The pandemic has led us to rediscover and appreciate many things we may not have before, one of them being outdoor living. Outdoor living and spending time on our decks has always been something we’ve enjoyed, but with stay-at-home orders, our decks have become extensions of our living environment. With the weather changing and spring just around the corner, it is the perfect time to update your outdoor space. You can get started with some basic deck prep to get it ready for the season. The first step is to inspect your deck to see how it held up over the winter. Look for cracked or splitting decking, faded and peeling paint or stain, signs of mold and mildew, rot and decay, and damaged deck railings.
After you inspect your deck for any damages, give it a good cleaning. Your deck can be cleaned by using a mild cleaning solution, a stiff brush, and a hose if you do not own a pressure washer. If you are using a pressure washer, be careful you do not damage your deck boards by using too high of a pressure setting. If you find mold and mildew patches during your inspection, use a deck cleaner that is made for removing them. You can also look for cleaning products that can restore bleached and faded deck boards back to their original color. If your deck is made of wood, look to see if the water beads up or absorbs into the wood after cleaning it.
If the water on your wood deck appears to be absorbing into the wood, your next step is to apply a deck sealer. It is important to do this step when the deck is completely dry, and rain is not in the forecast for a few days. If deck sealer comes into contact with water, such as rain, within 24 hours of it being applied, it may never fully dry. This would lead to the deck being permanently tacky when you walk on it. This can also happen if you use too thick of a coat of clear sealant. To prevent a thick coat, you can alternatively use a semitransparent stain that is thinner and easier to apply. No matter what type you use, a deck sealer should be applied every few years to keep your deck healthy. In addition, look into using deck water repellants that contain a mildewcide to help stop the growth of mold and mildew on your deck.
The last step of your deck prep is to replace any part of the deck that might be corroded. This includes rotted or decaying boards, floor joists, and railing pieces. You can swap out the old boards with moisture and insect resistant lumber and fasten them with corrosion-resistant fasteners.
Deck prep can be a great project to consider doing now to keep you entertained while at home. Once you finish, you can enjoy your hard work all summer long with minimal keep up. Just sweep or hose down your deck a couple times throughout the summer, and you will have a beautiful outdoor space for you and your family.