on lazy summer evenings. But, like the rest of your home, they do require work to keep up and maintain. Fortunately, if you’re on top of it, taking care of a wooden deck isn’t a big deal and should extend your deck’s usable lifespan by many years.

Rule One: Keep It Clean

Keeping your deck swept and clear of debris and dust keeps it looking great and also protects it from stains or etching (as a result of the organic material breaking down). So sweep up regularly and clean up any bird droppings as you notice them.

You should also plan on a yearly deep clean over the entire structure to get rid of any mold, mildew, or rot formation on the structure.

Quick Tips:

  • Deck cleaning solution, applied when the weather is between 60 and 70 degrees F using a hose attachment or power washer, can be a great help for this process.
  • Don’t overdo it, as too much pressure will shred the wood and damage your sealer or stain.
  • Cover nearby plants to keep them safe from any deck cleaner overspray.

Rule Two: Re Apply Stain or Reseal your Deck every 1-3 Years

Depending on the stain or sealer you’ve chosen for your decking, and the conditions your deck experiences, you’ll want to add a fresh coat to all horizontal surfaces every one to three years, and vertical surfaces every four to eight. You can tell when the wood needs a new layer by simply sprinkling some water on the surface of the deck. If it soaks in, you need to add stain or sealant. If it beads up, you’re all set!

Check the instructions on your chosen product, but in general the new coat should adhere to the old one (after you give the deck a good cleaning and let it dry out). Both stain and sealer will reinforce the water-proofing over the wood to help resist weathering, while stains (particularly dark stains) will also block damage from UV light.

Just check this article’s splash image for real world proof. The stain on the left was just re-layered, and causes the water to bead. The stain on the right is a year old, and the moisture soaks right in.

If you’ve chosen to paint your deck, keep an eye out for any flaking and scrape up the affected areas for repainting as needed.

Rule 3: Fix Damage As You Spot It

Even well-maintained decks develop trouble spots, so keep an eye out for telltale signs of damage including:

  • Loose or protruding nails
  • Wobbly, loose railings or steps
  • Soft or rotten planks
  • Splintering or cracking
  • Insect Activity

If you spot any of these issues make sure you take care of them right away to limit the damage, keep the deck safe, and avoid accidents. You can also call the expert deck contractors right here at Amber Valley Construction for high quality Grand Rapids deck repair and restoration services. We’re more than happy to help you improve and maintain your deck, keeping it in good condition and saving you money for years to come.

Call (616) 965-1759 today for more information!

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