Is Decking High Maintenance?
When it comes to decks or any other wooden structure, maintenance is key. If not, you risk frequent repairing and reconstruction of the entire structure, which means digging deeper into your pocket. We all wish for convenient maintenance methods; therefore, we aim to determine whether it is easy to maintain a deck.
So, is decking high maintenance? Decking is not high maintenance and there are a few basic deck maintenance steps, that will avoid costly or time-consuming maintenance. First, you need to check and inspect your deck for any damage or developments; this may be twice or thrice a year. Secondly, you need to clean decking using the necessary products and paint when needed. Lastly, it is important to seal the deck using the right sealants.
In case you are worried about installing a deck because you fear that it may be too involving to maintain it, we think otherwise. In this article, we expound on deck maintenance matters to highlight how simple it is to maintain a deck as we give you the dos and don'ts of the process. Read on as we give you all the answers you need.
How Do You Maintain a Deck?
It is now common to find a home with a deck at the front or backyard. These structures have proven to be low-cost and effective in creating a personal touch to the home. When you have a deck, you can relax, entertain, and have an elegant structure to expand your house. The only concern with these structures is that they are susceptible to harsh weather.
They are also prone to infestation by living organisms such as fungi and rodents. If the deck is wooden, it is more at risk of these factors so that it may weaken with time, and eventually, the surface may tear, and in severe cases, the deck may collapse. To ensure that you keep your deck in the right state, we highlight the basic maintenance steps you need to adhere to.
1. Deck Inspection
The first step when maintaining your deck is to check and inspect it at least twice a year. It would help if you looked out for worn-out boards and protruding nails keenly. Next, you need to check whether any foreign objects cover the plants or are stuck to the boards' gaps.
The best time for this inspection is when the weather is dry and warm. Here is where you can check for any abnormalities or developments in your deck; as long as the deck is not in its normal state, there may be a problem.
There are three vital things to look out for regarding your deck's state. They include the ledger, the beams, and posts. To check for rotting, you can begin by inspecting the stairs, especially the bottom one, close to the ground. Also, the posts are susceptible to rotting, so it would help to check them too. Secondly, you may check the ledger's condition. Given that it is the main reason why most decks crumble, you need to pay close attention to it. Lastly, you need to confirm the state of the hardware (joists and hangers) below the deck; check for any rotting or breakage. Suppose you find that something is amiss, it would be best to take the necessary action, whether repair or replacement.
2. Deck Cleaning
Given the deck's design, where there are some gaps between the boards, it is easy for dirt and build-up to accumulate in between these spaces. Therefore, it is necessary to remove these particles before they destroy the deck's wood.
Moreover, leaving the deck unwashed makes it susceptible to mold, which accelerates rotting. If the debris is visible, you can easily eliminate them using a sharp knife while keen on areas such as where the boards meet the joists.
You can also use a powerful hose to wash out this debris, but most people go for the power washer. Similarly, you can use a cleaning solution with water to make it more effective. If you find a powerful chemical, you won't need to do a lot of scrubbing.
If you don't have a powerful hose, you can also scrub the deck's surface by hand, and after the scrubbing, you can thoroughly rinse it off. However, it would be best if you were careful not to exert so much pressure in this process since the wood is vulnerable to gouging.
3. Deck Painting/Staining
This is a vital maintenance process, especially if you have a wooden deck; this way, you can maintain your deck's appearance. Whether you go for the normal paint or a clear finish, you are sure to keep your deck looking brand new all year round.
For paint, first, apply a primer, then the paint, but for a better finish, ensure that the paint soaks into the boards and not just cling on the surface. Also, if the paint is too thick or not well done, it may easily peel.
For a perfect finish, the paint should be waterproof, mildew-proof, and should have ultraviolet protection. When painting, ensure that the weather is conducive since it will only wash off the paint job when it is raining.
4. Deck Sealing
Sealing is effective in keeping out the moisture from your deck; hence, prevents them from damage. The sealing principle is that the water that falls on the wood surface should not soak into the wood. Instead, it should bead up on the decks and slide off. We all know how catastrophic it is when the wood on the deck is damp for a long time.
You can use a brush, roller, or a sprayer to apply it to the wood's surface. As a start, you can apply a thin coat then apply more as you go. However, be careful not to damage the surrounding plants while you are sealing the deck. You may cover them to prevent their contact with these chemicals.
Dos and Don'ts of Deck Maintenance
The following are some common mistakes that homeowners make when trying to repair their decks.
- When cleaning, especially using the power washer, don't go overboard; otherwise, you may ruin the wood altogether.
- It is best to cover the surrounding plants during cleaning or sealing since contact with the chemicals may destroy them.
- Always sand your deck before you paint or seal; this way, the paint may strongly grip the wood.
- Avoid chlorine-based bleaches when cleaning since they may cause fading and may destroy the wood's natural structure.
- It may be best not to substitute paint with sealant; the sealant gives the wood a better finish and lasts longer than paint.
- For effective cleaning, we advise that you establish a routine cleaning interval; this way, your deck will be spotless and debris-free all year round.
- Treat pressure treated wood the same way as you would normal wood; they also need maintenance; however, you need to use specific products.
- When using rags or mats under deck furniture, it would be best to avoid natural materials and instead go for recycled plastic materials; these are more durable and prevent moisture.
If well maintained, the deck retains its original color, texture and remains stable and stylish. It is not tasking to maintain the deck, because just like any other structure, it needs checking and cleaning once in a while. The aim is to keep the structure safe and well-groomed.
You may notice that a wooden deck requires more maintenance than one made of composite. However, it is still necessary to ensure proper maintenance regardless of the material the deck is made of. Therefore, you, as a deck owner, need to be keen on maintaining them; otherwise, you may end up with a deck that appears old and dangerous to use.