3 Things to do for your Deck this Spring

Spring is a time that calls for action. Even the name of this season is a verb! You clean, you move forward, and you protect your deck. Yes, your deck! Remember that lovely spot you enjoyed in warmer months?

Spring provides warmer temperatures and the momentum that comes as we awaken from winter to do something good for ourselves and our homes. While the energy is high, take these three steps to make your garden deck look better and last longer.

Inspect your Decking for problems

If you’re a DIYer with a range of skills, you may be able to do an inspection yourself. However, if you’re not so handy, hire a professional inspector or builder to take a look. What does an inspector look for?

Rotten Wood

The wood in a garden deck can begin to rot as soon as 8 to 10 years after construction. To reduce this risk, do an inspection at least once a year. Check for soft spots with a screwdriver. Look for discoloured wood, splintering and cracks. Make sure the flashing is still in place to protect the ledger board, where the deck connects to the house, to ensure it does not compromise the structural integrity of the deck.

Mildew

While not as dangerous as rot, mildew should be removed before more damage occurs. Avoid chlorine bleach, as it can discolour your home’s siding and walkways. Instead, opt for a wood deck cleaner recommended by the manufacturer of your deck stain (for wood) or composite decking. See more on cleaning below.

Hardware Issues

If you see a popped nail, hammer it back into place. If there are missing or rusted fasteners or screws, replace with new galvanised metal hardware.

Insect Damage

If you see signs that your wooden deck is being damaged, bring in pest control.

Make a Clean Sweep and Wash

Cleaning doesn’t take a lot of time, but can really transform the look of a deck and help it to last longer. Prepare for your deck cleaning, by gathering a broom, scrub brush, bucket, gloves and garden hose. Choose a cleaning solution based on whether you have a wood or composite deck. While a wood deck may benefit from a solution with oxygen bleach, a composite deck would be better served by a cleaner with vinegar. Either way, using gloves will protect your hands against irritants in the solution.

Before you wash, remove everything from the deck and give it a good sweep. If debris has accumulated between the deck boards, remove it with a putty knife. Pre rinse and then add your cleaning solution. Avoid using a pressure washer, unless you keep it on a lower pressure setting with a fan tip. Also, don’t use homemade cleaning solutions in a power washer, which may get clogged with granules. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry for 24 to 48 hours before returning furniture to the deck.

Seal or Stain the Wood

Sealing wood helps protect its fibers against the elements yearround. You may choose a stain with a sealer built in, especially if your deck boards have become worn and need some camouflage. A sealer, on the other hand, will be translucent once dried.

If you have a rough surface with splintering and cracking it may be advisable to sand first. Dust off your boards after sanding, but since you should have cleaned the deck before sanding, it’s better not to wash again. Use a shop vac or leaf blower to remove dust from the boards.

Once you’ve washed and sanded your deck, you’re ready to seal. Start with the railings and work your way down. Protect your wood with a stain that includes UV-ray protection.

If you’re tired of sealing and staining, consider replacing wood with composite decking. While it is more expensive up front, it eliminates the need for sealing — and the cost in time and money to maintain your deck.

Why now?

We get it, you’d rather binge another episode of “Bridgerton.” But caring for your deck is important, and will help you enjoy it longer.  Let us help with these three reasons not to put off your deck maintenance.

  1. Safety. Shaky railings, spongy boards and loose hardware can compromise the integrity of your deck. Don’t risk having a neighbor take a tumble on the stairs when a railing breaks or have a rusty nail come through a sandal. By doing a thorough inspection, you can greatly reduce the risk of injury and damage.
  2. Aesthetics. The exterior of your home not only makes a statement about you today, but may determine how easily you can sell your home tomorrow. Why not enjoy a beautiful garden deck that makes it even more valuable on the housing market?
  3. Longevity. The most likely cause of damage to your deck is moisture. When you leave dirt and debris on your boards, you are allowing mildew, mold and rot to grow. When rot takes hold, you will have to replace the wood sooner, which can be expensive.

Put a date on the calendar now to have a date with your deck. Inspect, clean and seal. You’ll be glad you did in the months and years to come.