Your deck is your favorite spot for family get-togethers, fun conversations, and just relaxing with a glass of iced tea and a favorite book. It’s also a major investment in your home, and definitely worth protecting for financial reasons. Read on for five essential actions that you can take right now that will help you keep your deck healthy and serving your family for years to come!
1. Check for Damaged Boards
The first thing you should check for on your deck is splitting or cracking in any of the boards. While some damage will only be cosmetic, other damage can pose a structural threat to your deck, and all damage will only get worse over time until you correct it. Plus, any splinters or raised edges can pose a danger to friends and family who are enjoying your deck, such as Mae, who is having fun rolling around on “her” deck in the photo above. When you’re checking your deck for damaged boards, don’t forget to check the joists underneath the deck, as well as the railings. Replace any damaged pieces.
2. Check for Dry Rot
If you have a wood deck, you need to check the boards for dry rot. Dry rot is a fungal infestation that gets inside of the wood and spreads throughout the boards, so it’s essential to put a stop to it as soon as possible or risk losing your deck. Check for discolored, soft, spongy boards, shrunken boards, or a musty odor. If any of your deck’s boards are infested with dry rot, you will need to remove the affected wood immediately in order to prevent the fungus from spreading, and seal the rest of your deck to protect it.
3. Fix any Loose Nails
It’s easy not to take a loose nail or two seriously, but that would be a mistake. Loose nails set your deck up for damage by letting water in where it doesn’t belong and by allowing boards to become loose. Loose nails are also a hazard that can cause friends and family to trip and fall, or even cause a laceration. This is the perfect time of year to check your deck for any loose nails and pound them back in before chillier weather gets here.
4. Keep your Deck Free of Dirt and Debris
Dirt and debris such as sticks or leaves from nearby trees or shrubs can encourage the erosion of your deck’s surface coating, and can also provide a welcome environment for the growth of destructive organisms such as fungus. Sweep your deck regularly, and houselogic recommends trimming all trees and shrubs to at least 12 inches away from the edge of your deck.
5. Eliminate Damaging Growths
Dry rot isn’t the only type of growth that you have to worry about on your deck: Whether your deck is wood, composite, vinyl, or any other material, it can fall victim to moss, algae, lichen, or mold and mildew growth. All of these growths pose big problems on your deck. Both green and black algae can ruin your deck’s appearance and make it dangerously slippery; ugly moss can warp and crack wooden boards and cause etching on some other materials; mold and mildew is smelly, ugly, and dangerously slippery; and lichen can cause etching on many surfaces that can permanently mar the appearance of many types of decking.
Using bleach or a pressure washer to remove these growths can damage or speed up wear and tear on some decking finishes, bleach can also kill your lawn, and neither bleach nor pressure washing does anything to keep these destructive growths from coming right back. Put a stop to them with Wet & Forget Outdoor! Wet & Forget Outdoor kills algae, moss, lichen, and mold and mildew with no scrubbing needed–just spray and leave, and let Wet & Forget do the work! Wet & Forget’s gentle formula is safe to use on any type of deck, and won’t kill your lawn. Best of all, Wet & Forget Outdoor keeps working even after the growths are gone, keeping them away for a year or more in most cases. Just spray and forget about it! Spend more time enjoying your deck, and less time cleaning it! Click here for instructions.
Enjoy your deck!
Photo courtesy of Donnie Rae Jones.