Adding or updating a wood deck to your home can cost around $1,000 to $2,600. If you’ve had the fortune of purchasing a new home with a deck, keeping it well maintained can help you save money in the long run.
When it comes to maintaining your deck, it’s easy to get carried away or neglect your deck to the point of disrepair. Learn the top 7 deck maintenance mistakes to avoid so you can keep a pristine deck for relaxing, parties, events and more.
1. Harsh and Aggressive Cleaning
The first mistake many homeowners make is over cleaning their deck. Even if your deck is sealed, excessive cleaning can strip the sealant away faster than expected and wear down the wood underneath.
When you’re power washing your deck, make sure you’re using a fan tip and aiming several feet away along the wood grain. If you’re too close and the pressure is too strong, you could easily cause permanent damage.
Many types of wood are also too soft to handle wire-bristle brushes. Wire can easily scratch the wood and lead to damaged surfaces. Harsh chemicals like chlorine bleach will also strip away color and leave your deck looking worn at any age.
2. Neglecting Deep Cleaning
Some homeowners think they can sweep their decks every week, re-seal it every few years, and have a healthy and clean deck. While continuous cleaning helps greatly, you should still invest in deep cleaning.
Debris piles up over time in the cracks between wood and can retain moisture every time it rains. With so much moisture built up along your deck, it can slowly erode the wood and cause significant problems like mold.
Deep cleaning is essential to prep your deck for sealants and other treatments. By removing built-up debris, the wood is better primed and can end up lasting much longer.
3. Relying on DIY Maintenance
Some deck maintenance is easy to do on your own. It’s easy and cheap to purchase deck maintenance tools like sealants, stains and push brooms. Yet, if you only rely on DIY maintenance, you could risk even more damage than before.
Some efforts like sanding and deep cleaning will take time and expertise. If you try to skimp on the process, you could botch all your efforts. Aggressive sanding may strip your wood while aggressive power washing can permanently warp your deck.
Reserve your DIY efforts for regular cleaning like sweeping and removing debris while calling in the professionals for other efforts.
4. Neglecting the Rest of Your Yard
Paying attention to your entire yard is essential to creating an enjoyable deck space. If you have shrubs and trees near your deck, there can be pests that crawl onto your deck.
If you know you want to use your deck for parties and events, it’s important to keep ants and spiders away. Otherwise, trying to enjoy food outside can become difficult and hazardous.
Keep the vegetation around your deck trimmed back and make sure there’s good drainage around your deck as well. When it rains, pools of water underneath your deck are the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.
While you’re cleaning your deck, watch out for dumping chemicals or accidentally power washing your plants. Killing or damaging your plants will affect the environment around your deck.
5. Relying on Sealing Your Deck
Sealing is a great way to protect your deck from weather and continuous foot traffic. Without sealing, many types of wood are susceptible to wearing down quickly. A sealant isn’t always necessary if you can prioritize regular maintenance and deep cleanings.
If you do seal your deck, it’s easy to assume it’ll stay protected for months and years. This assumption leads homeowners down a rabbit hole of repairs. Even though your deck is sealed, you still need to keep your deck clean to prevent other damage like staining and warping.
If you’re wondering when to refinish your deck, it’s best to do so at least every one to three years.
6. Neglecting Debris Buildup
One easy way to extend the life of your deck maintenance budget is to focus on regular debris removal. Removing debris is easy, but it’s often neglected since it requires a routine you can stick with.
At least once a week, head outside to sweep off your deck. Make it a part of your indoor cleaning process so you don’t forget to do it.
If you can, invest in furniture or deck coverings that you can use when there’s severe weather. By using a cover, you can avoid some of the worst debris build-ups and simply shake it off when you want to use your deck again.
If you neglect debris, it will pile up and cause long-term damage to your deck like staining and mold.
7. Avoiding Updating Your Deck
Many homeowners think of their deck as a completely separate space from the rest of the home. Instead, the best way to think of it is an extension of your house.
Regularly updating your deck will make it a space you rely on for relaxation, events and more. By creating a space you love you’re making the most out of your new home.
The same old outdoor furniture becomes rusted or decrepit over time. Consider updating your furniture or updating the look with new cushions and paint jobs. You can also update your space with planters or buy US flags to celebrate your patriotism.
Updating your deck encourages its longevity and prioritizes the space for years to come.
How to Avoid Common Deck Maintenance Mistakes
It may seem like a no-brainer, but neglecting your deck is too easy for many new homeowners. If you’re not used to having one, you might not realize how often you need to clean it or perform deep-clean maintenance.
Avoid common deck maintenance mistakes by setting a schedule. Make sure your family knows who’s in charge of clearing debris each week and when it’s time to call in the professionals.
For more home maintenance advice, visit our blog.