How to care for your deck this summer

The sun is out and the spring temperatures are rising so, of course, everyone wants to spend time out in the backyard. Winters can be hard on your deck and it may be in need of some tender love and care. Here are some dos and don’ts of maintaining your deck so you can spend as much time outside as possible this summer:

  • Reseal your deck every few years. This keeps moisture out of the wood and will save you from having to rebuild it.
  • Don’t sand your deck before sealing it; sealing it first will cut down on finishing time significantly.
  • However, with materials like slate self-seal, you don’t have to seal your patio. With foot traffic, you would have to reseal every two years, creating more work for you.
  • Stain your deck instead of painting it. Paint chips and flakes off so it can be costly to maintain whereas stain only fades and that can be solved with a new layer.
  • Don’t over wash your deck. Yes, it’s good to keep it clean, but washing it too much can damage the surface, getting into the wood and damaging the deck from the inside out. Avoid over washing stone patios as well as too much water can erode the stone. Clean these as needed.
  • Be careful with pressure washing. Do some research and find out how much pressure is right for your type of deck.
  • Avoid using wire brushes to remove stains. This is often overkilled and does more harm than good.
  • Keep your deck clear of debris like leaves and dirt. They can lead to mould and stains.
  • Rearrange your furniture every so often. They tend to trap moisture which can cause mould.
  • Don’t use chlorine bleach on your deck or patio as it will cause discolouration. Stick to plain water or find materials made specifically for cleaning decks.
  • As wood ages, it contracts and expands, causing nails to pop and wood to split. Repair these immediately so they don’t turn into bigger issues down the line.
  • Periodically check stress points like railings for rot or structural problems. You want to find safety concerns before someone gets hurt.
  • Concrete imperfections aren’t an issue. Odds are trying to fix them will make it look worse than if you just leave it alone.
  • Don’t put plant pots directly on your wood deck. Get a saucer or some form of irrigation to keep water from pooling on your deck and seeping into the wood. Potted plants often cause stains, but these can generally be cleaned off.
  • Avoid getting any cleaning chemicals on your plants. If you have a garden around your deck, lay a tarp over the plants to be sure none of the harsh chemicals gets on the leaves.

Keep these tips in mind to make sure you, your family and your deck stay healthy and safe this summer, Calgary.