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Keep your deck looking gorgeous all summer and fall by taking care of some deck maintenance tasks. Preventative maintenance is a great idea before winter to protect wood against snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. These four tips can make the job easier.

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1. Inspect Your Deck Every Year

It’s easy to take for granted what the deck has to withstand on a daily basis. Performing an annual inspection — many homeowners like to check their deck after the spring thaw — can prevent small issues from turning into big problems. Here are a few things to look for:

  • Split boards or wood splinters: Take care of splintering boards as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more moisture enters the wood and the deeper the cracks. In many cases, split boards need to be replaced.
  • Rotting wood: Just like splinters, rotting wood will only get worse with time. The best course of action is to cut and replace the affected portion of the wood.
  • Loose nails: Popped nails can lead to accidents and loose boards. Many deck installers these days prefer to use deck screws for a tighter grip.

If you detect loose nails, what should you do? If the nail is only slightly elevated, you can gently hammer it back into place using a nail set. Never hit a loose nail using just the hammer. This can damage the surrounding wood.

Get rid of any nails protruding from the wood. Use a nail puller or a pry bar with a wood shim underneath to keep your deck safe. Afterward, secure the board with a deck screw.

2. Spread Out Maintenance Tasks Instead of Doing Everything at Once

Many people like to do a deep cleaning once a year, but you don’t need to wait that long. Investing a little time every month for lighter cleaning can make yearly wood deck maintenance much easier.

Clear away branches and leaves, get rid of dirt, and dry any pooled rainwater. This can prevent mildew problems. If you avoid letting dirt and debris accumulate, your deck will stay scratch-free longer.

3. Clean Smarter, Not Harder

Contrary to what many homeowners think, scrubbing your deck with a bristled brush isn’t the only option for removing dirt. As long as you pick the right cleaning solution, a power washer is perfectly capable of getting rid of stains and soil.

The right way to use a pressure washer is to hold it at least 8 inches from the wood, angled away from you, and keep the stream moving. Don’t keep the stream pointed at the same place, otherwise, it can lead to tiny pits in the wood.

4. Don’t Attempt to DIY With Deck Repairs

Replacing a section of the board doesn’t sound that difficult, right? Actually, you’ll want to call a pro for this one. Boards tend to shrink over time depending on moisture content, so if you’re not careful you can end up with wood that is too high or too wide. Our wood deck maintenance experts are happy to take care of this kind of repairs as part of the Seal Smart process.

The Secret to the Best Deck Protection

To minimize the amount of time needed for yearly maintenance projects, call our Seal Smart, LLC professionals for permanent deck sealing. Our state-of-the-art wood deck seal completely permeates each board, delivering unmatched protection against fading, rain, snow, and ice. Permanently sealed decks only need a light superficial cleaning (with a broom or garden hose) to stay spotless all year long.

Make your life easier and enjoy an incredible deck at the same time!