Spring is the best time to perform maintenance on your deck. The mild temperatures and longer days make it easier to tackle outdoor projects, and taking care of your deck now can help prevent bigger problems down the road as well as ensure your deck is ready for the months of use during the spring, summer and fall.
We’ll go over some tips for maintaining your deck in the spring to ensure you can relax the rest of the year. Following these steps each year will ensure the life of you deck is maximized through the years to come.
Clean Your Deck
The first step to proper maintenance is to give your deck a thorough cleaning. Use a pressure washer or a mixture of water and deck cleaner to remove dirt, grime, and any other build-up from the surface. Be sure to follow the instructions on the cleaner and use caution when using a pressure washer, as the high pressure can damage the wood if used improperly.
When pressure washing softer woods such as cedar and pine, you’ll want to keep the pressure to about 500 - 700psi. With harder woods, you should be able to pressure wash in the 1200 – 1500psi range. For composites, vinyl and pvc you can to keep the psi between 1600 – 2000psi. While pressure washing, use a fan nozzle to ensure the pressure is spread evenly. While pressure washing, don’t bring the nozzle closer than 8 inches to the decking as you can damage the decking. Ensure the deck is rinsed thoroughly when you’re finished.
Repair Any Damage
Once your deck is clean and dry, inspect it for any damage or rot. Look for loose or splintered boards or scratched/worn/faded boards on composite and pvc decks, as well as any areas where the wood has become soft or discolored. If you find any damage, make repairs as soon as possible to prevent the problem from worsening or injury. You may need to replace damaged boards or use wood filler to repair smaller areas of rot.
Sand and Refinish - Wood Decks
If your deck is looking a bit worn, you may want to sand it down and apply a new finish. Sanding will help to smooth out any rough spots and create a more even surface. Once you've finished sanding, apply a wood preservative or finish to protect the wood and give it a fresh look. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions and allow the finish to dry completely before using the deck.
Check and Tighten Hardware
Screws and nails that are sticking out can lead to injury or ruin clothes. They can also lower the life of your deck; if there are too many loose screws or nails, they can reduce the integrity of the structure. Make sure all of the screws, nails and bolts on your deck are tight and secure. If you find any that are loose, tighten them up to prevent the deck from becoming unstable.
Check for Pests
Spring is a common time for pests like termites and carpenter ants to become active. Inspect your deck for any signs of infestation, such as mud tubes or wood shavings. If you suspect you have a pest problem, it's best to contact a local professional for treatment. With composite, vinyl and pvc decks, your deck may have a treated wood frame, inspect the framing as best as possible.
Touch Up Paint or Stain – Wood Decks
If your deck has been painted or stained, check for any areas that may need to be touched up. Fading, chipping, and peeling can all be common issues with older paint or stain. If you do need to touch up your deck, be sure to use the same type of paint or stain that was originally used to ensure a proper match.
If your deck has been stained or sealed, you’ll typically need to reseal your deck every 2-3 years. You’ll want to test a few spots on the deck by placing a drop of water on the decking. If the water beads, then the sealer is still effective. If the water soaks into the wood your deck will require resealing.
Spring is the perfect time to add lighting. Installing deck lighting is a great way to add ambiance and make your outdoor space more functional. Consider adding solar-powered lights or low-voltage lighting to your deck to create a warm, inviting atmosphere. Lighting will invite you out onto the deck at night and ensure you make good use of your deck even at night. It is our opinion that every deck should include lighting, the atmosphere it creates is amazing. We find deck owners get the best return on investment with lighting as you are more likely to use your deck at night if there is lighting.
Add Some Furniture and Enjoy Your Deck
Once your deck is clean and repaired, it's time to start enjoying it! Add some comfortable furniture, such as chairs, tables, and cushions to create a cozy outdoor living space. For cooler nights, propane area heaters are the perfect addition to your deck to ensure you’re comfortable even on cooler spring and fall nights. As always barbeques are a must for every deck.
By following these steps, you can help keep your deck in good condition and extend its lifespan. Don't forget to also keep an eye on your deck throughout the year and make any necessary repairs as needed. A little bit of maintenance now can go a long way in keeping your deck looking great for years to come.
For more information on when you should stain or paint your deck visit our other article by Clicking Here
Q: What additional steps do you take while maintaining your deck?
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