As building inspectors, we regularly get called to properties which have wooden decks. Whether you’re renovating or selling your house, a well maintained wooden deck can help your property stand out. Although, if you fail to take proper care of it, you could be faced with costly repairs or put off buyers.
After a few years wooden decks can become weathered, especially if they haven’t been cared for properly. The good news is that most problems are cosmetic rather than structural, but even so proper care can prevent all sorts of problems further down the line. Here are our top tips when it comes to caring for wooden decks.
1. Inspecting the Deck
The first step is to check your wooden decks for rot. Even if your wood has been treated, most decks can rot if they stay wet for long periods. Be sure to take the time to inspect all the wood to see if any of the boards are rotten. Unfortunately, quite a lot of rot will occur in hard to reach, or see, places. If possible, try checking the underside of your deck by crawling underneath it. If you notice any concerning rot you should have assessed by suitably qualified trade and or inspector.
If possible, you should always look to prevent rot by drying parts of your deck out if it stays wet for at least a day after rainfall. Using a broom or a leaf blower to sweep dirt away from the boards is a good idea. It’s also worth thinking about bushes or trees close to the decks and whether they need to be trimmed back. Gutter downspouts that pour near to or onto the decking may also have to be moved.
2. Washing a Wooden Deck
Once you’ve got rid of the debris with a broom or a leaf blower, you’ll be able to wash the deck. For best results when cleaning a wooden deck, try purchasing a commercial cleaner that’s been designed with decks in mind. Proper cleaners will work to remove dirt, oxidation and mildew. If possible, find one with sodium percarbonate (SPC) and be sure to mix it in accordance with the instructions and to wear appropriate safety clothing such as glasses and gloves.
You should clean your deck with a stiff fibre bristle brush and scrub the surface thoroughly. You should always look to scrub in line with the wood grain and work in small areas. Regularly rinsing with clean water is also essential. Once done, simply allow your deck to dry. You may notice it’s all you need to return the wood to its natural tone.
Large wooden decks may require a pressure washer. When using one, try to stay within 600-800 psi and keep the nozzle a good six inches above the deck surface. Slow and steady spraying usually achieves best results, and once again, be sure to keep the spray in line with the wood grain.
If you have a wooden deck at your property and require a professional inspection, be sure to talk to Houspect today about your needs. We’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.