Deck Maintenance Monmouth County
Whether you love having family cookouts or enjoying a quiet cup of coffee and watching the sunrise before the kids get up, decks are a great way to add some outdoor space to your home. However, decks are also exposed to harsh elements and should be maintained throughout the year to keep them safe and looking great. A deck can add more enjoyment to your home and backyard, as well as resale value to your home. However, owning a deck comes with its own set of responsibilities — particularly, regular deck maintenance Monmouth County.
A deck is exposed to the elements all year round. It also collects dirt and debris between the decking boards. Regular maintenance will ensure your deck lasts longer and looks better. Decks require routine maintenance to keep them safe and functional. They also need to be inspected regularly. That’s why you need a deck maintenance Monmouth County.
Spending time out on your deck with visiting friends and relatives, or just relaxing and soaking up the sun, is one of the best moments of summer. But if your deck is cracked, warped, or infested with moss or dry rot, it can become an eyesore and may even be dangerous to use. Decks are exposed to the elements year-round. Wood decks, in particular, are more susceptible to rot, mold, and insect infestation.
When comparing composite decking to wood, composite requires less stringent maintenance than wood since most composite deck boards have a core composed of a blend of wood and synthetics. This core is surrounded by a synthetic coating that prevents moisture and insects from creeping in and compromising the integrity of your deck. On the other hand, wood decking can be far more vulnerable to the elements and insects, as well as absorb more moisture because it is an all-natural material.
However, you can extend the lifespan of a wood deck with regular maintenance. Routine maintenance is critical to maintaining your deck’s beauty and structural integrity so you can enjoy it for years to come.
You should learn how to maintain and care for your wood deck for each season and keep it a serene and beautiful outdoor space and retreat instead of an eyesore. With that in mind, follow this checklist of wood deck maintenance tips to help keep your deck in good shape.
Basic Deck Maintenance and Care
Check for Decaying and Rotting Wood
Maintaining the structural integrity of your wood or pressure-treated wood deck is important to getting decades of safe use from it. The North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) recommends examining your deck at least once per year for any decaying or rotting wood. When examining your deck, carefully and thoroughly inspect all areas, surfaces, and joists.
Here is a quick deck maintenance Monmouth County DIY checklist of best practices for conducting your annual inspection:
- Check the ledger board. This is the board that connects your deck to your house or another anchoring structure for your deck. The ledger board is one of the most common areas where decks see their first instances of rot. Improper flashing of ledger boards can be a key factor in encouraging rot. Flashing your ledger boards can help create a barrier against moisture and precipitation. Another reason ledger boards may be more susceptible to rot is that the board was constructed with lumber that was not decay-resistant.
- Check joists and support posts for decay. Joists and support posts are critical to the structural integrity of your deck. Not only should you check your joists and support posts for signs of rot, but you should regularly engage in good preventive maintenance to guard joists against rot.
- Check deck boards. Check the surface of your deck for any signs of decay or infestation, or for any boards where the wood may have begun to split. Look at each deck board and be sure boards aren’t loose or that they don’t have small holes or feel soft. Loose boards should be tightened, while split or rotting boards should be replaced. If possible, also look at the underside of your deck board for rot and/or pest infestation, as well. In addition, make sure deck boards have proper gapping to allow for drainage and airflow.
How to Check Your Deck for Rot
- Use a screwdriver. You can use a screwdriver to check your deck to see if the wood is easily penetrated or feels soft. This could be one of the signs of dry rot.
- Look for signs of infestation. In addition to poking your deck with a screwdriver to uncover any potentially rotted areas, you should also carefully examine your deck for small holes. These tiny holes can be signs of insect infestation or indicators that termites or other pests may have burrowed their way into the wood.
Make Sure Fasteners, Stairs and Railings are Secure
In terms of deck care and maintenance tips, you should regularly check the integrity of fasteners on your deck, such as nails, screws, or anchors. Checking fastenings is particularly important to ensure your deck and railings aren’t wobbly.
One of the most important areas to check to be sure fasteners are secure is your ledger board, which connects your deck to a standing wall of a house or other structure. If your fasteners are not secure, this can cause your deck to pull away from a standing structure and risk collapse.
Here is a brief checklist of areas to inspect to be sure your deck’s fasteners are secure:
- Stairs and railings. Inspect your stairs and railings to be sure they are both tightly secured and free from any signs of rot or decay.
- Ledger board. Check that your ledger board is securely fastened to a standing structure.
- Stair risers and stringers. Examine your stair risers and stringers as you’re inspecting your stairs and railings. Check for any loose fasteners and that your stairs feel stable and secure.
- Check fasteners, nails, and screws for rust. Check for corrosion or rust on any fasteners. Take inventory of any rusty nails or fasteners and replace them with new ones. If you live in a saltwater environment, use stainless steel fasteners.
- Check for stray nails or loose screws. Examine your deck boards for any loose screws or nails that are sticking up. This can pose a hazard and cause people to trip on your deck or may mean that your deck boards may be loose. Hammer these nails down and/or replace any loose screws that may have worn treads.
- Clean the Deck and Clear Any Debris
All decks require thorough cleaning, including composite decking. Regularly cleaning your deck and making sure it is free from any clutter or debris will not only keep your deck in good condition but will also help make your deck a safer space to enjoy.
Cleaning your deck regularly helps prevent the growth of mold or mildew that can lead to rot if left unchecked.
Here are some deck cleaning and maintenance tips to follow:
- Schedule regular cleaning. Good deck maintenance Monmouth County means sticking to a regular schedule. Give your deck a thorough cleaning at least once or twice each year. Cleaning your deck in early spring is a great way to prepare your deck for summer BBQs or warmer weather gatherings.
