Although it may feel a bit far off right now, the warmer weather will be here before we know it, meaning millions of homeowners will be spending more time enjoying their outdoor spaces – including their decks. However, with harsher weather conditions over the winter, chances are you haven’t spent as much time on your deck during the past months as you plan to do during the spring and summer.
If you’re one of the lucky homeowners with a beautiful deck attached to your home, it’s a good idea to give it a proper check-up at least once a year to keep it safe and functional. Before you break out the grill and patio furniture, spend some time this weekend checking your deck for any damage to ensure it’s secure and ready to enjoy for the summer season.
When – and Why – to Check Your Deck
Over the winter months, harsh elements can cause serious damage and erosion to your deck that you’ll want to check for before inviting company over for a barbecue. Early spring is the ideal time to check your deck for wear and tear, since the harsh weather from the winter is (hopefully!) behind you.
By taking some time to give your deck a quick check, you could be saving yourself thousands of dollars, and the possibility of a rebuild due to rot and erosion, if you check it in time. As well as ensuring the safety of your friends and family while enjoying it.
Step 1 – Look for Loose Connections
Before enjoying time on your deck, you want to ensure that it’s safe to do so. Begin by checking railings, baseboards, stairs, and ledgers for any loose nails or connections in the material or wood, which can wear over time due to a number of factors, including temperature changes, rough weather, and weight on your deck.
If there are loose connections, resecure them with a nail. And, while you’re at it, check other nails and screws for corrosion and rust, and be sure to replace those to avoid further damage to the overall structural strength of your deck.
Step 2 – Check for Cracked or Rotted Wood
As wood ages and is exposed to outdoor weather, it can crack or rot over time, which can lead to safety issues as your deck could fully collapse if it goes unnoticed for too long.
Check for cracks and wood rot on the surface and underside of your deck, and, if you’ve determined your deck is unsafe and requires repairs or a rebuild, either replace the damaged areas or call in the help of a professional contractor to do it for you.
Step 3 – Give it a Good Scrub
Since your deck has been exposed to the winter elements and likely hasn’t been used for a while, you’ll want to give it a good cleaning before inviting others to enjoy it.
Once your deck is completely cleared, start by sweeping it thoroughly to remove any debris. Next, using a cleaning brush or a broom with hard bristles, coat your deck in either a deck cleaner, which you can find at your local hardware store, or make one yourself by using a mixture of 1 cup white vinegar in 1 gallon of water. Start scrubbing, rinse it down with your garden hose, and let it dry completely.
Step 4 – Replace Deck Furniture
Once your clean deck has fully dried, it’s ready to host! Break out the patio furniture and other deck decor you like to keep outside in the warmer months, crack open a cold beverage, spark up the grill, and relax as you enjoy your deck this season. You’ve earned it!