Deck Maintenance Tips
Your patio deck is a solid investment that provides tremendous returns, not only in the overall financial value of your property, but also in terms of the personal satisfaction you get from it. Your investment will go a long, long way if you can keep it well-maintained and prevent damage that requires costly repairs. Follow these tips to keep your patio deck looking fresh and fantastic!
The Big Picture
It helps to view your deck as part of a continuing cycle of seasons. As climate conditions shift from one season to the next, the maintenance requirements change correspondingly. Understanding these seasonal maintenance requirements lets you be proactive and preventive, rather than merely reacting to damage that has already been done.
Spring: Wash and Seal
Washing the deck late in the spring, just before summer arrives, helps stops molds and mildew from taking root and prevents rotting. Use a putty knife or something similar to remove debris that may have collected between the deck boards during the winter. Then thoroughly sweep the deck and follow through with the right cleaner for your deck material.
Use a standard deck cleaner for wooden decks. Read the instructions carefully because some cleaners require the deck to be wet while others do not. We recommend intergrain products for decking maintenance.
We love working with wood because of its advantages and benefits, and we specialise in building with timber. But if you have a composite deck, you need a cleaner specially formulated for composites, as well as a commercial degreaser and detergents to remove grease and oil stains.
Vinyl decks need only warm water and soap to clean.
Cleaning is best done on a cloudy day to keep the cleaner solution from evaporating. Wait a couple of days for the deck to dry out then finish up with the appropriate sealer or stain.
Sealing requires at least a couple of days of clear skies and moderate temperature. You may need to sand the deck and replace protruding nails before applying the sealant. Also note that composite decks do not require sealants but you may want to stain the deck.
Summer: Inspect and Repair
During the warm and dry summer months conditions are perfect for you to inspect your deck and make the necessary repairs. Look for signs of rot; you can use a slotted or flat-end screwdriver to probe areas you suspect could be starting to rot. Grab a flashlight, get underneath the deck and inspect the ledger, the framing that attaches the deck to the house. Almost all cases of deck collapse are due to a damaged ledger.
Also check all the joists, posts and beams, the railing and then the decking boards. If you spot anything that appears out of place or sets off alarm bells within your head, get a professional to take a look and confirm or allay your fears, and to give you an estimate for repairs.
It may interest you to note that Patio Living provides generous warranties and guarantees on our products, particularly against wood rot and against insect and fungal attack. This means we will replace the affected pieces of timber at no extra cost to you, in case of rot.
Autumn: An Ounce of Prevention
The onset of autumn gives you the opportunity to undertake preventive measures and keep your deck in tip-top condition. Trim surrounding vegetation; keep bushes and trees at least a half metre from the deck to decrease the chances of molds and moss to take root and for rot to set in. Clean up leaves that have begun to pile up and make sure that surrounding gutters and downpipes are clean and in good condition.