How many invitations for outdoor parties have you received so far this season? Maybe you’re planning your own which means you’ve been making sure your backyard is decent for viewing. When was the last time you gave your deck any thought though? With all of the people you plan on having over in the coming season, you want to make sure that your deck is as safe and beautiful as the rest of your yard. If you haven’t done any deck maintenance in a while, here are a few things you should do before that first party rolls around.
Protecting Your Deck from Weather
You’ll need two cloudy, mild days to do this (not back to back), so you’ll need to start this process in the early part of the year. Start by clearing the deck surface and in between the boards of all dirt and debris, then use a cleaner appropriate to the material your deck is made of—wood, composite, or vinyl—and coat the entire surface of the deck and railings with it. Be sure that it soaks for only as long as necessary before thoroughly rinsing every surface, and then allow your deck to dry completely.
If you have a wood deck, return after at least two days have passed, and you can begin the process of sealing the deck, which starts with sanding down the surface and replacing any loose or missing nails/screws. You can use a large paint roller to apply the sealant, with no more than two coats, as you don’t want it to pool in places and leave an uneven stain. If your deck is made of composite, you will need a specialized sealant, but if you have a vinyl deck, you can skip this step completely. Sealing the deck is an annual task, so be sure to consult a contractor on the best way to care for your deck when it is first built.
Inspecting the Structure
Early summer – after all of the spring rains have moved away – is a good time to check the structural integrity of your deck, and to ensure that the wood is free of rot and cracks. Use a screwdriver to inspect structural posts and stairs; if the screwdriver can be driven more than an inch into the wood, it needs to be replaced immediately. You should also take the time to replace any cracked boards in your deck, as rot has a tendency to form inside of the cracks and will eventually compromise the structure.
Your deck is a great place to spend time with friends and family throughout the spring and summer, it gives your backyard a homey feel, and it adds equity to your home, but only if you maintain it. If you have questions about how best to take care of your deck, or if you need help repairing damage to it, please call Liberty Builders for a consultation.