Boosting Property Value with Durable Outdoor Spaces: A Guide to Deck Maintenance and Protection

guide to deck maintenance

You bought a home, and now you want to build a deck. Or, possibly, you bought a home that already has an existing deck that requires deck maintenance. Either way, you’ll find your deck will become a focal point for your outdoor time, bringing opportunities for both celebration and relaxation.

Let’s see what you can do to help keep your deck looking good and in great shape throughout the year. 

Boosting Property Value with Durable Outdoor Spaces: A Guide to Deck Maintenance and Protection

Because of the varied temperatures and extended periods of rain, it’s essential to protect your deck from moisture. Trapped water can lead to mold and wood rot. A few areas of your deck are more susceptible to this, as there’s less air circulation and sunlight to help dry out these parts. 

Whether you have a wood deck (likely made of pressure-treated pine, cedar, or sometimes ipê) or a composite one, your deck’s underside will be made of wood. Wood can rot if not guarded properly against water seepage.

Ways to Protect the Underside of Your Deck

Boosting Property Value with Durable Outdoor Spaces: A Guide to Deck Maintenance and Protection

It’s important to keep the underside of your deck dry. Additionally, make certain that the structure is in good repair. Check to ensure your deck does not have rusted fasteners or loose deck screws, and that the wood is not warped. Joist tape is a practical tool to protect your deck from moisture. When repeatedly exposed to moisture, wood can mildew and eventually rot.

The main ways to protect your deck are to:

  • keep it clean
  • stained and/or seal it 
  • waterproof the joists

We’ll check out the best methods to do this. 

Clean Your Deck – Both Top and Bottom

The cleaning guidelines will be similar if you have a wood deck or composite one. If you use a pressure washer, use it at a low power setting and a safe distance from your deck’s surface. This is so it doesn’t scar the boards. You don’t need a pressure washer to give your deck a thorough cleaning, however. 

Boosting Property Value with Durable Outdoor Spaces: A Guide to Deck Maintenance and Protection

Several simple steps are key to helping you clean your deck with ease. Also, you can make an effective cleaning solution from some natural ingredients found around your house. 

  1. Remove all outdoor furniture, grills, and planters from your deck. 
  2. Sweep, and be sure to get debris – like pine needles – which can accumulate
    in between the deck boards.
  3. Completely pre-rinse the deck so the soap solution spreads more evenly. 
  4. Apply soap or deck cleaner and work it in with a bristle brush. You can use a
    stiff-bristled brush for wood. A soft-bristled brush is fine for Trex composite
  5. Thoroughly rinse off all soap or deck-cleaning solution. Ensure all the soap
    or solution is cleaned so there is no leftover film or build-up on your deck’s
  6. If sealing or staining a wood deck, wait 24 to 48 hours until your deck is
    completely dry to apply stain or sealant.

Following these cleaning instructions will help you maintain a healthy deck. It will additionally be in solid shape for extra protection against the harsh elements. 

Seal and/or Stain a Wood Deck

A high-quality sealant or wood stain will protect your deck from moisture, cracking, or splitting. Sealing is perfect for high-traffic areas and will also aid in protecting your wood from warping and mold. 

Boosting Property Value with Durable Outdoor Spaces: A Guide to Deck Maintenance and Protection

A good deck seal will repel water and help guard your deck against extreme temperatures. A deck stain will help protect your deck from the sun’s UV rays. It will usually add pigment to your wood. Using both a stain followed by sealing your deck is a fantastic idea; you’ll get the best of both worlds!

Here are a few helpful hints: 

  • Wait 30 days to treat a newly built deck.
  • Apply stain or sealant to a clean and dry deck. 
  • Stir it; don’t shake it! Do not shake the sealant, as that can cause bubbles to
  • appear when you use it. Stirring is preferred. 
  • Ideally, two thin coats are better than one thick coat. This way, air bubbles are less likely, giving your deck surface increased protection. 

We recommend to reapply stain or sealant every year or so. Some of the newer
products can last a few years longer.  

Butyl Joist Tape

Here is a way to efficiently protect the foundation of your deck from water damage. Remember, the support structure will be built from wood even with a composite deck. This wood needs protection; the best way to do it is to apply butyl tape on your deck frame’s joists, beams, and rim joists.

Boosting Property Value with Durable Outdoor Spaces: A Guide to Deck Maintenance and Protection

What exactly is butyl tape? It is a highly adhesive rubberized tape that protects the joists, beams, and rim joists from moisture penetration. This ensures that the deck substructure will be impervious to water. By taking the essential step of applying joist tape during construction, you can easily prevent water damage to the wood frame. 

Joist tape, particularly butyl tape, has many advantages.

  • It can be applied in a variety of temperatures.
  • It seals around deck screws and fasteners.
  • It seals tightly around deck hardware. 

In Conclusion: 

Enjoy your deck – and make it last a long time. A deck is indeed a wise investment for homeowners. By practicing deck maintenace; keeping your deck clean, in good repair, and protected from humidity and various climate conditions, you’ll be setting your house and yourself up for success.

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About the Author

Jason Fox

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"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." ~ Gandhi [ Recognized as a top 3.5% agent in the United States. ] [ Jason Fox was born in Everett, WA currently lives in the Meadowdale neighborhood in Lynnwood and has lived in different parts of the Puget Sound area in between. He has been in the real estate industry for 20 years in many different capacities. From General Manager of a real estate CRM engagement business, Founder of 2 real estate marketing agencies, nationally recognized blogger with the Jason Fox Real Estate Marketing Blog, Marketing Manager for a top title and escrow service. ] [ Jason is now an award winning residential real estate sales agent, Co-Founder of The Madrona Group, Co-Owner of John L. Scott Ballard and John L. Scott Westwood. ] [ Active in the community, Jason is a proud part of the Autism Speaks effort to raise awareness for autism. This project is very dear to him as he has an 8 year old son, Hudson, diagnosed ASD. Jason is also involved with Neighbor's in Need, the Forgotten Children's Fund, WELD Seattle and the Union Gospel Mission assisting the homeless population in the greater Seattle area. ] [ "My passion is being able to give back to the community that has given so much to me." ] [ When he is not assisting his friends and family with the services of home ownership he loves being a dad to his 4 children, Carter, Rowen, Tyler and Hudson and being a husband to his amazing wife Sarah. Hiking, working around the house, cheering for the Seahawk's, Mariners and Huskies and golfing. ]

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