Well-maintained decks enhance the beauty and functionality of your outdoor space. Decking your backyard extends your living space into a versatile, inviting outdoor area for entertainment, recreation, and relaxation. Along with their functionality and aesthetic appeal, decks also increase property value.
However, like other outdoor home installations, decks require regular maintenance to ensure safety and optimal functionality. The following tips can help keep your deck in good condition throughout the coming seasons.
1. Inspect Regularly for Damage
Your maintenance routine should include inspecting the deck for signs of damage. Identifying and addressing potential damage early prevents small issues from becoming safety hazards and costly repairs. Depending on your deck design, below are a few things to look for during an inspection:
- Loose or damaged deck board: It is common for decking boards to loosen, warp, and crack over time. Loose boards are dangerous tripping hazards. Tighten loose nails and replace damaged boards.
- Corroded fasteners: Inspect nails, screws, and other fasteners for signs of corrosion. Corroded nails or screws have a weak grip and should be replaced to avoid collapsing.
- Rotted wood: You should also inspect for rotting wood, especially parts of the deck exposed to moisture. Rotted wood is unsightly and weakens the deck’s structural integrity.
- Lighting and electrical fixtures: Your inspection should also extend to electrical installations. Address wiring issues and burnt-out bulbs.
Regular inspections and replacements or repairs ensure a functional, safe, and good-looking deck. It also extends your deck’s lifespan.
2. Regular Cleaning
Regular cleaning is a seemingly obvious maintenance practice that maintains your deck’s appearance and extends its longevity. Cleaning prevents dirt accumulation, which often leads to wood rot mold, and mildew growth. A clean deck is also aesthetically appealing.
Start with basic cleaning practices, like sweeping dirt and leaves with a broom. This prevents the decomposing of organic matter and moisture retention. Depending on your deck material, you can scrub the surface with water and mild detergents. This removes spills and stubborn stains.
You shouldn’t use power washers or harsh chemicals, as they strip off protective sealants and damage wooden decks. Regular cleaning maintains your deck’s appearance and makes it easy to identify signs of damage.
3. Prevent Mold and Mildew Growth
Maintenance practices that prevent mold and mildew growth help maintain your deck’s structural integrity and appearance. Mold and mildew affect deck appearance, cause premature wood decay, and pose serious health risks. You can keep your deck mold and mildew-free by:
- Ensuring good air circulation: Elevating planters and furniture and trimming nearby plants to ensure free air flow improves air circulation in the deck. Adequate circulation prevents moisture buildup, which promotes mold growth.
- Clean spills immediately: Stains and spills on the deck surface create a moist environment that encourages mold and mildew growth.
- Apply mold-resistant coating: Mold-resistant sealant contains ingredients that inhibit mold and mildew growth.
- Proper drainage: You should work on the deck’s drainage to prevent water from pooling on the surface. Clear gutters and downspouts to ensure water flows away from the deck.
Proactive maintenance helps preserve the structural integrity and appearance of your backyard deck. While these interventions are effective, you should schedule a professional inspection after some years. Professionals can easily identify hidden issues and suggest effective recommendations.