Have a New Deck? Here’s How to Take Care of It

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I’ve always wanted a deck. So when the time came for my family and me to move to our new home, a deck was a must-have. I wanted a deck that I would serve as the outdoor extension of our home; my family’s own private sanctuary, tucked neatly into the backyard. What I did not know or was prepared for was the work involved in not only installing a deck but taking care of it long after the installation process was complete.

At its essence, a deck is just an extension of your house. You open the door, make your way outside and there it is- an outdoor room of sorts. During the research phase, I was both shocked and impressed by just how elaborate decks have become nowadays. 

Decks can be built as high as the trees, affording you an impressive view of the neighborhood that you do not have to share with anyone. Some decks, however, can be constructed to sit closer to the ground so that they open up to a pool or a spa-like garden oasis. Whatever look you are going for, you will be surprised by how much you can do to deck out your deck these days.

Out of this world deck designs are a manifestation of the homeowner’s aesthetic taste; little planks of wood that match the owner’s desire and ego. Some decks are so grand that they could easily be mistaken for helipads or open-air kitchens.

If you are aspiring to build such an elaborate deck, you should know that it does not come cheap. Even the most basic deck, as passé as it may appear to you, costs a pretty penny. There are some decks that go well beyond $200,000. 

If you are like many homeowners out there with old wooden decks that need to be repainted every few years, should you think about upgrading? While decks are becoming grander and costlier, it is important to consider the value that a deck can give you before actually installing one. 

Is taking care of a deck hard?

There are 3 primary aspects of any good deck- aesthetics, functionality, and budget. When it comes to aesthetics, pretty much all new decks look great when they are first constructed. However, a lot can happen in 3 to 5 years; the paint starts to chip and fade, the wood begins to warp and mold and mildew start to discolor the boards. 

A deck is exposed to more sunlight than any other part of your home. When you add bugs due to the deck lighting and harsh weather such as snow and rain, you may want to rethink installing your deck in the first place. So how do you take care of your deck so that it does not slowly deteriorate and lose its shine over time? Here are some tips to help:

Keep your deck clean at all times

To keep your deck looking fresh and new for as long as possible, it is important that you give it a deep clean at least twice yearly. Your deck needs to be cleaned regularly so that its protective sealers can penetrate deeper into the wood. The best time to clean your deck is when the weather is dry and moderately warm.

During cleaning, be sure to use the right deck cleaning solution. For standard cleaning, all you need is soapy water. However, if you want to stop the growth of mold and mildew, it would be best to use a cleaner that has some type of bleach in it. Use a garden sprayer to get to the nooks and crannies. Depending on the amount of dirt present you may need to get down on your elbows and knees for a little scrubbing.

Get a deck box

If keeping your deck clean and organized seems like an impossible task for you, then you could benefit greatly from a deck box. A deck box is exactly what it sounds like- it is a simple box that is placed on the deck for storage purposes. Deck boxes are designed to accommodate your outdoor items and furniture so that they can remain dry. 

Deck boxes come in a range of designs and different construction materials such as resin, plastic, and wood so that you can coordinate it easily with the rest of your outdoor furniture. Though rectangular deck boxes are the most popular variety out there, you can also find other shapes. Some deck boxes can even double as coffee tables while others are vertical so that they can be able to hold clothing and decorative items such as cushions.

Remember to paint or stain the deck

Some people opt to paint their deck using deck paint, but most opt to expose the natural beauty of the wood by using a clear or slightly stained finish. The paint looks attractive when it is first applied, but it will look distressed before very long. If you prefer to use paint, always use a stain-blocking oil or alkyd primer so that your paint can soak into the wood rather than creating a surface film.

A good deck stain will provide your deck with an effective seal that causes water to bead on the surface of the deck rather than becoming absorbed. To assess whether your deck needs to be re-stained, inspect the wood to check whether there is still any coating on the surface. If you do observe any exposed wood, you will need to recoat it to preserve your deck.

Prepare your deck for harsh weather

To prevent your deck from accumulating any moisture over the winter and during the rainy season, you will need to prepare it. Start by removing any planters, furniture, and barbecues and place them in storage. Then, check between your deck boards for any fallen leaves and items that may reduce water drainage.

According to Kate Huber, chief editor at NJGamblingFun ” During winter, you must remember to remove any accumulated snow to stop the wood from warping. I try not to use any chemicals or salt on my deck as it may reduce the effectiveness of the seal or damage the surface of the deck’’.

Final thoughts

Adding a deck to your house can be a great way to extend your living space. However, over the years, the elements, as well as traffic from kids, pets, and guests eventually takes a toll, causing your deck to look worn and damaged. Most decks are victims of neglect but with regular maintenance, your deck should be able to last for twice as long as expected.

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