Wooden Deck Maintenance 101: The Basics You Need to Know

Written by Davel Construction On June 1, 2023
Applying deck sealant protects your deck

Your deck is to be cherished! Not only does it enhance your home’s value and curb appeal, but it also provides you with an opportunity to kick back and relax. Unfortunately, stains, rot, and general wear and tear can threaten your deck surface and create an eye sore.

The good news? With a little elbow grease, you can protect your deck from these hazards. By cleaning, sealing, staining, repairing and protecting your deck you’ll make sure the good times last. Would you like to maintain your investment? Follow this pro advice and enjoy your deck for years to come.

Give Your Deck a Proper Cleaning

Are dirt, dust, and debris enhancing the look of your deck? Of course not. It’s time to wash your deck.

A Power Washer Will Get the Job Done

By pressure washing your deck, you’ll get a better result, while also saving time. Avoid damaging your deck by using the proper setting on your pressure washer when you spray. For softwood, 500 to 600 psi is optimal, while 1200 to 1500 psi is more suitable for hardwood.

Choose the Right Deck Cleaner

All-purpose deck cleaner works for most decks, but if your wood surface is painted, get something a bit more gentle. Restorative wood deck cleaners will add life to dull and weathered decks. If you have a composite or vinyl deck, avoid anything that contains bleach.

Sanding Your Deck Provides a Smooth Finish

An orbital sander will help you smooth out those unsightly areas while also removing old gloss. 60 to 80 grit is best for your deck boards, while 80 to 100 will suffice on handrails.

Deck maintenance allows you to enjoy it for years to come
Your deck is part of your life! Take steps to ensure it stays protected for years to come.

Deck Sealant Will Prevent Water Damage

Just as rain can ruin your afternoon on the deck, it can also be damaging to the deck itself. Applying a deck sealant will cause water to bead, as opposed to soaking into the wood, where it can cause cracks, mould and mildew. Sealant is often transparent, making it a good choice for those who want to maintain the natural look of their wood grain. Unfortunately, the sealant is often ineffective against UV damage.

Tips for Applying Sealant

Do your prep work first: repair, wash, and sand your deck before sealing. It’s also a good idea to wait 30 days or so before sealing a new deck. This will ensure that the wood is ready to absorb it. Does water still bead on your deck? If so, it’s not ready.

Ensure that your deck is completely dry, and add sealant using a roller or brush on a day when the temperature is between 10 and 30 degrees C. (Rollers are faster, but a brush gets into the grain better). Stay off the deck for a couple of days, and consider reapplying every year or two.

Deck Staining Protects Against Water and Sun Damage

Deck staining also offers water protection, but adds UV protection to the mix. An outdoor deck can dry out, split, or crack when exposed to too much direct sunlight, making stain an attractive choice.

Unlike sealant, wood stain contains pigmentation, which affects the colour of the wood fibres. Is this a feature or a bug? The answer lies in the eye of the beholder. Semi-transparent stains are available, lessening this effect.

Like sealant, deck stain should be applied on dry wood. Don’t apply stains on days that are too hot or cold.

Repairing Your Deck Keeps it as Good as New

It’s important to inspect your deck for damage on a regular basis. You wouldn’t put up with loose boards in your home’s interior, and you shouldn’t do so outside either. Damaged boards should be replaced in the name of both safety and beauty.

If wood has been damaged by termites, it should be re-enforced immediately, and replaced as soon as possible. If an active colony exists nearby, it may be necessary to obtain the services of a professional.

Speaking of pest repellant, your first line of defence is a clean, dry deck. Citronella torches can act as a deterrent for certain unwanted visitors, as can marigolds, garlic and rosemary.

Furniture pads will prevent scratches on your deck’s surface, while also protecting the furniture itself.

Winterize Your Deck and Thank Yourself in Spring

As deck season fades, it’s time to take a few extra precautions. Protect your deck in winter by clearing snow with a suitable shovel. Rubber or plastic buckets cause less damage than metal ones.

Use awnings or downspouts to minimize water and ice accumulation. Trim overhanging branches which could break and crash under the weight of a winter storm. Store your patio furniture elsewhere.

Winterize your deck to protect it for the Spring
Special steps should be taken to protect your deck during cold Canadian winters.

Be Good to Your Deck and Your Deck Will Be Good to You

A little bit of effort goes a long way in ensuring that your deck is the spot for relaxation and entertainment for many years to come. Clean it, seal it, stain it, repair it, and enjoy it!

Davel believes that our homes are our castles. That’s why we treat all of our customers’ properties as if they were our own. Whether you’re looking to renovate inside or out, we’re happy to discuss ideas. Our innovative 3D imaging system allows you to see what your upgrades will look like before work even begins.

Contact Davel today for a free consultation and take the first step toward an upgrade you’ll enjoy for years to come.