Keep your deck looking its best, and get it ready for next summer by following a few simple maintenance steps.
Summer is wrapping up, and winter is right around the corner, whether you like it or not. We all know that after months of cold ahead, that spring fever will set in, and nothing will be better than enjoying the fresh air on your deck.
However, many homeowners have to dedicate weekends in early spring to prepare their decks for the season—especially those with pressure treated decks that need to be cleaned and stained. If you want to skip right to enjoying your deck when the weather turns, there’s no better way to save time than to give your deck some TLC this fall by following these simple steps.
Thoroughly Clean Your Deck
By the end of summer, your deck has probably seen a fair share of meals, parties, and life in general, which means spills of food, drinks, and sunscreen. A great first maintenance step is to clean your deck.
Start by moving your furniture off the deck and sweeping your boards or using a leaf blower to remove any debris on the deck top, paying special attention to the gaps between boards where dirt can accumulate. After sweeping, lightly power-wash or scrub the boards with warm water and mild deck cleaning solution. For wood decks, you can use a harder bristle broom to get into the wood grain, but for composite boards, stick with a soft-bristled broom to do the job and prevent scratches. No matter your boards, always remember to sweep with the grain to reduce the potential for damage.
Inspect and Repair
After a good clean, you can examine the deck for any repairs you may need to make. If you see something wrong with a board now, colder temperatures and wet weather certainly won’t make it better by spring. Double-check the fasteners to see if there are any loose ones, check the security of the deck railings and the stairs, and even take a peek below the deck to evaluate the joists for any signs of rot.
If you have a wood deck, give your deck a barefoot walk-over to see if any spots may need to be sanded to prevent future splinters and slivers. Now is also an excellent time to check for any chips in the paint or stain and ensure any exposed wood is sealed and protected from wintry elements.
Get Your Deck Ready for Winter
If you plan on hanging out on your deck long into the fall, that’s great—just be sure to regularly sweep off leaves and debris so they don’t accumulate. Then, when it’s time to head inside for the winter, properly winterize your deck by covering your furniture or, ideally, storing it inside. If you notice some wear and tear on your furniture, like rust forming on chair legs, take the time now to clean, sand, and repaint them so they are set and ready come spring. Your future self will thank you.
Maintaining Your Deck Through Winter
If you live in an area that experiences heavy snowfall, be sure to clear the snow off of your deck promptly. Not only does snow add lots of moisture to your boards, but it can also put significant weight on your deck. Lighten the load by shoveling the top few layers of snow— don’t shovel your boards directly —then use a soft-bristled push broom to clear the rest of the snow from your boards if desired.
Maintaining your deck doesn’t have to be a monumental chore. Following these simple steps will keep your deck in great shape and maximize your time to enjoy your outdoor living space.