Maintaining Your Deck
All of your sweat and muscle has paid off. Your new deck is finished and you're looking forward to years
of relaxation, barbecues and family enjoyment. But in order to prolong the life of your deck, you'll need to
pay attention to maintenance.
Because your deck is outdoors, it'll be subjected to the elementssun, rain, wind and snow. And it will
probably get a hefty build-up of dirt and leaves. Besides applying a deck finisheither a sealer or a stainyou
can do a few other things to help your deck live a long life.
Just as you sweep indoors, try to sweep your deck often so dirt doesn't accumulate. And, at least twice a
year, scrub down the deck to remove excess dirt and decaying matter. The cracks between the deck boards are
home for all sorts of decaying matter, so make sure to remove this. You can use a putty knife or a stiff wire brush.
This will help prevent the boards themselves from decaying.
If you do have a rotting deck board, it's best to try to chisel it out with a wood chisel and hammer. You'll
then need to nail a new board in place. It should have the same seal/stain as the rest of the deck.
Remember to quickly remove mildew. While it may look like dirt, the results of unattended mildew are
large brown or black stains and will make your deck an unsightly mess. However, if you've properly applied
water sealer, it will prevent the wood from soaking up and holding water, thereby inhibiting mildew growth.
To restore the natural wood color of your deck, brush on a dilute solution of oxalic acid. You'll need 4 oz.
of acid to a gallon of water. Apply, let dry and hose off the deck. When using this solution, make sure to
wear gloves and goggles for protection.
Both water sealers and stains should be applied a minimum of every two years. If you live in an area that
has severe weather conditions, you may need to apply more frequently. You can use a large brush, broom or
paint roller for application, but to make the job go quicker, use a spray gun or pressure sprayer.
If you take these simple steps towards deck maintenance, you'll have a beautiful deck for years to come!