Having a deck in your backyard is one of the great pleasures associated with homeownership. Whether you’re cooking up some delicious food on the grill, enjoying drinks with family and friends, or just basking in the beautiful weather, a deck is a great addition to any home. But nothing lasts forever, and, charming though they may be, a wooden deck is going to require some ongoing maintenance. Here at D & D Painting, one of the questions that we’re frequently asked is just how often one really needs deck restoration on a natural wood deck.
Maintenance vs. Restoration
For starters, the answer to that question depends on what you mean by deck restoration. There’s work which needs to be done on a regular basis, which is probably more appropriately termed “maintenance”. And then there’s the true restoration, which is in many cases, the result of neglecting some of that routine maintenance. So if you do a good job of maintaining, it becomes less likely and less often that you’ll need a major renovation.
Your deck is exposed to a variety of elements, including wind, rain, and (in some areas) snow and ice. And the same sunlight that makes it so enjoyable to sit out on the deck will also take its toll on the wood itself. Here are some of the maintenance points you should keep in mind:
Look for rot.
Rotting wood is not just unsightly. The rot weakens the structural integrity of the deck, and that’s no laughing matter, when you have your friends and loved ones on a deck that’s raised well above the ground. Nothing ruins a backyard cookout like having your deck collapse!
Keep an eye out for wood that’s starting to look spongy, shrinking, cracking, or give off a musty or funky odor. Depending on how extensive the rot is, you may be able to salvage that piece of wood, or it may need to be replaced outright.
Get rid of the mildew.
Another risk for anything made of wood that sits outdoors is mildew. It stains the wood, and, amplified by the effect of the sun’s rays, you may start to see some significant discoloration over time. You may be able to clean those areas with soap and water, or some bleaching agent may be useful here as well.
Seal it up!
After you’ve done routine maintenance, lock in all the good work by applying a coat of sealant. There are a number of readily available sealants which you can get in your hardware store. Be sure to get the correct application for the type of wood your deck is made of.
A well-maintained deck should be able to provide many years of enjoyment. Most experts seem to agree that some amount of deck restoration or maintenance needs to be performed every one to three years. You may be able to make a nice DIY project of this, but if you’re uncomfortable with that, are just want a more educated opinion on what’s best for your deck, you’ll probably be better off calling in a professional to assess the situation.