Wood deck maintenance is an unavoidable task. Wood decks are preferred because of their warm, pleasing looks and element of natural beauty. However, wood being a natural material is prone to damage from the sun, rain and snow throughout the year. Every spring or fall, a thorough inspection of the wood deck is necessary to identify problems such as peeling paint or stain, rotting wood, mildew and dirt. Make it a priority to clean your wood deck every year and also perform the required maintenance.
Avoid the Use of Pressure Washers
A pressure washer provides a quick and easy way of washing a wood deck. However, the intense pressure of the water spray can cause lasting damage to the wood. This is especially true if the protective sealant is peeling off the wood deck after years of exposure to the elements. A pressure washer can penetrate the wood and damage the fibers underneath. As an alternative, consider the use of your garden hose.
Reduce the Chances of Wood Rot
Wood that is continually exposed to the outdoors is more susceptible to rot. Some factors also hasten the rotting process. Some such factors are plants and vegetation clinging to the deck, a gutter or downspout directing water to the deck and accumulated dirt and debris that absorb moisture. If you have overgrown bushes or plants around the wood deck, trim them back to avoid constant contact with the wood. Also ensure that all drainage pipes and gutters are directed away from the deck. If there is accumulated dirt and grime on the deck and between the boards, clean it out thoroughly.
Check the Wood Deck for Signs of Rot
Every year, do a thorough inspection of your wood deck. Look for loose boards, nails and signs of rot. Make sure you check all the corners and inaccessible places as far as you can. If there is extensive rot, you must consider replacing the affected boards. Tighten all loose nails or screws and ensure that all the boards are in place.
Clean the Wood Deck
You can use a soap and water solution for a general cleaning of your wood deck. This will take care of accumulated dirt. However, if you have mildew on the wood deck, you will have to resort to heavy duty cleaners. Some options are bleach, oxalic acid or trisodium phosphate (TSP). Never use chlorine bleach, because it can kill the plants close by. Avoid using bleach on redwood decks, because it can cause discoloration of the wood. Apply the cleaner, scrub and rinse the deck with a hose.
Seal the Wood Deck
After you wash the wood deck and let it dry, you must determine if it is in need of sealing. Proper sealing will protect your wood deck from moisture, UV rays and other environmental factors for several years. If your wood deck easily absorbs water, it is in need of sealing. Use synthetic resin sealers or oil based sealers for maximum protection. Choose a sealer with insect repellent and UV resistant properties. Spray on the sealer or apply it with a brush or roller.
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