A wooden deck is a great extension of your home for entertaining or outdoor activities. Like any other part of your home, your deck needs regular maintenance, too. Your wooden deck is exposed to the elements 24/7, 365 days a year. This means your deck can be damaged by inclement weather throughout every season.

Here are 3 best practices and tips for keeping your deck looking brand new year-round.

Staining and Sealing a Wooden Deck

Leaving a wooden deck unprotected can greatly damage its structure and appearance. Constant exposure to the elements can weaken the wood, which in turn can make your deck structurally unsound and an accident waiting to happen. Whether it’s sun damage, wood rot, or mold, weakened decks may bend and bow or collapse altogether.

To protect your wooden deck against the elements, try staining it to help nourish the wood and revitalize its color, and then sealing it to protect against water damage.

While the terms are often used interchangeably, a deck stain is different from a deck sealer, which is typically a clear or transparent finish that penetrates into the wood or forms a clear film on top. A good seal on a wooden deck will prevent moisture from being absorbed by the wood fibers, which can lead to wood rot or fungal growth.

A deck stain usually has some water-resistant qualities similar to a sealer, but it has added pigment or tone, which gives the stain some color and helps with UV blocking to reduce sun damage. A good deck stain should help enhance the beauty and appearance of the wood while helping to preserve its longevity.

Regularly Cleaning a Wooden Deck

The easiest way to care for your wooden deck is to regularly clean it. Your deck is a high-traffic area for humans and animals, alike. Both will come and go, leaving behind messes and debris. Any accumulation of natural materials, like leaves, can result in pooling water. Water accumulation can break down your deck’s protective seal and cause mold or mildew growth, so it’s something you’ll want to look out for even when your deck is not in use during the winter.

When entertaining on your deck, be sure to clean any spills as soon as they happen, especially grease or oil if you have a grill. In the summer, liquids can quickly dry and absorb into the wood, which can damage your deck’s finish.

When cleaning your deck, make sure you’re not using any chemicals that will break down the wood’s finish. Sometimes, a water and dish soap solution is all that’s needed for gentle but thorough cleaning. To prevent discoloration from constant sun exposure, try periodically rearranging any furniture or items around the deck.

Refinishing a Wooden Deck

While you may have protected your deck with a seal, it’s also a good idea to refinish it every couple of years. Exposure to the elements can cause seals to break down over time, leaving the wood underneath vulnerable. You may have grooves or scratches from moving furniture that can penetrate the wood’s surface and compromise its strength. Lightly sanding the entirety of the deck will buff out imperfections and help reduce the visibility of any sustained damages.

Be sure to treat your wooden deck to help revitalize it from the cumulative effects of inclement weather and sun exposure. Do your research on stains and sealants, and if you live in an area prone to moisture, like our coastal Delaware customers, pay careful attention to the material’s waterproofing qualities.

At Advance Inc., we are ready to help you with the maintenance and protection of your wooden deck, with the best tools and materials available. Check out our available deck options and services, or contact us today to speak to a representative.