Deck owners, prospective deck owners, and those who just like hanging out outside: It’s time. The summer season (and any sunny days in the spring and winter) mean BBQs, bocce ball, and getting your deck in working condition. This is especially true if you and your family have a summer cottage or home elsewhere that spent the winter months without any TLC. Now, life’s too short to spend all your time and money fixing your deck, so we’ve got a few tips you can work into your regular deck maintenance to make sure it’ll last a lifetime.
As you know, the first step with getting your deck summer ready is to give it a deep clean. Pull your furniture off your deck, prepare your cleaning solution, and scrub everything down. Make sure your cleaning solution won’t strip your sealant! Luckily, many companies make cleaning products specifically formulated for outdoor decks.
When you’re cleaning, check your wood for rot. Catching a rotting deck before the damage spreads will save you time and money in the end, giving your deck a much longer life. You might notice your deck is spotty, cloudy, or stripped. If so, or if you just want to give your deck a facelift, you’ll want to consider restaining and sealing.
Note: If you use a pressure washer to clean your deck, a fan tip is usually a good choice to avoid gouging your wood. Make sure you follow the manufacturer's directions, too!
Being outdoors, your deck is at the mercy of our Canadian weather all year long. Even on sunny days, UV rays penetrate wood, causing graying. Rain and snow can seep into your wood, letting rot in. But, sealing and staining your deck provides protection against the elements (and it looks much, much nicer). The general rule of thumb is to restain transparent stains every year, and solid pigment stains every five years. We make it easy for you with our CO-OP® IMAGINE Stain products. Simple to apply and clean up, the effort pays off in a big way.
If you find yourself dreading restaining your deck, composite decking could be the answer you’ve been waiting for. Made from a blend of recycled wood and plastic products, it’s environmentally-friendly and designed to withstand the elements without the need of upkeep or maintenance, saving you time and money in the long run.
If you do discover rot in your deck, don’t ignore it. A rotting deck will only get worse, especially if the problem is in the frame, which could lead to a collapse. Using screws that are not corrosion-protected can let water into joints in the wood, causing rot. And, if you don’t have enough ventilation between your boards, your deck can hold water, also leading to rot. Ventilation and proper materials can mean the difference in your deck lasting ten years or fifty years.
With rot, wood often feels soft and spongy, you can easily crumble the wood away. Be careful, because rotten wood is usually accompanied by fungus.
Often, you can remove and replace the affected wood if the rot isn’t too widespread. If you do need to rebuild your deck, however, look it as a chance to create something new.
For more deck information, head into your local Co-op Home and Building Centre. We’re always happy to talk decks!