It is virtually impossible to discuss the topic of wood decking without at least touching on the topic of maintenance. After all, without proper maintenance, just about anything constructed from this natural material will begin to rot, crack, splinter, warp, or grow mold. This is because while wood is a beautiful building material, it is also naturally porous. This results in wood being far more susceptible to a wide range of damage. Thankfully, caring for your wood deck and maintaining its natural beauty does not need to be difficult. In fact, keeping your wood deck looking its very best can be rather simple with the easy three-step maintenance process outlined below.
Before you are able to get started, you will need to collect a few basic supplies. Here is a list of what you will need:
- Dish soap or another mild detergent
- Household bleach
- Pump sprayer
- Pressure washer
- Wood stain or paint with built-in sealant
Once you have everything that you need handy, complete the three steps below. This process should be repeated every few years in order to extend the life of your deck and keep it looking great.
Step One: Apply Cleaning Solution
Inside your pump sprayer, you will want to mix together a solution that is three parts water and one part household bleach. How much of this solution you require will depend upon the size of your deck since you will need to cover it entirely. Once your base cleaning solution is ready, simply add a few drops of dish soap or other mild detergent and you're ready to go.
When using your pump sprayer, be sure to coat the entire deck. This includes all handrails and any wood steps that may lead up to the deck. Leave the cleaning solution to soak into the wood for at least an hour without washing it away. This will ensure that any mold, mildew, or other fungi that have begun growing inside your wood is killed and removed before the wood is sealed.
Step Two: Pressure Wash Deck
The next step in your maintenance process will be to pressure wash your deck. When completing this step, you will want to keep the nozzle of your pressure washer several feet away from the surface of your deck at all times. You should also ensure that the nozzle stains in constant motion using a back and forth sweeping motion to wash away any dirt, mold, or debris that has accumulated. Following these guidelines is a vital part of ensuring that you do not damage the deck's surface while cleaning it.
Once you have finished pressure washing, you will want to allow your wood to dry for a day or two before moving on to the final step.
Step Three: Seal The Wood
It is extremely important that you do not begin this final step unless you are certain that your deck has had ample time to dry. Sealing moisture into the wood can cause it to deteriorate faster, so if you are not quite sure if you have allowed for ample drying time, give your deck at least a few more hours to dry before completing this step.
Once you are sure that the deck is sufficiently dry, you will need to apply your wood stain or paint. Make sure that you are using a product that has a built-in sealant or you will need to apply sealant separately. Apply these products according to the directions provided for the specific product that you have chosen.
Contact a local deck contractor to get more advice.