How to maintain a deck
You'll enjoy your deck for years to come if you make sure it's properly maintained. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Lisa C.)
Like the rest of your home, decks need care and maintenance. Follow the tips below and be sure to use proper tools. If you would rather not clean your deck yourself, there are deck maintenance companies who can help, as well as handymen and pressure washers.
Inspect and repair
Inspect the surface of your deck, as well as the steps and handrails, for signs of stress. Look for broken or rotting boards, curling, cracking or loose areas. Replace boards as needed to prevent further damage and possible injuries.
Check for loose or missing nails, bolts or screws. These fixtures hold the deck together, so it's important to thoroughly inspect them at least once a year. Drive any loose nails back into place with a hammer, and use a drill with a screwdriver attachment to tighten existing screws and replace missing fasteners.
Use a high-power flashlight to check for damage to the structural supports under the deck. Animals or insects can eventually make your deck unusable. If you see any sign of a problem, such as chewed boards, contact a pest-control professional.
Whether or not your deck looks dirty, it is important to wash it. Not only is a dirty deck unattractive, the slippery surface poses a safety risk. Mildew and mold will cause damage if not removed. Pressure washing does the best job at blasting away dirt.
Re-seal or re-stain the deck once a year to protect the surface. Since moisture is one of the biggest threats to a deck, this step will help extend your deck's life and value.
There are several steps involved in sealing or staining a deck. Consider calling a handyman to take care of this. If you do it yourself, buy a seal or a stain made for outdoor use, as well as a stain remover or stripper product. Wear a respirator or dust mask while working with these products, and be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions.
- According to Smart Money magazine, adding a deck is a cost-efficient way to raise the value of your home. Homeowners can reliably recoup 85 percent of the cost.