With outdoor living gaining in popularity, more homeowners are using their backyard deck than ever before. These structures make a fantastic addition to any home, offering an ideal place for relaxing on the weekends, enjoying a morning coffee, soaking up the sun or hosting a cookout. Decks are renowned for adding beauty and value to a home, but they require some maintenance to ensure safety and stability. Here are three things to know about deck upkeep.
After winter, be sure to schedule a day to perform an annual deck inspection. Ensure that railings and steps are secure. Replace any rusted, loose or missing fasteners. Crawl under the deck and examine the ledger board to make sure it’s fastened securely to the house. Ledger board separation is responsible for around 90% of deck collapses. If support posts under the deck are showing wear and tear, consider replacing them with raised decking supports.
Deck inspection is especially vital for homeowners with wood decks. Mildew and rot are potentially serious problems that can quickly compromise a deck’s structural integrity. Faulty decks have accounted for thousands of injuries over the last two decades.
Regularly cleaning the deck will help keep your backyard feature beautiful, but there are further benefits. Removing leaves, twigs and other organic matter prevents staining and discoloration of the surface and maintains a safe and healthy environment. Cleaning also deters insects from nesting between deck boards.
Staining or sealing is a necessary part of wood deck ownership. The process offers an important layer of protection that shields the wood from general wear and tear, water damage and the harmful effects of sunlight. Applying a sealant only needs to be done every few years, but if that still sounds like too much work, homeowners may want to opt for a vinyl deck.
A deck greatly increases a home’s capacity for outdoor living. Just keep these maintenance tips in mind so you can enjoy the good times year after year.