Decks are an extremely popular, low-cost way to add living space to a home. They open up the home and facilitate entertaining and outdoor dining. If your current home came with a deck, or if you are considering purchasing a home with one, you should know that decks are also subject to the damaging effects of weather. Therefore, deck maintenance is critical to prevent discoloration caused by dirt, moss, algae, and other plants. Over time, these elements erode the surface of the wood and create splinters.

With this in mind, here are four easy steps that will ensure your deck is protected for years to come.

First, Remove Dirt and Debris

An extensive cleaning to remove dirt and debris should be annual. Use a hose or power washer on a low setting to blast debris out from between the deck boards. Once the dirt is gone, address any discoloration or stains with a cleaning solution (preferably one that does not contain chlorine and has a bleach base). The solution can be brushed on with a broom or scrub brush or sprayed on with a power washer. Remember to thoroughly rinse the solution off the deck after cleaning. Allow your deck to dry overnight before staining or painting.

Second, Stain or Paint Your Deck

A lot of homeowners choose to showcase the natural beauty of their deck’s boards with a clear or lightly-stained finish, but you can also use deck paint to add a pop of color. Should you decide to go the route of a finish, you should choose one that is water repellent or waterproof, contains mildewcide to protect against mildew, and offers ultraviolet (UV) protection.

Third, Staining or Painting, Seal

This is the third step of initial deck maintenance. Once you have cleared your deck of dirt and debris and applied paint or stain, allow your deck to dry for at least two days before applying sealant. By sealing your deck, you are protecting the boards from cracking, warping, and cupping.

Finally, Keep up with Maintenance

Once your deck has been cleaned, stained, and sealed, keep it regularly maintained by sweeping away any leaves, branches, debris, or water puddles. In the winter, sweep away snow so it doesn’t sit too long. If the piles are too deep to sweep, use a plastic shovel in order to remove them without damaging your deck. Trim bushes or trees that are close to your deck and can add to the debris build-up. Move furniture and decor every so often to prevent any discoloration. Finally, keep the gutters above your deck cleared.
Keep these maintenance tips in mind if you rent or buy a home with a deck or porch. If you are looking for a new home with the perfect outdoor living space, contact me today!

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.