A deck is a perfect place for friends and family to enjoy barbecues, birthday parties, and outdoor gatherings. While you may not use the deck during the colder months, it’s time to do some annual upkeep to prepare it for the summer. Here are five tips for wood deck maintenance.

Wood Deck Maintenance Tasks for Spring

1. Inspect the Deck Ledger

Decks sometimes collapse because of a broken ledger. The ledger is the part of the structure that secures the deck to the house. A damaged or rotting ledger is a safety issue so make sure it is in good condition and fixed securely. When inspecting the screws and materials, make sure no rust is present, as this could weaken your deck.

2. Repair Structural Issues

When inspecting the deck, look for rot, warped boards, and structural damage. If you find issues, prioritize those repairs. When you notice nails that have begun to push out of the wood, remove the nail and place a screw where the nail was.

If any part of the structure is unstable, call a professional contractor to take a closer look. Don’t use the deck until repairs are made to keep family and friends from injury.

3. Deck Maintenance: Wash the Wood

Annual deck maintenance requires cleaning the materials. Dirt, debris, and mildew can accumulate when you are not using your deck, and it may need a deep clean to remove. It is best to clean the deck in spring when the temperatures are mild.

To clean the area, use oxygenated bleach and scrub the materials. Avoid chlorine bleach as this is harsh on the wood. A soft scrub using a deck-cleaning brush is best, especially if the materials are older. A power washer can damage the wood if used on a high setting. Remove mold, mildew, and algae growth completely.

4. Sand the Decking Boards

When your deck is dry, sand it down for a smooth, clean, and safe finish. Before sanding, make sure all nails are safely and securely in place below the surface of the wood. To sand a wooden deck, use a sander with 80-grit paper. If you have pressure-treated lumber, take special precautions as per the EPA guidelines.

When sanding, do so lightly and carefully. Vacuum to remove the sanding dust before adding varnish or stain to the wood.

5. Stain the Wood as Part of Your Deck Maintenance Checklist

Once your wooden deck is repaired, cleaned, and sanded smooth, add the finishing touches to bring the materials back to life. Pour a quality wood stain into a small container and apply it generously around the edges using a paintbrush. Then use a lamb’s wool applicator to stain the wooden decking boards.

A well-maintained deck offers a place for friends and neighbors to spend time during summer gatherings. Caring for the deck keeps it safe for everyone to enjoy; plus, you’ll extend the life expectancy of the decking materials.

Arrow Home Inspections provides inspection services to homebuyers and sellers in the Charlotte Metro Area. Contact us to request an appointment.