It’s the setting for summer barbeques and family gatherings, and it’s time for this extension to your home to get a little TLC. This week’s Angie’s List Report shares tips on readying your deck for the fall.
For many of us, it’s almost a second living room. A deck is an extension to your home, and you’ve probably been getting good use out of it during these warm summer months. Angie’s List co-founder, Angie Hicks, shares that now is the time to show it some love.
Fall is the perfect time for deck maintenance. Check all of your railings and steps to make sure they are secure, and make any necessary repairs before winter’s snow and ice arrive, said Angie Hicks, Co-Founder of Angie’s List.
After a season of sun, rain, and wear and tear from your friends and family, making sure your deck is still safe to use is key. John Nearon from Exterior Wood Restoration knows just what to look for.
"The condition of the wood that’s structurally supporting the floorboards that you walk on or sit on, is very important. And you need to know that it’s not rotted or the wood’s not split, or the fasteners that hold it together—the bolts and screws—are doing their job properly. So it is good to have those inspected. And homeowners that have questions about that or aren’t sure, should always call in a professional," said John Nearon, Director of Operations at Exterior Wood Restoration, Inc.
A pro can inspect and make any needed repairs to your deck to make sure it’s safe for continued use. They can also clean your deck, or you can do that piece yourself.
When doing your fall clean-up, don’t forget to remove fallen leaves off of your deck, because a pile of leaves can draw moisture, which can ruin the deck’s finish and also could damage the wood underneath, said Hicks.
After removing debris, our pro says a thorough scrubbing with soapy water and a brush will sufficiently clean it.
Lastly, I’d say also, if you have planters on the deck, you want to try to take those off of the deck. Leaving the planters on the deck is going to cause some staining potentially, leaving rings and or mildew growth, said Nearon.
Once it’s clean, you should check your deck’s finish. If you’re concerned that your deck may need to be refinished, here’s a simple test our pro recommends that anyone can do.
Spill a little bit of water on the deck. If there’s surface tension, if the water stays tightly together and doesn’t wet out into the wood readily, you still have some protection there. However, if the wood soaks up the water rather quickly and it spreads out over a larger area, then you know the wood is drinking the water, taking it up, and it’s time to get it cleaned and resealed, said Nearon.
When it comes to resealing, consumers have numerous options for stains and sealants. Our pro recommends using a transparent stain, so the natural beauty of the wood can show through.
A little preventative maintenance can go a long way to ensuring a beautiful deck that can last you years and years.
That’s a small price to pay to protect a big investment, as well as your family’s safety. For info on deck maintenance, read more at angieslist.com.