Solutions for Your Deck Maintenance Problems

Ready for summer barbeques? Make sure your deck is too! Learn about deck cleaning, painting, and staining to get your backyard ready for outdoor entertaining.

Deck looking dull? While decks can create an outdoor paradise, their exposure to wind, sun, rain, and temperature changes can take a toll. From pressure washing and cleaning to painting and staining, many deck materials require seasonal maintenance. Here's what you should know about maintaining and protecting your deck.

Deck Maintenance 101

Adding a deck is a great way to take advantage of the outdoors while also expanding your home's living space. To get the most out of a deck, you need to maintain it with cleaning, painting, and staining.

Beware: Putting off deck maintenance can not only leave you dealing with an unattractive deck, but it can also expose your deck to mold, mildew, and water damage. We recommend adding deck maintenance to your regular list of home maintenance projects.

What Maintenance Does My Deck Need?  

Deck maintenance requirements will vary based on the age, material, and condition of a deck. If you're unsure of how to best clean your deck, or if you're questioning what deck stain or paint is best, a local contractor can help!

From vinyl decks to wooden decks, contractors can evaluate your deck's condition, provide advice on setting up a seasonal maintenance plan, and offer suggestions on what products will work best. As an added bonus, deck contractors can also handle all of the dirty work! So you can say goodbye to long hours spent cleaning and staining, and hello to grilling and relaxing on your beautiful deck.

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Pressure Washing Makes Deck Cleaning a Breeze

With decks, regular cleaning is a must. But cleaning your deck by hand can take hours; if you're thinking there's got to be a better way, you're right. When it comes to removing dirt and grime from a deck, there's no quicker method than pressure washing. With the efficiency of pressure washing equipment, you can have a clean deck in no time!

When Should I Pressure Wash My Deck?

When it comes to deck cleaning, there are two main times when you'll want to consider pressure washing: for regular maintenance to remove wear and tear, and before applying a deck stain, seal, or paint. If you plan to move on to painting or staining after pressure washing, remember to make sure your deck is completely dry before starting to paint or stain.

What Do I Need to Know About Pressure Washing Equipment?

With the ability to effectively clean many deck materials, pressure washing has become a popular service. While you can rent pressure washing equipment on your own, cleaning your deck with high-power equipment isn't as easy as it sounds.

Before you turn on that pressure washer, there are several hazards to be aware of. First, you'll need to select equipment with the right amount of pressure. Using a pressure washer that is too powerful, or using it too close, can cause damage to a deck's surface. Warning: Operating a pressure washer incorrectly can lead to cracks or splinters in materials like wood.

In addition to the pressure, you'll also want to know what, if any, chemical deck cleaners can be used both on your deck and with your pressure washer. While cleaning products can help achieve a deep clean, using the wrong product can be harmful.  

Homeowners can end up wasting a lot of time and money renting or purchasing equipment and potentially causing damage to the deck. If you're not comfortable operating high-power equipment, you don't want to tackle pressure washing projects on your own. Better Homes & Gardens Home Services can connect you with local pressure washing services for your deck cleaning.

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How to Stain a Deck

Many decks need to be stained every year or two. When it's time to stain your deck, keep in mind that different products have different staining requirements. Have questions? A local contractor can help you determine the best process for your deck, stain, and application needs.

Pre-Stain Treatments

Before you can get to the actual staining process, you'll need to: find a time when the weather will cooperate, remove all deck furniture and plants, and have your deck thoroughly cleaned. Depending on its condition, your deck may also require some pre-stain sanding work. A local contractor can inspect your deck to determine if any additional pre-staining treatments are necessary.

Remember, deck stains can be difficult to remove. We recommend taking care to protect exterior elements like siding by using painting tape and sheets before the staining begins.

Ready, Set, Stain

After your deck has been prepped and cleaned, the staining can begin. But be careful; if stain is applied incorrectly or against the grain of the wood, it can bubble, puddle, or turn into one big mess of a project. As far as tools go, most stains will require a paintbrush and roller to apply. Keep in mind that a smaller brush may be needed to work the stain into the wood.

Depending on your desired effect, and on your stain, you may need to wait for the first coat of stain to dry and then add a second coat. A completely dry deck is critical before using the deck or adding multiple coats of stain — you don't want all that hard work to go to waste!

If this process seems overwhelming, you'll want to connect with a contractor. From providing advice on the best stain for your deck to prepping and staining your deck, local contractors can help get your deck looking like new while saving you time.

Finding the Best Deck Stain

When walking into your local home maintenance store, it's easy to be overwhelmed by all the deck stain options. To help narrow down the choices, you'll want to consider: what stain colors will go well with your home, if your deck material has any stain requirements, and the age and condition of your deck. To get the most out of a stain, you may want to check out deck stain reviews to see how certain stains have performed in environments like yours.

Unsure what stain will look and work best for your deck? Find a local contractor to discuss your options. They can walk you through all of the deck stains available, from water-based and oil-based to solid, transparent, and clear options.

Better Homes & Gardens Tip: When selecting a stain, test it out on a few scrap boards to see how it will react once dry. This test will give you a better idea of how the color and finish will look in your environment.

Deck Paint

Thinking about painting your deck? Here's what you need to know. Deck paint can be a great way to add a pop of color to your backyard. While deck paint can spice up your exterior with bright colors and designs, it typically does not hold up as well as stain in areas with heavy foot traffic. However, if you have a deck that is old and worn, paint can help restore it by filling in gaps and cracks in the surface. If paint is the perfect choice for your deck, don't forget to check out deck paint reviews and ask a contractor what paints will wear best outdoors and if primer is needed.

Better Homes & Gardens Tip: Painting deck railings, overheads, and built-ins is a great way to add color and life to your deck without having to worry about the wear and tear of foot traffic!

More Deck Advice 

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