If you committed to installing a deck, you know this is an investment in your home. Just like the rest of your residence, it requires regular maintenance and cleaning to last for years to come. If the deck is made of a composite material, it will not require quite as much maintenance as a wooden deck. Regardless, it will not clean itself! At MG Construction and Decks, we want you to get the most of your investment! By following these tips for deck maintenance, you can extend the life and safety of your outdoor space.

Annual Deep Clean

Spring cleaning happens once a year – and this should include your deck. This space needs a deep cleanse and exfoliation at least once annually. Reapply protective sealant to protect the wood. This should be done when the weather is between 60 to 70 degrees. Fortunately, with LA’s climate, there will be plenty of opportunities for that. There are several deep cleaning solutions for decks available. These products also kill bacteria and mold. A high-powered washer works in this scenario, but be careful not to overdo it. While it saves time and labor, it can create holes in the wood if not used properly. If this tool is not available to you, a regular garden hose with a “firehose” attachment also works.

Protect the Shrubbery

Before the high-powered cleanse, protect the plants! These cleaners and sealant products can have harmful chemicals. It would be awful to perfect the deck while killing the plants. To mitigate this, cover plants with plastic or tarp. Keep this loose enough that air still circulates.

Use the Right Products

Before throwing sealant or cleaner on the deck, do the research. You cannot use just any product on these materials. For example, never use chlorine bleach. This is especially important for wooden decks. Bleach on a wooden deck will strip the wood of color and damage the cellular structure. If you are unsure what is safe to use, contact your deck installation company for recommendations.

Sand Before Sealing

One important rule of deck ownership is to sand before sealing. This helps with the deck drying process. Lightly sand the deck to take away fuzzy or splintery patches made from washing it. This should be a very light sand, possible using just 80-grit sandpaper. Power sanders would sand too much. After this, seal the deck. This protects against cupping, cracking, and warping. Clear sealer lasts the longest. A tinted sealant or stain will fade with foot traffic. Paint should not be used as a sealant. It looks nice, but not for long. If that paint fades and you decide to refinish the deck, you will have to sand it all off. Paint finishes only leave a film and do not penetrate the wood. This means the lacquer and varnish will eventually peel and crack. There are also oil-based sealants that should be avoided since they attract algae and mildew. With the sun in mind, a semi-transparent finish will protect against sun damage and add some color.

Clean Regularly

That deep cleaning should not be the only time the deck is getting some TLC. Your actual living room is protected by four walls. This is not the same for your outdoor living room. An uncovered deck will take all of the LA sun, rain, and wind. You can prevent water damage by sweeping away leaves, branches, water puddles, and other debris. Even after treatment, wooden decks and composite decks still need to be cleaned regularly. If you have an outdoor grilling area on the deck, do not let grease stain it. Clean the grease trap regularly and often. Grease stains are often the hardest stains to remove.

Watch for Damage  

Keep an eye on your deck for anything out of the ordinary. This includes splintered or soft spots, loose nails, and signs of rot. You certainly do not want to find a rotted railing when you fall through it! If it presents a health or safety hazard, address it immediately. You will want to fix rotted planks as they happen rather than waiting. If you procrastinate, this can lead to replacing the entire deck. What might have been a simple fix will now be a costly project! If your deck is older, consider exterior remodeling from MG Construction and Decks to revamp that space.

Avoid Natural Materials

You can help prevent scrapes by adding an extra layer of protection between furniture and the deck. However, do not use natural fibers like bamboo or jute. These types of materials will absorb moisture and cause mildew. Find rugs made of recycled plastics. They will not cause this problem and will last longer!

Contact the Experts  

At the end of the day, the expert opinion is the best one for deck maintenance. If you have questions or concerns about your deck, contact MG Construction and Decks and let us help!
(323) 472-4191