Protect your deck with proper maintenance
The inevitable is bound to happen: Your beautiful new deck will age. But you can determine how gracefully it ages.
“It’s not maintenance-free to put wood outside,” says deck designer John Breiling. “When you spend $10 to $12 per square foot of deck, you want to care for your wood. It can be tough when you live in a climate that goes from soaking wet to dry in a short amount of time, but caring for your deck is a true investment in what you’ve already spent.”
Whether your deck is already old or was just installed, these pointers will help extend its life.
Treat your deck like your kitchen floor.
You may think of a deck as self-cleaning, but in reality, it needs to be cleaned as much as your kitchen floor.
Throughout the year, keep an eye on your deck. Brush off fallen leaves for better air circulation and so leaves won’t rot and leave mildew. If your deck surface is near the ground and air circulation is limited, cover the soil with a polyethylene barrier topped with decorative rock to prevent moisture damage underneath.
Clean between decking board cracks and use pot feet to keep potted plants elevated. Schedule a major deck cleaning in the fall and the spring. At these times, you should inspect for damage, clean off debris with a hose, sand splinters and use a stain remover to lift any grill or dirt stains.
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