Spring Deck Prep Tips

Spring Deck Preparation Tips to Keep Your Deck Looking Like New

By Mark J. Donovan

Early spring is the perfect time of the year for doing some basic deck prep work for the ensuing warmer weather. Before you start pulling out the barbeque grill and deck furniture, inspect your deck to see how it’s weathered the winter. Look for crack and splitting decking, faded and/or peeling deck stain or paint, signs of mold and mildew, rot and decay, and damaged deck railings.

Regardless if the decking material is wood or composite decking, at a minimum give it a good cleaning in the spring.

Use a mild cleaning solution, stiff bristle brush, and a garden hose to give it a good deck cleaning.

Alternatively you can use a pressure washer however take care not to damage the decking boards by using too high of a pressure setting. If you observe black splotchy mold and mildew patches use a deck cleaner that can remove it. Also, if your wood deck has bleached out and faded to an undesirable grey, and you want to restore its original color, look for cleaning products that can specifically restore the original wood color.

After giving a wood deck a good cleaning, observe if the water beads up on the decking boards or instead absorbs into it. If the water seams to absorb into it, then the next step in your deck prep work is to apply a deck sealer. Make sure when applying any deck sealer that the decking is completely dry and there is no rain in the forecast for a couple of days after applying the deck sealer. If it rains within 24 hours of applying the deck sealer it may never fully dry. As a result, the deck may remain permanently tacky.

Also, when applying a clear deck sealant make sure to not apply too heavy of a coat. Otherwise, again you may end up with a permanently tacky deck surface.

 Sand your deck and restore it to looking like new!

In regards to specific deck water repellant products, I prefer a semi transparent stain to the traditional clear deck water sealer. Clear deck water sealers can be difficult to apply and are apt to leave the deck permanently tacky if too much is applied.

Also, deck water sealers tend to peel after a couple of years. Stripping or sanding a deck to remove a peeling deck sealer is a project you want to avoid at all costs. Expect to have to apply a deck sealer every couple of years or so, even if you use a semi transparent stain. Also, look to use deck water repellants that include a mildewcide that will help to impede the growth of mold and mildew. Mother Nature is simply very rough on deck surfaces.

Finally, as part of your deck prep work, if you observe any rotted or decaying decking boards, floor joists, or railing pieces, replace them with new moisture and insect resistant lumber. Also, make sure to use corrosion resistant fasteners for attaching the new lumber. Required new decking material should be installed prior to sealing the deck.

Deck Installation Bid Sheet

Once you’ve completed your spring deck preparation work, you can expect to enjoy the beauty and functionality of your deck for the entire warm weather season with little to no maintenance. Simply sweep or hose down the deck a couple of times during the summer season to keep your outdoor living space looking new and feeling wonderful.

For help on building a deck, see HomeAdditionPlus.com’s Deck Installation Bid Sheet. The Deck Installation Bid Sheet will teach your how to hire the right deck contractor, and help to ensure that your deck project is completed on time and budget.

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