The melting snow typically comes with a sense of relief…that is until someone casually moves a piece of furniture on the deck to reveal a grimy mess. Potted plants, deck furniture and grills can be hiding a cocktail of trapped moisture, mildew or even grease that keep the wood from looking healthy and ready for upcoming seasonal gatherings. In the spirit of spring cleaning, the following points are some of the basic steps we find necessary in cleaning and restoring the look of a deck.
Clearing the deck is the easiest and simplest way to know what will be required to get things order. Although simply cleaning around objects on the deck is tempting, some of the potential messes hiding underneath are not only eyesores, they pose a legitimate threat to the wood potentially resulting in rot and costly repairs/replacements. A clearing helps avoid these types of surprises. Additionally, it’s the perfect time to spot anything that could be a safety hazard. Keep a sharp eye for nails and splintering wood before they cause a problem. Once this is done, sweeping the area will remove loose debris and offer insight to areas that will require special treatment and cleaning.
But Can it Wait?
Spring time is ideal for quality deck maintenance. This is mainly because prolonged sun exposure causes some cleaners to dry quickly and potentially burn the deck. So putting the task off until just before the big annual BBQ may not be the best idea with hotter days on the way. Still, a cloudy morning or early evening is advisable to help achieve the best result.
Cleaning and Product Use
Professionals use a small amount of product and hot water before addressing each area. Note: for homeowners considering doing this project themselves, consulting a pro for product recommendations will ensure the safety of their deck and also offer the best result. The next step is to gentle rinse or power wash to cleanse the remaining loose dirt. Lastly, cleaning between planks (especially narrow gaps) is the best defense against standing water and ultimately mildew/rot.
Stained and Sealed
Every two or three years (or as needed) it’s recommended to service a deck with a new staining or sealing. Not only will this help the deck achieve the best look possible and also add years to the wood by preventing degradation, oxidation, splitting and rot.