If you have a deck at home, it’s important to take good care of it. We’ve got a simple deck maintenance schedule that’ll keep your deck in great shape all year round.
Spring: Time for a Wash
It’s a good idea to wash your deck in the spring to get rid of any mold or mildew that might have accumulated over the winter. Here’s what you need to do:
- Remove any debris that’s stuck between the deck boards using a putty knife. Be sure to pay extra attention to the areas where the deck boards cross the joists, which are the structural members underneath the decking.
Tip: If you want to make things easier on your knees, try pushing the handle of your putty knife into a piece of PVC pipe. Some putty knives fit right in, or you can buy a pole-type groove and crevice cleaner.
- Protect your shrubs and plants by wetting them down and covering them with plastic sheeting.
- Give your deck a thorough sweep.
- Choose the right cleaner for your deck material:
- For a wood deck: Use a standard deck cleaner and follow the directions on the label. Some cleaners require the decking to be wet first, while others don’t.
- For a composite deck: Use a cleaner that’s specifically formulated for composite material. You can remove grease and oil stains with a commercial degreaser and detergents.
- For a vinyl (cellular PVC) deck: All you need is warm water and a mild soap to remove mold, mildew, and dirt.
- Clean your deck on a cloudy day when the decking is cool and the sun won’t evaporate the cleaner too quickly.
- For a wood deck: Use a paint roller, a garden sprayer, or a stiff-bristled brush to apply the cleaner. Don’t let it pool, and don’t let the deck dry until you’ve scrubbed it clean. Then let it soak according to the manufacturer’s instructions (usually about 10 minutes). Rinse thoroughly with clean water.
Tip: To clean wood railings, work from the bottom up. Applying the cleaner from the top down can splatter the cleaning solution onto dry wood, leaving marks that won’t go away when the lower area is washed.
- For a composite deck: Scrub with a soft brush. Don’t use a pressure washer, as it can permanently damage the decking and void the warranty. You can remove rust and leaf stains with a deck brightener that contains oxalic acid.
- For a vinyl deck: Scrub in a circular motion using a stiff broom, then rinse thoroughly.
- Let your deck dry completely before sealing it. Wait at least two days.