Seasonal Care and Maintenance Tips for Your Deck
Because your deck is exposed to the elements for all seasons year-round, the potentially vast amount of sun, rain, snow, and ice that it is subjected to can wreak havoc. Therefore, a responsible deck owner will have to perform a certain amount of routine maintenance with every season. And, because various materials weather differently, care and cleaning can be a major factor for a homeowner or contractor when selecting the proper products.
Here’s a look at the type of deck maintenance you should be considering each season.
After a long, cold, and wet winter, mold and mildew may have set in on your wood decks, so you’ll want to get rid of it ASAP. It’s also a good idea to sweep all of the leaves, dirt, and other debris off of your deck and then take a putty knife and clear out any compacted dirt that might have built up between the planks. Then, you’ll want to give your deck a thorough cleaning. Here’s how to clean your space based on your deck material:
- Wood: Clean the deck using a wood deck cleaning product. Once dry, apply a sealer, toner, or stain to protect the wood and freshen up its appearance.
- Wood Composite*: The correct brush is very important so that it not only cleans the surface but also does not damage or dull the plank surface. For TimberTech, we recommend using either the Quickie Professional Pool and Deck Scrub or a medium plastic bristle deck brush. Do not use a natural fiber deck brush on capped composites as they can dull the surface. For general cleaning, use a dilution of mild liquid soap and water. Dawn Ultra has shown the best results. For more difficult to remove dirt, mud, clay, or surface contamination, use an all-purpose cleaner like Chomp Pro Gutter Cleaner or Zep Fast 505
- Capped Polymer: TimberTech Deck, with exclusive Alloy Armour Technology™ protection, is the easiest and most cost-effective in terms of upkeep. Simply wash the deck off using warm water and mild soap. If you do use a cleaner, we recommend diluting it with 50% water.
*Note that composite deck cleaners such as Corte Clean, Thompson’s WaterSeal—Oxy Action, Olympic Deck Cleaner, or other cleaners specified as composite deck cleaners, in powder or liquid form, should not be used with TimberTech Terrain, Tropical, or Legacy Collections. TimberTech Terrain, Tropical, and Legacy Collection deck planks are a capped composite material, the cap of these products are not comprised of a wood/plastic composite.
As the weather gets warm and dry in the summer, this is the best time to give your deck an annual inspection. If your deck is all-wood, look for signs of rot. In particular, be sure to check for any areas within six inches of the ground or close to water sources, such as downspouts and planters. Make sure you don’t forget about the stairs.
Next, take a good look at the deck’s ledger. This is the piece of the framing that is attached to your house. Look for signs of rot and whether or not any of the joist hangers are starting to rust. If you find any areas that need to be repaired, now is the time to do it.’
Fall’s cooler temperatures are perfect for performing preventive maintenance on your deck so come next spring you’ll have as minimal work as possible to get your deck ready to go. This is also time to wash and seal your wood deck if you didn’t have a chance to in the spring.
Some of the things you’re going to want to do in the fall include:
- Trim any surrounding bushes or shrubs so they’re at least 12 inches away from the side of your deck. This will help reduce mold, moss, and rot from developing over the winter.
- Keep your deck clear of falling leaves so they don’t discolor your deck.
- Keep your gutters clear so water doesn’t gather and spill over onto your deck.
- Relocate any planters and clean away the dirt that’s left behind. This will help prevent discoloring. You’ll want to do the same for your outdoor furniture as well.
If you live in a cold climate, you will want to store your outdoor furniture in a secure, covered place, such as in the garage or inside an outdoor shed. If you have soft accessories like pillows or rugs, you should store these inside the home so pests and rodents don’t take to them while stored in the garage or shed. This way, once spring rolls back around, you’ll be able to break out your furniture with it ready for use.
As you can see, wood decks are an extremely high-maintenance option each season. With TimberTech, we strive to keep our deck materials as low-maintenance as possible.