Did you think that laying a deck and splashing on some sealant would keep it looking fresh for years to come? Are you slowly realizing that it is not true, and your deck needs a spruce up? If so, do not worry, as it is a very easy mistake that lots of first-time landscapers make.
Luckily, deck maintenance mistakes are easy to avoid. Read on to find out the do and don’ts of how to keep a deck.
1. Going Hard and Fast
The worst mistake you can make is to conduct your regular deck cleaning in a hard, fast, and aggressive manner. This includes using any power tools and even overcleaning.
Scrubbing or blasting the deck too hard can strip away the top surface of wood, leaving it patchy in color and uneven. It also opens it up to water damage, allowing moisture inside the wood that can rot and bend the shape of decking. Even if your deck is sealed, you may still strip away the sealant.
If you clean your deck with a jet washer, make sure you stand back from the deck and use a fan tip. Avoid any wire brushes, as these can destroy the delicate surface of the wood. Finally, never use strong chemical cleaners that may corrode the wood surface over a long period of time.
2. Not Clearing the Gaps
Anything that builds in crevice, nooks, and crannies is bad for your decking. Weeds, leaves, dirt, and detritus can easily fill the gaps between boards and cause damage as well as look unsightly. It is important you clear debris on decks regularly.
If left to rot, they can discolor and weaken the wood around them. They are also ideal places for water to pool, and this is the enemy of any well-kept deck. It can cause the wood to buckle and warp, so any places it can accumulate need to be removed.
3. Relying on Sealant
A sealant is a great product and a massive help in increasing the longevity of your decking. It keeps out the weather and general wear and tear from use. However, sealing your deck is not a one-stop miracle cure for everything.
In fact, even when sealed you will still need to maintain your deck. This will include replacing the seal after a few months or even years of use. You will need to strip the deck down at this point and reapply the sealant as if it was new decking.
In fact, you can even get away with not using sealant at all. If you commit to regular maintenance and good, efficient cleaning, there is no reason why an unsealed deck cannot last as long as a sealed one.
4. Not Calling Professionals
A lot of maintenance on your deck can be done by yourself. In fact, with regular cleaning and maintenance, you should not have much to do at all. With instructional videos on YouTube readily available, and tools and stains available from most DIY stores, the deck can be maintained without a specialist.
However, this takes a lot of time and hard work. Correct deck maintenance needs to be done efficiently, as if not you can strip away top layers and vital parts of the wood. If replacing panels and fittings, you will definitely need someone who has the tools and equipment to cut and finish the correct parts to specification.
The few odd fixes you make may go unnoticed, but once they start to stack up your deck will look shoddy and unkempt. Call in a professional for anything you do not have the time, tools, or technique to finish.
5. Deck Maintenance Mistakes in Surrounding Areas
Once you have your deck set up, sealed, and looking pristine, it is time to maintain the rest of your yard. Although this area is not part of the decking, it can have a direct impact on how long it lasts.
Plants around your decking should be trimmed back and well kept. If not, poor drainage during wet seasons can pool under the decking and cause excessive growth in pests like mosquitos when the warm weather arrives. Clean any patio flooring around the decking.
In addition, you do not want unkempt areas that attract larger pests. The underneath of decking is a perfect environment for mice and rats, and they will make a home there if they have access to food from your garden parties or nearby trash cans. Think about the layout of your garden and maintain it so it does not impact your decking.
6. Not Preparing for the Refinish
A time will come when your deck is worn and needs refinishing. However, it is not as simple as just painting the oil on and letting it dry. In fact, the whole process is quite arduous and is one time when you should consider hiring a professional.
Firstly, the whole deck needs to be deeply cleaned. Any dirt left in the wood will stop the oil from penetrating, and you will be left with a patchy finish. You may also require some deep sanding in certain areas.
In addition, you need to take into account weather and drying conditions. If rain or moisture penetrates before the oil has dried, it can have serious implications. A professional will know how long oils and finishes need to dry in varying conditions and be able to predict when to do the job.
7. Avoiding Updates
The final thing you can do to keep your deck well maintained is to embrace the idea that it will need updating. If a panel has worn away or cracked, then replace it. If a railing or border needs totally refinishing, then don’t put it off until next summer.
In addition, you should think of the deck as an extension of your home, not something separate. Replace plants and decorations that may look dated and tired. As furniture rusts and falls to pieces, make sure you replace it with something fresh and modern.
Use It to Add Value
In summary, the golden rule is that a deck should add value to your property. Through maintenance and upkeep, your deck should look like somewhere people want to spend time. If it does not, it may be time to redesign it or remove it altogether.
If you enjoyed this handy article on deck maintenance mistakes, then you will love the other helpful content on our blog. Garage Force are experts on flooring and maintenance, with all the knowledge you need to make your home look fantastic. Check out this article on how to add value to your home using your garage floor.