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Protect your Deck for Decades! A How-To Guide for Deck Maintenance

August 8, 2022

With a variety of deck materials, it can be difficult to navigate the correct ways to clean and maintain your deck. The following list provides guidelines for cleaning different deck materials so you can enjoy it for years to come.

Before starting any backyard maintenance work, it is best to inspect the deck and surrounding area to see if anything needs replacing. Inspect your deck for any corroded or missing screws, weak joints, wood decay, and cracks during warm and dry weather. Late Spring and Summer are the best seasons for inspection. Your deck is only as good as your foundation, so it’s important to routinely check and see if there is damage. Maintenance can be divided into two categories – frequent and yearly upkeep.

Frequent Maintenance Tips

  • Inspect the deck to see what needs to be cleaned or replaced
  • Sweep the deck
  • Rotate your deck furniture to prevent sun damage, water retention, etc. in one area
Yearly Maintenance Tips

  • Replace broken or damaged boards (nails sticking up, rotting wood, etc.)
  • Wash and clean your deck
  • Re-staining your deck

Composite Decks

To clean composite decking, all you need is soap and water, this method also works great for removing grease stains. We recommend cleaning composite decks twice a year and suggest using caution if you are cleaning with a pressure washer. It should be less than 2,500 psi at 12’ above the deck surface or you run the risk of damage. Composite decking is softer than wood which means the deck can be scratched if there is too much pressure. Before washing the deck, check the gaps between the boards to ensure there are no loose leaves or debris stuck for proper drainage. Keep the deck dry to avoid water stains from standing water. Mats with rubber, vinyl, or latex caking can leave marks on the deck. The marks can be removed, but we recommend using polypropylene or Color Fast woven rugs to avoid marks altogether. If you prefer to use a cleaner, test it on one area of the deck before using it everywhere.

Wood Decks

Maintaining your deck means more than just shoveling snow off it in the winter. Moisture and sunlight damage can also determine the longevity of your deck. Sealing or staining your deck protects the wood from the elements. Resealing your deck can prevent rotting from happening in areas with high moisture and keep the wood in peak condition. We advise sealing a wood deck once a year. Sunlight can also damage the wood by fading the colour and causing cracking or splitting. To stop this from happening, stain your deck once every 1-2 years. The best time to stain your deck is during Fall. Cooler temperatures are better for staining your deck, and dry weather is optimal for this task. Similarly, the best time to wash and seal your deck is during the Spring and Fall seasons.

We recommend washing your wood deck once or twice a year. Although this task seems daunting, there are only three steps to clean your wood deck. Gently wash down the deck with a garden hose, then apply cleaner and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. After the time has passed, give the deck a good rinse, and your deck is clean!

Lighting

Lighting sets the tone for a great evening out on your deck, so it’s important to keep the lights clean and working properly. Spring and Fall are the best times to inspect your lighting and wiring for any damage. We recommend cleaning your lights once a year to eliminate the dirt and debris built up over time – ensure the electricity is off before cleaning the lighting with hot water and a clean rag.

Wood Structures

We advise washing your wooden pergola at least once or twice a year – preferably in the spring. Clean dirt and debris off your pergola with a hose or by using a damp washcloth or bristle brush. For any stains, use dish soap and warm water for easy removal. It’s advised to re-stain your pergola every three years. Look for a stain or sealant that will protect the wood from UV rays, moisture, and temperature changes to maintain its colour. For the best results, sand the pergola before applying the stain or sealant of choice. Please note, we do not suggest using a pressure washer to clean your pergola as it can pull the wood stain off.

Cleaning a StruXure Pergola:

Use a wet sponge to remove any loose surface deposits carefully. Dust, salt, and other deposits can wash off using a soft brush and a solution of mild detergent (liquid hand washing detergent) in warm water. Do not use solvents as it will cause damage to the pergola. After washing the StruXure pergola, thoroughly rinse it with water. Try to avoid leaving hard water droplets on the unit as it can leave residue, especially in the hot sun, which is difficult to clean.

And voila! Just like that you can keep your deck looking spotless with little effort needed. These guidelines are just a few ways to keep your deck clean and looking great for decades to come!

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