4 Tips For Taking Care Of Your Outdoor Deck

How to Take Care of Your Outdoor Deck: 4 Tips

19 Dec 2023
Admin

How to Take Care of Your Outdoor Deck: 4 Tips

Decks offer inviting outdoor living areas for our homes; their are spaces where we can take in nature, lounge about in beautiful weather and spend time socialising with family and friends.

Unfortunately, decks are subjected to the elements year-round, which can significantly reduce their lifespan. Harsh sun exposure can dry the wood and discolour the finish, while snow and rain can cause rot and mould to grow over time. 

Decks provide welcoming extensions to our homes, creating outdoor living spaces where we can relax, enjoy nature and socialise with loved ones.

However, being exposed to the elements throughout the year can significantly shorten their lifespan. The intense sunlight can dry out the wood and fade the finish, while snow and rain can lead to rot and mould growth over time.

Installing outdoor patio blinds is one way that homeowners effectively combat such weather damage. They’re superb insulators that block sunlight from entering decks and even prevent the cool air inside from escaping or mixing with the heat outside.

Still, this doesn’t mean that frequent deck maintenance isn’t required. Like all other outdoor features, they need proper care and regular upkeep to ensure their longevity. With that in mind, here are four tips on how to restore your deck and show off its beauty for many years to come.

How to Maintain a Deck

1. Clean Your Deck Frequently

The first rule of proper deck maintenance is to keep it clean. Over time, wooden decks may accumulate moss, mould, algae and grime, which causes them to look dark and unappealing. To keep them in top shape, clean them at least once a year, preferably in the dry spring weather when temperatures are between 15 and 22 degrees Celsius.

A few steps to achieve this include: 

  1. Sweeping your deck once a week or every two weeks to clear the surface of leaves, dirt and other debris. 
  2. Checking between the deck boards to ensure no debris is lodged in the joints. Tiny objects like napkins or plastic bags can get stuck in those crevices and absorb moisture, accelerating wood rot. Try a putty knife, if necessary, to pry them out.
  3.  Using a biodegradable wood cleaning solution and working in small sections with a scrub brush to eliminate dirt, mould and mildew. There are various types of deck cleaners, and each comes with multiple ingredients and concentrations, including:
  • Oxygen bleach: Removes mildew and eliminates deep-rooted organic growth.
  • Chlorine bleach: Kills mould and mildew but, with long-term use, can damage wood fibres.
  • Oxalic acid-based products: Brightens wood and neutralises cleaners with high pH levels.
  1. Finishing off by using a water hose to wash away the cleaning solution and grime, and letting your deck dry for two to three days.

2. Repair and Replace Damaged Boards

How to restore a deck to its former glory? This also involves performing regular inspections and prompt repairs. Identify any areas that need maintenance by checking for loose, splintered, rotten or cracked boards. 

Here’s a quick checklist to tackling repairs:

  1. Look for loose or popped nails and straighten them with a hammer or screw them back into place. Replace any nails or screws that have rusted or are worn out to ensure the safety of anyone walking on the deck and stave off discolouration of the wood.
  2. Check the deck railing to verify that it’s stable and sturdy. You can do this by giving it a good shake or putting weight on it to see if there’s any wobbling. If so, tighten or replace any damaged screws and bolts.
  3. Inspect the flashing (the metal or plastic strips where the deck meets the house that protect the floor, beams and rim joists from water damage) to see if it’s still in good condition. If not, substitute it for a new one.

Additionally, you might also want to check the structural integrity of the gutters and downpipes above your deck to make sure they’re not leaking. If you spot any breaks or cracks, you can seek the help of professional roofing services for repairs.

3. Apply a Sealant

A deck sealer is a transparent coat that seeps into the wood and creates a clear film on the surface while preserving its natural finish. Sealing your deck protects the wood from warping, splitting and cracking over time. 

Before applying the sealant, your deck needs to have been cleaned and dried properly. Next, follow these steps:

  1. Sand any rough spots to a smooth finish to remove splinters and ensure that the deck will absorb the sealant properly.
  2. Using a brush, sprayer or paint roller, spread a thin layer over a maximum of three boards at a time. You can always add more, but this will allow it to dry evenly.
  3. Remember areas like railings, corners and stairs. Use a fine paintbrush to get into those tighter spots, if necessary.
  4. Let it dry for at least two days.

A few sealing don’ts you’ll need to keep in mind are:

  • Don’t brush the sealant in direct sunlight because the finish will dry too quickly.
  • Check the weather forecast before you start your deck maintenance project. If you know it will rain, don’t seal until the weather clears and your deck is dry. 
  • If you’ve just installed a new deck made with treated wood, wait a few weeks before sealing it. This gives the wood enough time to dry completely and allows the sealant to be absorbed fully.

4. Finish Off With a High-quality Stain

Deck stains are solutions with a tint or pigment that enhances or changes the colour of a wooden deck

To restore a deck’s wood grain and give it a fresh look, you can use a transparent or solid stain. Both types have benefits, such as boosting the longevity of your deck and protecting against harmful UV rays and water damage. 

However, there are some key considerations to be aware of with both: 

  • Colour Variety: Transparent deck stains offer around 60 shades, but solid deck stains have over 3,000 choices.
  • Coverage: While transparent stains allow the wood’s natural patterns to show through, solid stains provide more coverage by concealing any flaws or imperfections in your deck.
  • Commitment: It’s nearly impossible to go back to transparent once you’ve used a solid stain, so consider your choice carefully.
  • Protections against sun and water damage: Because transparent stains are usually less pigmented, they need to be applied more often than solid stains to provide adequate protection.
  • Application: Transparent stains can’t be used over painted decks unless the paint is stripped beforehand.

Breathe Life Into Your Deck

A well-kept deck adds value to your property and provides a sanctuary from the daily grind. As a leader in the home improvement industry for over 45 years Modern Group offers a suite of high-quality services to Australian homes. Contact us today to learn how we can help you with your next deck restoration project.

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