How to Care for Your Deck
The days are quickly heating up here in Texas, so many homeowners are taking to the outdoors to get their yards ready for summer cookouts and parties. Although mowing the lawn and doing some landscaping should be on your to-do list, the heart of your backyard entertainment space is your deck, which likely requires some TLC if it’s going to be used extensively this year.
Deck care doesn’t stop after initial construction. You need to keep up with yearly maintenance tasks to keep your deck looking its best. Follow these steps to ensure your yard is ready for summer!
You never realize just how much dirt, grime and dust collects on your deck until you get around to cleaning it. Once a year, you should grab a utility brush, a deck cleaner and a hose with a hard stream setting and head outside to scrub it down.
Before you begin, make sure you cover all nearby shrubs, trees or gardens with tarp. The chemicals in the cleaner can kill plant life, ruining your lawn with dead branches and brown patches of grass.
Make sure the day is warm but not hot – 70 degrees is perfect – and apply a layer of the chemical deck cleaner to the entire deck with your utility brush or roller. This cleaner will kill mold and break down bacteria colonies that have built up. Use the utility brush to scrub areas that are especially dirty.
Leave the cleaner to sit for as long as directed on the bottle. Once the cleaner has worked its magic, rinse the deck thoroughly with the hard stream hose attachment or a power washer. Be careful if you choose to use a power washer, though. Spraying the deck head-on at too close a distance can gouge the wood and ruin the deck.
Now that the deck is clean, it’s time to check it over for popped nails or loose boards. These can compromise the integrity of the structure if left unfixed. Hammer loose nails back in and secure any unstable boards.
Split wood is also a common problem, but it can be repaired easily by replacing the plank. Simply mark the location of the split, use a jigsaw to cut out the section of damaged wood and replace it with a properly-sized plank using deck screws. Be careful not to accidentally cut the joist! The new plank may not blend in with the other boards right away, but over time, it will lose moisture and shrink to fit the space.
If you chose to use a power washer, you may notice some splintering in your deck. Splinters may also appear as a result of exposure to the elements. Make sure to wait until the deck is completely dry – roughly 24 to 48 hours – and then sand the deck down with 80-grit sandpaper. Don’t go too crazy here! A pole sander will do just fine.
Even pressure treated wood is vulnerable to sunshine and torrential rains. You’ll need to protect it from sun bleaching and moisture damage with a sealant.
You’ll need protective eyewear, gloves and a roller or brush to apply both the sealant. Don’t forget the backs of the banisters or sides of the deck! Leave the sealant to soak into the wood for roughly 20 minutes. Using a brush, go back over the deck once more to even out the finish and mop up puddles of sealant that have collected. The sealant will take about 48 hours to dry completely, so avoid using the deck until then. Once it’s dried, seal the deck in the same manner.
Deck and Fence Contracting Services in Austin, TX
When summer comes around, there’s nothing quite like lounging outside on a deck with friends. Whether it’s a birthday party or a barbecue, decks provide the perfect outdoor entertainment space for all your events.
If your backyard is lacking a place to gather, entertain and enjoy the company of your guests, spring is the time to make a change. At Austex Fence and Deck, our decks are specially designed to fit your needs and expertly crafted to last for years. We’re proud to use only the highest quality materials in our projects. Our team partners with you to design the best deck for your space within your budget and using hardy materials, from redwood to composite and everything in between. Contact us online or call (512) 258-5000 to receive your quote today!