Prolonging the Life of Your Deck with Proper Maintenance

House deck with seating area

America seems to be making outdoor additions to their houses. More homes in America are adding patios, porches, and decks. The number of households with decks in 2010 was about 23,000, according to Statista. By 2017, the number is 49,000, but it dipped a little bit in 2018 to 45,000.

The outdoor addition boom might have started in 2014, several years after the housing market bust of 2008. The US Census Bureau back then accounted for some 96,000 single detached units with patios or decks included.

But what happens to your deck when subjected to the elements, like heavy rains, snow or extreme heat. How do you maintain it so that it lasts for years? Will cementitious waterproofing be appropriate to use on porches and decks? The following discussion provides some insights on how to make your porches or decks last for years.

Decks and Patios Overview

The good thing is that the deck & patio construction industry in the US is trending up with a total of $783 million in revenues in 2019.  With the growing community of consumers and suppliers, the wealth of knowledge and experience also grows, making maintenance and repairs easier.

Making It Last Longer

water pressure cleaner on wooden deck

You probably spent more than $2,000 for your 10-foot x 10-foot deck and maybe closer to $9,000 if it’s twice this size. Expert deck installers sometimes recommend that you pressure treat your deck. This will set you back around $12 to $18 per square foot, which includes materials and installation. The treatment is meant to prevent rotting and to provide protection against mold or insects. Here are a few more ideas for you to consider when maintaining your deck.

  1. Inspection. You need to be proactive in inspecting your deck. Set a recurring alarm on your mobile phone for when you need to check the deck. Look for boards that are coming off or nails that are sticking out. This can cause injury if not spotted immediately.
  2. Thorough cleaning. This should be done at least once a year. Remove all items, like toys, plants, chairs, etc. from your deck and check if there are planks that have broken loose. Sweep all the dust and debris and keep everyone away from the area while you’re cleaning, especially children. Let it dry.
  3. Applying sealers and stains. You can get sealers and stains at a hardware or home improvement stores. The cost will be about $30 for one gallon, which can be sufficient to seal and stain roughly 250 square feet of your deck. You also have options for finishes like a semi-transparent or solid stain. You can add toner for a touch of color and protection from UV light. As with the cleaning, set the alarm for applying sealers and stain because you also need to do this regularly, and maybe more often than once a year if there’s a stretch of bad weather.
  4. Be careful with the power washer. Yes. It’s a faster way of cleaning the deck. But make sure you have great control when using a high-powered machine. Otherwise, it might just damage your deck by creating holes and dimples. If you must use this tool, move the nozzle along the wood grains with your hands slightly angled and the nozzle several inches away from the floor.

Remember also to protect yourself by wearing gloves and masks when cleaning and spraying. Inspection is critical, and you need to sand your deck to give it an even look. The best way to prolong the life of your deck is not to neglect it.

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