Keep Decks Looking New with Proper
A deck is a great investment. It increases your home’s usable living space at a
fraction of the cost of adding an inside room. Remodeling magazine estimates a
properly maintained deck will return about 77 percent of its original cost. But
no one wants to buy a home where they are going to immediately incur costly
deck repairs. Courtesy of Pillar To Post, here are a few tips for caring for
• Deep Clean: This is best done on a cloudy day before the weather gets
too hot. Start by sweeping the deck and removing debris that’s trapped between
the deck boards. A putty knife is great for this. You can attach it to a pipe
or dowel rod so that you don’t have to bend over the entire time. Then, wash
wood decks and all railings with a standard deck cleaner. You can also mix
bleach and water at a ratio of one-to-one. If you have composite deck, make
sure you use a cleaner specifically formulated for composite material.
• Seal the deck: This should be done 48 hours after the deep clean. You
can test if your deck needs sealing by splashing some water on it. The water
should bead up. If it soaks into the deck, you need to reseal it. Most decks
will need to be resealed annually.
• Inspect and Repair: In the warm, dry summer months, inspect the deck
for signs of rot. This is easily done by poking a flat-blade screwdriver into
areas that look worn. If you can push the screwdriver more than a quarter-inch
into the deck, you should repair it. Small areas, anything about an inch or
smaller, can be chiseled out and treated with wood preservative. If the rot
covers a larger area, you should consult a professional to evaluate the deck
and recommend repairs. Also, you’ll want to tighten any screws that are loose
on the railing and add galvanized lag screws to posts that need extra support.
• Preventive measures: Before winter comes, secure or replace loose and
missing nails. Trimming back bushes near the deck will prevent mold, moss and
rot. Moving planters, chairs, tables and other items that are on the deck will
prevent the deck from becoming discolored.