A deck is a great outdoor space for nearly any occasion: birthday parties, barbeques, family meals, and more. However, just like any other part of your home, your deck needs attention and upkeep. Without it, the lifespan and safety of your deck may be reduced.
Now that winter has ended, there are several important tasks to complete to get your deck ready for spring and summer. Here are a few deck maintenance tasks for your home.
Inspect for Rot
One of the first things you should do for proper deck maintenance is inspect for rot. This is a common concern for wood decks.
Search in areas of your deck that tend to remain damp or are regularly exposed to water. Rot and decay often occur in hidden areas, affecting critical junctures. Three areas that you should check in particular are railings, stairs, and joists.
Clean and Seal the Deck
Two other important tasks to complete are cleaning the deck and sealing it.
It is normal for leaves, sticks, and other organic debris to collect over the winter. If left unattended, they can pose a tripping hazard and allow water to collect, inviting mildew and rot in wooden decks.
After sweeping away dirt and organic debris, wash the deck by using the appropriate cleaning solution. If you choose to use a pressure washer, use it at an angle to avoid gouging the deck boards.
Wait at least 48 hours for the deck to dry. Then, lightly sand the deck boards before applying a seal or toner. If you are unsure of how to properly seal the deck, speak with your local contractor.
Remove Overhanging Tree Limbs
Nearby trees with overhanging limbs can pose a serious safety hazard to your deck’s occupants. Old or decayed tree limbs may be liable to fall onto your deck.
Beyond the threat of falling on someone, these limbs create tripping hazards. If you notice any dangerous limbs or branches near your deck, it is best to remove them immediately.
Inspect Deck Screws
Deck screws, nails, and other fasteners are critical components of your wooden deck. Any deck maintenance exercise should include inspecting these pieces.
Tighten any loose screws or fasteners you come across. If you find any that are rusted or corroded, replace them right away, as they can damage the surrounding wood.
Flashing is the plastic or metal guard that directs water away from your home and sensitive parts of your deck. This prevents water from collecting between your home and ledger board, which could cause decay.
Examine the flashing around your deck. If it appears to be damaged, not working, or missing, it is best to consult a professional contractor.
Inspect the Railings
Make sure that all of your deck railings are securely attached to the overall structure. If you find sections that are loose or damaged, it’s important to repair or replace it immediately.
Ensure Optimal Lighting
Proper lighting of key areas and pathways is essential to deck safety. Make sure that all of your current light fixtures are working properly and are not being obstructed by trees or shrubbery. If you find that your lighting is dim, consider cleaning the light covers or adding new fixtures around your deck.
Get Your Deck Ready
Summer is right around the corner. Before throwing your first outdoor dinner party of the year, it’s important to ensure the safety of your guests. Use these deck maintenance tips to get your space ready to be enjoyed by all.