Inspiration > Lawn & Garden

Easy Deck Maintenance

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Spring has sprung, and many homeowners are looking forward to spending more time outdoors and enjoying their backyards. After perhaps months of not being used, your deck may or may not be ready for the next several months. Now is the perfect time to perform a quick checkup on your deck and make sure it’s ready for the season.

As the sole proprietor at Decksteriors, I focus entirely on deck refinishing. Ninety percent of the decks I work on in Colorado are made from redwood, which is a long-lasting, strong and sustainable material. Despite redwood’s durability and outstanding beauty, it can still, from time to time, need maintenance. Every deck, whether it comes from nature and is good for the environment, such as redwood, or is man-made plastic-composite, needs occasional maintenance.

The reality is, there is no such thing as a “maintenance-free deck.”

Your deck is an investment, so you should want to maintain it. The California Redwood Association has helpful tips and advice for finishing and maintaining redwood, but if you’re looking to simply maintain, there are a few simple things you can keep in mind.

easy deck maintenance Unsanded (left) vs. Sanded (right)

Refresh the Finish

If your deck isn’t looking as good as you once thought, applying a finish can help keep it looking like new for years. For redwood, this is something that only needs to be done every few of years. The good thing is, redwood won’t stain like composites and plastics, so you don’t have to worry about barbecue grease or red wine, and you can always restore faded redwood to its original color.

deck board damage Before

how to repair deck boards

After

There are many ready-to-use deck cleaning products available at your local home improvement store. A simple cleaning and brightening and conditioning application paired with a quality oil-based sealer can help keep your deck looking like new for years; it is easy to apply and realistically only needs to be applied biannually in most cases.

While some contractors will recommend semi-transparent or solid stains, I recommend a quality transparent oil-based product with a slight tint to best accentuate the natural beauty that is redwood. Additionally, redwood is such an easy medium to work with that if you should tire of a particular color of sealer or stain, you can change it, something you aren’t able to do with plastic composite material.

Sweep It Away

Giving your deck a regular sweeping every now and then will help keep debris at bay. Surrounding trees might shed their leaves, or pets might track mud and dirt onto your deck, so it’s important to keep these things cleared off to prevent accumulation.

Additionally, every spring and fall, take a screwdriver or butter knife and run it between the spacing of the floorboards to remove any accumulated debris that may have gotten stuck. This simple act will keep moisture from being held between the boards and greatly increase the lifespan of the lumber.

Spray It Off

Unless you are experienced with a pressure washer, I wouldn’t recommend using it on your deck, as it can cause damage if done incorrectly.

Even in the hands of seasoned veterans, pressure washing can create issues, so when choosing a contractor, make sure they have all the references of satisfied homeowners you need to establish a comfort level. A better solution is to simply use a garden hose with a nozzle attached to help wash dried dirt and debris off when it accumulates. Be proactive and wash as needed, and it will save you from many future hours of scrubbing on your hands and knees.

In a nutshell, put in a little effort to keep your deck clean, and you’ll get a lot out of it in return.

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Brett Fahlsing
More about Brett Fahlsing

Brett Fahlsing is the owner and sole proprietor of Decksteriors, an exterior wood restoration company based in Colorado. Fahlsing's passion for woodwork developed naturally after witnessing his father’s carpentry and wood-working skills firsthand. In the early 90's Fahlsing helped start a refinishing and power washing business with a few friends before going solo and adding the art of sanding to his list of skills.

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