Decks take a beating throughout Minnesota’s seasons. From the rainfall in the spring, to the sun beating down during the hot summers, and let’s not forget the heavy snowfall! All of these conditions can play a factor in damaging your deck. It is important to inspect the condition of your deck on a regular basis. Whether it is wood, composite, PVC or aluminum, take the time to make sure your deck is secure and in good working condition. Despite what we all want to believe, accidents can happen, so take a look at the deck maintenance tips below for some help on what to look for.
Functional Stability Check
Make sure that the ledger board has not pulled away from the house from excessive movement or deterioration. This will significantly decrease the safety of any deck.
If your deck is not properly treated, rain and heavy snow can cause decay, rot, and mold throughout the surface and support structure. Look for any dark, splintered, or weakened areas that may be sagging. Take the time to inspect for any loose nails or screws and replace them as needed. Double check the stability of railings and stairs. You may want to contact a contractor if any reinforcement or serious repairs are needed.
Cleaning & Sealing
It is important that you keep your deck clean and free of debris to help maintain the finish. This is very important with composite and pvc materials, which can stain if an item is left on the deck for too long.
A wood deck should be kept clean of dirt and other debris (aka bird droppings) throughout the year. If the finish is peeling or chipping, re-staining is a must. You can try a water test to see if water is soaking into your deck or if it beads up and repels it.
Refinishing a Wood Deck
Even the incredibly durable cedar deck should have a quality finish applied – and be refinished as needed. Although using a power washer to pull off the previous finish can be tempting, it can also dig into the wood grain and leave you with a damaged wood surface.
A better option for refinishing is to take a rough grit hand sander and carefully take off the top layer of finish/stain. Then, go over again with a fine grit (220) for a smooth surface.
When applying stain, it is important to apply enough to saturate the surface – and wipe off any excess with a clean cloth. Too much stain will collect on the surface of the wood and dry improperly, leaving you with an unpleasantly sticky deck that peels again next year.
Professional Help Available
Homeowners in the Twin Cities area do not need to dread building a new deck. The professional team at Midwest Exteriors has the experience and ability to build a beautiful deck in a short time.
For more information on the home improvement services available, contact Midwest Exteriors for a free estimate today.
Originally published: April 25, 2013
Information updated: August 6, 2015