Can you imagine watching your deck collapse, with your children on it?

It was a fun Memorial day for the Amsalem family, filled with swimming and laughter. However, the day took a turn for the worst.

While the kids were swimming in the pool, their small deck gave way and crumbled to the ground. Everyone survived the deck collapse, but their 9-year-old daughter had severe scrapes that sent her to the ER.

Unfortunately, the Amsalem family learned the hard way that deck maintenance isn’t something you can ignore. Whether you have a brand new deck or your deck has been around a while, you need to know how to keep it safe. Plus, maintaining your deck will also instantly make your home more beautiful.

Read on to learn how to clean and maintain your deck year-round

Pre-Cleaning Tips for Deck Maintenance

One of the best tips for wood deck protection is to keep your deck dry. Allowing your deck to stay dirty means you’re inviting mold and mildew to grow. Once mold and mildew are festering you’ll have problems like rot to deal with. Instead of letting things get out of hand, prevent mold by frequently cleaning your deck. Here are the steps for cleaning your deck:

  • Remove debris
  • Protect all plants
  • Sweep the deck
  • Use the right cleaner

To remove the debris, get down on your knees for an up-close look at each board. After inspecting the top of the deck, get a flashlight and peer underneath. Look at the areas where the deckings held together, and see if there’s any hidden debris.

When you find debris, use a putty knife to get rid of it. If you have sensitive knees, you can attach your putty knife to the end of a PVC pipe.

You can also look for specially made crevice cleaners that use a pole. Of course, you can also check out these services, to have a professional do the cleaning for you.

Next, protect the plants around your deck by covering them with a simple plastic sheet. Now, you’re ready to go ahead and sweep the deck off.

All About Cleaning Products

Double-check that the cleaner you bought will work with your deck material. For instance, if you have a wood deck, you’ll need a wood deck cleaner. If your deck is aluminum, you’ll need a cleaner especially made for aluminum materials.

Follow Cleaning Product Directions

Don’t assume you know what the cleaning product directions will say. Certain products will require your deck to be wet before you can apply them, while other products demand a dry deck.

Clean in the Right Weather

You just cleaned off your deck, and you’re certain you have the right type of cleaner! However, that doesn’t mean you should jump into cleaning. First, you’ll need to determine if the weather is deck-cleaning friendly.

Deck cleaning works best on overcast, cloudy days. Why are sunny days bad for deck cleaning? Other than being uncomfortably hot to work in, sunny days can cause the deck cleaner to evaporate too quickly.

If the weather is in your favor, go ahead and start applying the cleaner. After applying the cleaner, letting it sit, and rinsing it off, you’ll need to wait to seal the deck. Allow at least 2 days after cleaning the deck to seal it. The waiting period allows the deck to fully dry.

Wood Deck Maintenance

To apply cleaner to a wood deck you can use a brush, hose, or paint roller. If you’re using a brush, you’ll want to use a brush with rough bristles, like a broom. If you’re using a sprayer, it can be your hose with the spray attachment on.

While you’re applying the cleaner, your goal will be to avoid letting it pool. Evenly spread and scrub the cleaner into the decking. Next, you’ll need to let the deck soak for however long the cleaning product dictates.

After soaking the deck, you can rinse it off. TO clean the wood railings, it helps if you start from the bottom. If you start from the top you’ll risk getting the cleaner on already dry wood, and this could leave unwanted marks.

Cleaning a Non-Wood Deck

When you’re cleaning a deck that has a material other than wood, the process will be similar to cleaning a wood deck. However, you’ll need to pay special attention to the types of brushes you’re using for scrubbing.

Composite Deck Cleaning

Is your deck made of composite material? If yes, you’ll want to avoid scrubbing it with a rough bristled brush. Instead, get a brush with soft bristles, and avoid using a pressure washer too. If there are any rust stains or leaf stains that won’t come off, try applying oxalic acid.

Vinyl Deck Cleaning

You can use a rough bristled brush on a vinyl deck. However, instead of scrubbing the cleaner in using a back and forth motion, you’ll want to keep things circular. Using a stiff broom, scrub the cleaner into the decking with small circular motions.

Year-Round Maintenance Tips

Now you know how to clean your deck and the appropriate amount of time to wait before sealing it. Having a clean, sealed deck will go a long way towards making your deck look great for years to come. Still, for the best deck maintenance, you’ll want to know how to keep your deck safe year-round.

Here are the top year-round deck protection tips:

  • Sand your deck before you seal it
  • Remove puddles and piles
  • Pay attention to the damage

First, it’s a great idea to seal your deck before you sand it. When you sand the deck you’ll be removing any fuzzy wood patches that a pressure washer might have caused. Now, your seal will be more clear and it’ll last longer.

Danger of Puddles

Moving on, you should also be vigilant to remove anything that’s piling up on your deck. Puddles of water, piles of leaves, snow piles, and more, are all hazardous to the health of your deck.

Left standing, piles and puddles can cause premature rotting, and wear. Protect your home by regularly sweeping and if necessary shoveling your decks surface.

Finally, deck damage isn’t something you can ignore. Whenever you see damage to your deck, fix it immediately.

Damage could be things like loose nails, rotting planks, or soft spots. Before you do a deep cleaning, repair any deck damage.

Keep Your Deck Safe and Lovely

Now you know the top tips for having the best deck maintenance year-round. Not only will your deck look great, but it’ll be safer for everyone in your household.

Are you ready to discover more ways to protect your home? Go ahead and read another one of our articles, today!

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