One of the best things about Colorado weather is the full seasons we get to enjoy. While we can play in all kinds of weather, there are some home maintenance to-dos for every one of those seasons. As winter approaches, you should make sure your home’s deck is ready for the change in weather.
Keeping a deck in good repair not only provides years of enjoyment for your family and friends, it also adds great value to your home. No matter what your deck is made of, though, it will still need some basic maintenance. We suggest the following steps to prepare your deck for winter weather:
Sweep Away Summer Memories
Throughout the summer and fall, decks may accumulate dirt, barbecue stains, pollen and tree sap and possibly even some mildew. A garden hose, stiff bristle brush and a deck cleaner are all you need to successfully remove those little reminders of a summer’s-worth of fun. If your deck is made of natural redwood, you’re in luck, as it is well suited for holding finishes at the surface level, and is easy to keep clean. Doing this at least once a year will help keep your deck looking like new and preserve the deck’s finish. Many commercial deck cleaning products are available at local hardware, paint stores or home centers.
Check the Finish
If your deck’s surface sees different levels of sunlight exposure, then your deck’s finish does as well. Take a moment to observe those areas, and inspect whether your deck’s protective finish is looking a little worn or faded. This is an ideal time to note the location and general condition of those sites. It’s also a good idea to refinish as soon as you notice areas of wear, to help protect the entire wood surface. Redwood decks hold a natural advantage for finishes because its unique cell structure lets it hold a finish better than other woods. Refinishing will be a less-frequent chore, but don’t delay – protect your investment.
Small Steps for Safety
A creaking board may be a sign of a deck’s age – but it can also be an early hint to replace boards that have grown too soft. Walk slowly around your deck, paying attention to where those creaks and squeaks come from. Bounce slightly on the boards as you go, and see if any seem loose or a little soft. You should also check for stair and handrail strength, popped up nails and splinters. Replacing old nails with quality deck screws will prevent this from occurring in the future. Any problems found in these areas should be remedied sooner rather than later, especially due to the safety factor.
Give Your Deck Breathing Room
Seemingly harmless debris such as fallen leaves or dust and dirt is actually the source for promoting decay in the decking and joists. Get into the habit of regularly clearing your deck’s surface and especially the spaces between deck boards. It goes a long way in keeping the look you love.
If it’s harder to keep the spaces between your deck boards clear and free from debris, check to see if the boards have room to breathe. The ideal space between the boards is about 3/16 of an inch, which helps allow for proper moisture drainage and encourage optimal drying of the deck boards.
Taking a little time for routine maintenance now is a small investment compared to replacements or major repairs to your deck. It also means less time spent in the spring getting your deck ready for summer festivities. Redwood decks, with their legendary durability that holds up to the elements with natural beauty, give homeowners years of care-free performance. It’s those natural qualities that help keep maintaining a redwood deck so easy. To learn more about one of nature’s most environmentally friendly, beautiful and strong building materials and to find local redwood dealers, visit www.getredwood.com.