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How to Maintain a Deck

a landscape view from a two-story deck in the mountains

If your home features a deck then regular deck maintenance should be incorporated into your home upkeep routine. Although they are an awesome bonus feature on a home, decks are often neglected when it comes to regular cleaning and maintenance. This is particularly true here in Colorado where decks take a beating from the elements. Neglecting your deck can cause major problems and even lead to the deck becoming unsafe. Use this guide on how to maintain a deck through each season of the year and show your deck a little TLC with these awesome tips.

Spring Deck Maintenance

As you begin to get your home ready for the spring, your deck could use some attention as well. The winter can be very hard on decks, especially the horizontal boards. Here are a couple quick ways to get your deck refreshed after those cold winter months.

A hose on a deck

  • Rinse Off Debris. Giving your deck a quick rinse after the winter can help bring it back to life. Dirt and debris that might sit on the surface of your deck will build up and break down the integrity of the stain. This will cause the stain to fail. So, just like with your home, an annual or bi-annual rinse is key to a well maintained deck. You can hire a professional pressure washer to do this along with washing your home or you can just use your regular garden hose.  
  • Inspect Your Deck. Once you’ve got your deck washed off, now it’s time for an inspection. Since most decks are made with wood they will break down over time and may eventually require board replacement. The best way to stay on top of your deck maintenance is to inspect your deck at least once a year for any rotten boards. To tell if a board is rotten, take a pen and press it into the board. If the board is soft then it should probably be replaced. 

    We always recommend that you hire a deck professional to take care of any board replacement because you want to protect the support system of the deck. Remember, safety is number one. 

Summer Deck Maintenance

Summer time is when most decks see all the action. To make sure your deck is summer ready check out these helpful deck tips.

a staining a deck with a roller

  • Stain Your Deck. The summer is the best time to stain your deck. Stains are much more sensitive to colder temperatures, so you get the best application during the summer months. Staining your deck helps protect your deck from the outside elements and gives it a polished, well cared for finish. If your deck is older or pretty worn out then we recommend a solid stain because this will help cover any imperfections. Solid stains are better than paint because unlike paint (which sits on top of the surface) solid stains permeate the wood. This gives you greater protection for longer. Colorado homeowners will usually need to stain once a year or every other year depending on the exposure and wear.
  • Protect Your Deck. You can take extra precautions to protect your deck by using outdoor rugs or installing a deck cover. Outdoor rugs will help protect the surface of the deck and potentially allow your stain to last longer.  A deck cover is a large investment but they are great for added shade, deck protection, and comfort. There are multiple deck cover options so do your research and find the one that best suits your needs.

Fall Deck Maintenance

As the summer wraps up and you begin your preparations for the snow, you can prepare your deck as well!  

  • Store Your Rugs. If you choose to use outdoor rugs on your deck for added protection then you’ll want to get those rolled up and stored before the winter.  Rugs left out can trap moisture and the added harsh elements will wear on your rug as well.  
  • Sweep Off Your Deck. Once you’ve stored things, now it’s time to clean off your deck once more.  You’ll want to wait and do this after most of the leaves have fallen and you’ve cleaned out your gutters for the greatest efficiency. This just helps keep your deck clear of dirt and debris that can compromise the effectiveness of your deck stain.

Winter Deck Maintenance

Decks don’t seem to get a ton of use in the winter but here are a couple things to keep in mind as you move through these colder months.

a snowy deck

  • Don’t Let Snow Sit. Moisture is not great for decks, especially when it sits too long.  A day or two is fine, but if you have areas on your deck where snow is particularly stubborn, then be sure to address those. Brush the snow off or gently shovel it off your deck so as to not to cause damage. 
  • Limit Salting. Shoveling your deck can cause damage to the surface of the deck which can cause the stain to fail.  So, you want to limit your shoveling, but salting is equally destructive. To get the longest lifespan out of your deck we recommend using gentle means to remove snow as often as possible. Luckily, here in Colorado our snow doesn’t tend to stick around too long.

 

Conclusion

Decks are a great feature of any home and we hope these tips help you to get the most out of your deck. The keys to a well maintained deck are; keep it clean, stain it regularly, and do what you can to protect the walking surfaces. With these tips and a little dedication, you will be well on your way to the best deck in the neighborhood!