Deck Maintenance, Deck Cleaning and Deck Stain Removal
As with any outdoor surface, there are routine tasks to be carried out on your deck to ensure that it stays looking smart. Most of the work is quick and easy provided you do it fairly regularly and tackle potential problems sooner rather than later. Remember that wood is a living material that will reward you with its beauty if you take the trouble to look after it well.
It pays to go over the deck with a fine-tooth comb at the start of the season, looking for any damage that might have occurred over winter such as loosened boards. Then give the deck a thorough clean. Begin by clearing off ornaments, pots and pieces of furniture and using a stout yard broom, sweep away all the dead leaves and other litter, moss and soil, working carefully along the grooves to help prevent debris from falling between the planks.
Algae and Deck Stain Removal
Particularly in a shady spot, algae and moss may have built up due to autumn and winter dampness and this should be removed using a stiff hand brush and a strong antifungal wash or garden disinfectant designed for the purpose. If the problem is severe and the deck has become slippery as a result, it may be necessary to cover the worst affected areas with galvanized chicken wire mesh, firmly tacked down to provide extra grip underfoot. Next to a building check the state of the guttering or overflow pipes — water may have been pouring directly down onto the deck over winter.
If the deck has become dirty or badly stained, one way to rejuvinate it is to use a high-pressure water sprayer. You can hire these, but they are only suitable for decks that have not been painted with a surface treatment. The jet is very powerful and may lift off paint or. Rust marks from furniture can be especially hard to shift and if the sprayer doesn’t work, you may have to resort to using a chemical rust remover or a sander to lift off the top layer.
Check the Structural Work
Before the deck comes into regular use, check that the support structure is still sound and that there are no rotting timbers. In rural areas check that burrowing animals have not undermined the supports and block off their access if this has occurred.
Wood expands and contracts with changes in moisture levels and if the deck was laid when the timber was wet, when it dries out in summer, you may find that thehave loosened. Tighten up with a power screwdriver.
If some of the deck has been badly damaged, remove the affected boards and replace or cut out the affected area and piece in with matching material.
If you did not cover the soil beneath the deck at the outset, then weed growth may be a problem. Weeds look unsightly sticking through the cracks but reaching their roots can be tricky in a restricted space. Spray protruding leaves with a systemic weed-killer.
Surface treatments will need to be re-applied before they start to look worn and shabby. It’s much easier to apply a quick coat to spruce up an existing treatment than to prepare the wood from scratch.
Deck Maintenance and Cleaning Schedule
Once a week – Sweep deck to remove all leaves and debris from the surface.
Once a month – Remove any weeds or plants growing between hoards or our from under the deck.
In the autumn – Wash down deck with a good algaecide/moss inhibitor.
Ready for winter – Protect all pots from frost.
Once a year – Wash down deck and remove furniture and ornaments. Repair if necessary and re-finish if required.
Sweeping the dirt – Sweep dirt along the grooves to stop it from falling between the deck boards. If dirt or other types of material have fallen underneath the deck, a powerful wet and dry vacuum can be used to extract it.
Tightening the screws – If the deck is laid when the timber is wet, the wood will shrink and theheads could then be raised above the surface during the drier months. Tighten the screws down.
Splinters – If theis damaged or splinters are seen, cut the splinter off with a utility knife and then sand with the grain until the surface is smooth again. Use a block to keep the sandpaper flat.
Antifungal wash – All timber will attract algae and mould. In the autumn a wash down with a anti-fungus/mould and algae killer will help to reduce the growth that can be very slippery in wet weather.
Damaged boards – If the deck surface is damaged, it should be relatively easy to replace the boards. Unscrew the board and either replace the whole length or, as here, cut the board and replace a section.