A deck can be a wonderful way for homeowners to enjoy outdoor living. But, decks do require regular care and maintenance. Subjected to the extremes of Orange County weather, decks take a beating. Wooden decking, in particular, requires regular care and maintenance. Composite decking can be more weather- and stain-resistant, but it does cost more up front. As a trusted Orange County deck builder, we know what goes into keeping your home’s deck safe and beautiful. Here are some deck care and maintenance details.
1. Keep it clean
No matter what type of decking materials you use, keeping your deck clean is one of the best ways to ensure its longevity. Sweep your deck regularly to keep it clear of dirt, leaves and debris. Those things can accumulate in the gaps between boards and cause rotting. Try using a putty knife to clean out those spaces. If you keep plants or furniture on your deck, make sure it has proper airflow beneath it. If not, move it occasionally so water doesn’t accumulate. In the spring, you should wash your deck (after you have swept it and covered all plants). The type of cleanser you use will depend on what type of decking you have. Be sure to read the instructions and follow them carefully. Experts recommend waiting for a cloudy day when the decking isn’t so hot the water and/or cleaner will quickly evaporate.
2. Sand it
Wood deck maintenance in upstate NY means an annual sealing, as a rule. Before sealing, the deck should be cleaned and then sanded. (Wait at least two days after washing the deck before sanding it.) A pole sander with 80-grit sandpaper will work. This can be done in the spring or fall, when temperatures are optimal and there’s no rain in the forecast. Does the idea of Sanding and Staining sound tedious? Lean on the Deck Evaluation Specialists at Orange County deck to take it off your plate.
3. Seal it
Following our Sanding tip for Wood Deck care, Experts recommend deck sealing in the spring or fall, when the temperatures are typically mild. Weather is a big factor here: again, try to pick a day that isn’t too hot, and look for a forecast that is rain-free for at least two days. Sealers and stains are available at most home improvement stores. Some people choose to stain their deck and apply a sealant separately; others use the stain as the sealant. Composite decking doesn’t require a sealant. Ask a professional like OCD what the best options are for decking material based on your lifestyle and common uses.
4. Trim nearby
Another major part of yearly deck maintenance is looking at what surrounds your deck. If you have bushes, trees or other plants growing near to your deck, trim them regularly. Foliage needs to be at least 1 foot away from the deck for optimal deck health. Shady areas should be especially monitored, to prevent moisture from accumulating and causing mold, mildew or rot. After you have trimmed around your deck, don’t forget to look up! Check trees for broken or dead branches and when in doubt, call OCD and a certified deck evaluator will come out and take a peek. Peace of mind is always worth the extra set of eyes.
5. Inspect it
You should give your deck a thorough inspection at least once a year for ware and safety. See a nail sticking out? Pound it back in. If it’s bent beyond repair, replace it with a new one. Look for signs of rot, particularly under items sitting on the deck, on the stairs, and perimeter posts. Don’t forget to go under your deck and check the ledger (the piece that attaches the deck to the house). Check joists, posts and beams, as well. On the main deck, check for cracks or rotten boards. It’s easier to replace a single board than an entire section. If there is a railing, check the posts to make sure they’re secure. Repair any damaged or rotting pieces immediately to preserve the structural integrity of your deck. If you’re not sure what to look for, consult a professional — like Orange County Decks — to evaluate your deck for you and read this helpful blog all about Deck Safety