- Remove leaves and debris. Leaves and other debris (including trash, such as used napkins or plastic bags that may have blown onto your deck) should be regularly swept and removed from the surface of your deck. Not only can these items create a slip-and-fall hazard, but, if they become saturated with water or moisture, can also lead to mold or mildew on your deck.
- Regularly sweep your deck. Treat your deck as you would any room in your home. Sweep your deck clean once a week or every two weeks to be sure dirt and debris aren’t clinging to its surface.
- Remove any debris stuck between deck boards. In addition to sweeping your deck on a regular basis, you should also check between deck boards to be sure no debris has gotten lodged in those crevices. Damp or rotting leaves that are stuck between deck boards can also promote mold and mildew in these spaces. You can use a putty knife to get in between the boards to safely remove debris.
- Thoroughly clean your deck with an appropriate cleaning agent. Choosing the right cleaning solution is important to maintaining your deck. You don’t want to use something that is too abrasive or that will cause damage.
Stain and Seal a Pressure-Treated Wood Deck
Staining or sealing your wooden deck is an essential facet of deck maintenance Monmouth County that should be done once every year to prevent rot and decay. There are a few key differences between staining and sealing a deck.
A sealer is a clear, water-resistant coating that can be applied to a wood deck. When dried, it forms a “seal” between your deck and the elements, protecting it from moisture that could lead to rot.
A deck stain is a solution that has a tint or pigment to enhance or change the color of a wood deck. While many modern deck stains are formulated to be water-resistant, it is important to check the label to be sure that a deck stain is also a sealant.
If your deck stain formula does not have a protective sealant included, you will want to finish your deck with an added coat of sealer. Not only will this prevent the stain from wearing away in high-traffic areas and giving your deck an uneven finish, but more importantly, it will add an extra element of water resistance to your deck, safeguarding it from moisture.
During deck maintenance Monmouth County, while applying a sealant or stain, it is important to do so when weather conditions are optimal. Check your weather forecast in advance to be sure you will have a period of dry weather when staining and sealing your deck. Rain or precipitation can ruin your hard work!
Here is a brief checklist of tips to follow when staining and sealing your deck. (Remember to also always read stain and sealer manufacturer’s requirements for additional information before staining and/or sealing your deck.):
- Check the weather. Look at the weather forecast to be sure you have a period of dry weather so you can safely apply your stain or sealer. Temperatures between 50 and 90 F are optimal for making sure your stain and seal adhere properly.
- Wait 48 hours for your deck to dry after cleaning. If you have given your deck a thorough cleaning or washing, be sure your deck has had ample time to dry before applying stain or sealer. Typically, you will want to wait 48 hours for your deck to fully dry after cleaning. However, if your deck sits in a shady portion of the yard and doesn’t receive much sunlight, you may want to wait an additional 24 hours before applying your stain or sealer.
- Remove plants or furnishings from your deck and cover it with plastic. If you have any furniture, potted plants, or other items on your deck, remove them before staining. Stain or sealer can damage foliage or furnishing, so be sure to cover them, as well as any surrounding grass or shrubs, with sheets of plastic, tarps, or trash bags. If you have an elevated deck, covering the ground beneath it with a tarp can prevent stain or sealer from leaking onto your grass or any items you’re temporarily storing beneath your deck while staining.
- Sand your deck. This step is optional but recommended if you have not sanded your deck in a while and there are multiple layers of sealer or stain that have built up on the surface of your deck. To help your stain or sealer better adhere to your deck, you will want to sand it first. Sanding your deck removes any old outer layers of stain or sealer, as well as smooths down any wood splinters. Use 80-grit sandpaper to sand your deck surface. You can use a pole sander to make this easier and avoid having to sand on your hands and knees.
- Apply stain or sealer to a clean deck. After sanding your deck, be sure to sweep away the dust and grit. You can either sweep it or use a blower to clear away the dust. (Don’t use a hose to rinse away the dust! Your deck will need to be dry to apply stain or sealer.) Be sure your deck has been cleaned before applying any stain or sealer. Not only will this help your stain or sealer adhere to your deck, but you won’t be “sealing” in any dirt or debris.
Note: If the stain you plan to use does not have a built-in sealer, you will want to stain your deck first, then wait until your stain has dried before applying sealer. A stain needs time to cure, so give yourself at least a full day before applying sealer or moving furnishings back onto your deck. If you need to apply a sealer on top of your stain, wait approximately 24 hours before applying the sealer on top of your stain. Then, wait an additional 24-48 hours for your sealer to dry before walking on your deck.
Need A Professional for Your Deck Maintenance?
How long has it been since you did some maintenance on your deck? When was the last time you stained it? We all are under the impression that our decks will last forever; isn’t that what pressure-treated lumber is all about? Well, folks, wood is wood. Even though pressure-treated lumber resists insects and decay, it is still vulnerable to moisture and the sun’s rays. This includes other exterior woods like cedar and redwood. To keep it looking new and lasting longer, regular maintenance is necessary. Deck maintenance Monmouth County is absolutely necessary.
Deck Maintenance Monmouth County
If you need a professional to help you with your deck maintenance Monmouth County, contact Affordable & Professional Window & Gutter Cleaning Powerwashing Services today. Moreover, we also offer a full deck restoration service that will bring your deck back to life.
Call us now at (732) 462-0462 or get in touch with us here to get your FREE, no-obligation estimate.
Deck Maintenance Monmouth County