If you’ve never owned a home with a deck attached to it, you may not realize how important yearly deck maintenance is. Because decks are made from wood, they require cleaning, repairs, and upkeep, even if the wood used is very durable and has been treated with a sealant. Keeping your deck clean is the first step in deck maintenance, but it’s hardly the only thing you need to do. Here are some of the reasons why having a professional provide annual maintenance to your deck is so important.
You Might Miss Something Most people sweep or even wash off their deck periodically, but they often only do a quick surface clean. It’s very easy to miss the dirt and debris that has collected between the boards or around the edges of the deck. Professionals have special tools that they can use to clean every niche and crevice.
Avoid Dry Rot Dry rot is a type of fungus that eats away wood. If you have dry rot on your deck, chances are you’ll have to replace some or all of it before long. This is because dry rot often leads to termites, and once they’ve infested your deck, they can move on to your home and other nearby wooden structures. If your deck was sealed using a clear sealant, it needs to be resealed every year. That’s because the clear sealant doesn’t protect against UV rays as well as pigmented sealants. However, even those sealants need to be reapplied every three years.
Find Damage Another good reason to have yearly deck maintenance done is to locate any damage to the deck. Boards could be cracked or loose, nails could have come up, or screws may be loose. You may also find boards that are split or have warped, which is not only dangerous, but also indicates that the deck may not have been sealed correctly. While you may find these issues if they’re somewhere obvious, you may not always see them if they’re near the edges or on the underside of the deck. Doing a yearly inspection can catch these problems before they become a major safety issue.
Another issue is that some people don’t think to check areas such as the handrails or railings. Because they’re not walked on, people sometimes don’t think about them getting worn or damaged, but they can be.
Once a Year is a Minimum Remember that doing deck maintenance yearly is the minimum recommendation—in some areas, you may need to have your deck inspected and repaired twice a year. This is especially true if you live in an area where you have very wet periods or where your deck is going to be in the hot sun for a long stretch of time. Snow, rain, high winds, and glaring sun can all take their toll on a deck. Some people have deck maintenance done twice a year: in the spring and the fall. This allows them to fix any problems caused by both harsh winters and hot summers.
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