Selecting the right materials for your deck is just one step in maximizing the lifespan of your deck. You also need to keep your deck properly maintained through the years to ensure that it lasts as long as possible. One way is maintaining the materials that make up your deck.
Homeowners sometimes make costly mistakes that cause their deck materials to wear out prematurely and detract from appearance and functionality over time.
By avoiding the following six deck material maintenance mistakes, you can be sure that you'll get as much as you can out of your deck materials through the years.
1. Neglect Routine Cleanings
Dirt and debris will inevitably collect on deck materials over time. Hosing down a deck or at least sweeping debris off will keep wildlife from feeding on the deck surface and help stop liquid spills like grill grease from causing deck stains.
2. Forget to Apply Sealant Often Enough
Deck owners should apply sealant, stain, or paint to their decks at least once every year or two. Sealant will help to protect deck surfaces from sun and moisture damage.
Homeowners applying sealant need to protect the landscaping around their deck by covering it up when applying the sealant. This way, you won't expose the landscaping to potentially harmful sealant chemicals.
3. Fail to Clean Deck Material Before Sealing
Cleaning deck materials occasionally is always important to prevent premature aging. However, deck cleaning is especially important immediately before applying sealant to ensure that you apply sealant uniformly across the deck surface.
Ideally, you should do a major cleaning, including using a high-power washer, before applying the sealant for the best sealant application results.
4. Use a High-Powered Washer Improperly
Deck owners sometimes make the mistake of setting their high-power washer too high during deck cleaning. Using a power washer that's too strong or placing the power washer nozzle too close to the deck surface during cleaning could damage the deck surface.
A power washer could bore small holes into wood deck materials if you hold its nozzle too close to the deck surface or don't move the nozzle quickly across the surface in a sweeping motion to prevent damage. Never hold the power washer in one place for an extended period during deck power washings.
5. Allow Nails to Pop Up
Over time, nails and other hardware fasteners in deck materials could start to come loose or rise up from the deck surface. Nails that rise up and hardware fasteners that come loose will inevitably weaken the strength of a deck structure.
Deck owners need to inspect for loosening hardware pieces occasionally. You can easily hammer nails back into place. Rising nails don't only weaken the structural strength of a deck but can also create tripping hazards and other safety issues if you don't address them promptly.
6. Leave Split Deck Boards in Place
Wood deck boards can split over time due to structural pressures or prolonged exposure to moisture. You need to replace wood deck boards that have split to maintain the structural strength of a deck and prevent safety hazards from developing.
When you replace deck boards, you often need to smooth them down with a sander to prevent the replaced board from rising higher than surrounding boards and creating a tripping hazard.
Ensuring that your deck materials are well-maintained will help you enjoy your deck for years to come. However, materials don't last forever. Whether you need to replace some materials or need materials for your new deck, we can help. If you'd like to learn more about your options with deck materials, contact us at AAC Building Materials with your questions and inquiries.