A high-quality wood deck should last for many years, if not even decades. However, its longevity often depends on how you care for and even clean the deck. This isn’t difficult, but unfortunately many homeowners make a few common mistakes that can leave them with a deck that isn’t truly clean, and which may actually damage the deck as well. Note a few of those mistakes here so you can ensure you avoid them when it comes to your home’s deck.
Allowing the deck to dry while cleaning
Most homeowners will use a power washer or a good scrub brush, as well as a detergent added to the water, when they clean the deck. If that detergent should dry during cleaning, it can cause a filmy residue and get absorbed into the deck, causing damage to the wood. Think of having soap dry against your car when washing it and you may realize how it can damage the deck, except that your car body can’t absorb that detergent as can wood! When washing your deck, clean just one section at a time if it means being able to spray or scrub the detergent on and then rinse it off before it can dry, and choose a cloudy or overcast day so the sun doesn’t dry the detergent too soon either.
Not removing mildew where it’s likely to form
Inspecting the top of your deck for mildew is good, but note that mold, mildew, and wood rot is mostly likely to form where it’s often dark and where moisture is held against the wood deck. This means on the underside of the deck or areas where shrubbery may be brushed up against wood planks and slats. You might not relish the idea of crawling under your deck to inspect it, but this can be needed to address any mildew, rotted wood, and other damage that may be forming.
Not replacing old connectors
When you clean or inspect your deck, you may note old connectors that have come loose or are coming loose between slats and planks. It’s a mistake to simply pound these back into the wood, as the connectors may have become rusty or worn or threads on nuts and bolts may have been stripped. When connectors are loose, it’s good to remove them and replace them with new connectors entirely. This will ensure the deck holds firm over time and especially as you direct pressurized spray in the area of the connector while cleaning.