Decks are flat surfaces, often elevated above the ground, that are typically constructed outside adjoining a structure such as a building or a house. In homes, decks are often found in the backyard serve as an extension of living space similar to patios. However, they differ to patios in the sense that they’re not stone-based and are usually made of wooden “decking” materials.

The fact that most decks are made of wood means that they require regular cleaning and maintenance to avoid damage such as warping, rot, and breakage. So here are simple steps for you to take to preserve your home’s deck:

Regular Inspection

One should regularly inspect their decks at least once or twice a year to check for any damaged that need to be repaired or addressed immediately. Make sure to remove all furniture, appliances, and ornaments such as potted plants, and proceed to do a general sweep to allow for a thorough inspection of the entire deck. This would expose any cracks, loose screws, worn paint or seals, and other issues.

Cleaning

It’s important that you clean your deck and repair any issues before applying stain and sealants. So start by sweeping your deck and use a pressure washer or a hose with a strong nozzle to clean off dirt and remove any debris clogging spaces between the deck boards. You can use bleach-based products to remove any mildew sticking to the decking boards, and acid-based cleaning products to remove stains. But make sure to ask the hardware store with regards to the best cleaning products for your deck as stronger or less diluted bleach or acid based products could potentially discolor or seep through the wooden decking materials.

Sanding

For older decks, you could use a sandblasting machine or a belt sander to “exfoliate” your wooden decking and make it look new. It would also remove any remaining paint or sealant so it would be easier to apply a fresh coat. Just make sure that you sand and seal on a dry day as sanded wood could easily soak in water and warp, and you’d end up waiting for it to dry and sand all over again before applying a fresh coat of paint and sealants.

Repairing

If, during inspection, cleaning, and/or sanding, you come across damaged, make sure to have those damages fixed before painting and sealing. It would be best to replace warped or damaged (cracked or broken) planks and to replace loose nails with sturdier and longer screws. For decks made of natural wood, it’s best to use corrosion-resistant screws and plastic-coated screws for treated lumber.

Stain or Paint

To add color or luster, you can paint or stain the deck. Although some sealants are mixed with staining so you wouldn’t have to stain separately. If you’re using natural wood, it’s best to have a clear or lightly stained finish. For those who prefer to paint over their decks, it’s important to use alkyd primer or a stain-blocking oil before painting.

Sealing

Lastly, to preserve, protect, and beautify your wooden decks, you should use a waterproof deck coating over them. Waterproof deck coating may vary for certain materials; waterproof deck coating that’s best used over plywood may not be best for natural wooden planks. Regardless of materials or type of sealant used, it’s important to remember that the deck should be thoroughly dry prior to applying the sealant.
Sealants could be brushed on or sprayed on, and one should be wary of keeping plants away from sealants as they can damage the plants. Good quality sealants can protect the wood from both sunlight (to reduce damage caused by ultraviolet light) and from rain, as well as insect damage such as termite infestations. Some sealants

Conclusion

Man reapplying varnish to the wooden deck

Decks are a very useful feature to one’s home; they make one’s backyard look less bare, they add to the living space, and they increase a home’s curb appeal and value. So to make sure to follow these steps so that your home’s deck stays pristine and continue to serve its purpose for years to come.