A deck is a great place to bask in the outdoors and entertain guests. As with all other things parts of the house that go through frequent use, decks need proper maintenance to function properly and last as long as they should. Without proper maintenance, your deck will likely fall apart much sooner than you expect, which will have you paying for hefty repairs prematurely.
There is much more to deck maintenance than you may think. Keeping it clean is not the only thing that you have to do constantly–you also have to ensure that you’re not doing these things that can quickly ruin your deck and severely shorten its life:
Leaving food and drinks to marinate
Your deck is not equipped with flooring for food processing, so food and drinks cannot be left on it for too long. Dropping pieces of food or spilling drinks on the deck is common, especially during social gatherings. Leave the residue on for too long and it can cause staining, making your deck look dirtier than it really is.
That said, clean up spills as soon as they happen to prevent liquid from seeping into the material and staining it. During social gatherings, keep paper towels nearby for easy clean-up.
Putting rusty furniture
Metal deck furniture can rust at the bottom and leave unpleasant rust stains on your deck, which are often very difficult to remove. Avoid this problem by putting felt pads on the bottom of your metal furniture. In this way, even if they rust, the rust won’t stain the decking underneath.
If your deck is already stained with rust, try to remove it as soon as possible. Use sandpaper for a wooden deck or toilet bowl cleaner for a composite or vinyl deck. If that doesn’t work, you might have to call in a professional cleaner.
Placing potted plants without saucers
The saucers underneath potted plants collect excess water as it seeps out from the soil, preventing it from seeping into the decking. If you put potted plants on the deck without saucers, the excess water on the deck can promote staining, mold growth, and worse–rotting (if you have a wooden deck).
Cleaning with bleach
Cleaning your deck with bleach may seem like a good idea, but it’s really not. Bleach can cause discoloration on your deck and harm nearby greenery. Instead, use a deck cleaner or home ingredients such as borax, baking soda, or dish soap.
Letting debris accumulate
Clumps of organic debris can easily stain your deck if you ignore them for too long. They can also catalyze the rotting of wooden or composite decks. To avoid this problem, remove the debris at least once a week or so with a broom or a leaf blower. If there are tree branches hanging over the deck, consider getting them trimmed to minimize the debris that ends up on your decking.
Not moving around the furniture
Change the position of the furniture once in a while to prevent uneven fading and keep your deck looking good for as long as possible. Doing this will also help minimize the risk of moisture problems caused by furniture staying in one position for too long. It also helps to remove excess furniture from your deck to promote an even color to your deck.
Misusing the pressure washer
Using a pressure washer is an easy and efficient way to clean a deck. It may even remove tough stains from the material. However, setting the pressure too high can cause damage to your wooden deck. The same happens when you pressure wash your deck too often.
That said, don’t pressure wash your deck if it doesn’t need deep cleaning yet. Similarly, use a PSI of less than 1,100 to minimize the risk of damaging the wood. If you’re not used to using pressure washers, practice on an unnoticeable part of the deck first.
Failing to seal the deck
A deck sealer helps lock out moisture and reduce the absorption of water into the decking to avoid mold growth and rot. Sealing at least once a year is a good rule of thumb for most decks. If you have an older deck, you might want to seal more often. Don’t let more than three years go by without re-sealing your deck. Moreover, don’t forget to sweep and clean your deck before applying sealant and stain.
Avoid these mistakes to keep your deck looking great for more years to come. A deck is a great investment in a house, so keeping up with maintenance is the best way to protect your investment.