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  • Writer's pictureStable Works LLC

7 Essential Tips to Protect Your Wood Deck for Years to Come

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

Wood decks are the synonymous with outdoor leisure and comfort. They are the perfect space to unwind, entertain, or even catch a tan. However, like any other part of your home, wood decks require regular maintenance to keep them looking new and to prolong their lifespan. As a General Contractor with over 35 years of experience, I've seen countless decks suffer from premature wear and tear simply because homeowners were unaware of how to properly maintain them. We decided to help homeowners avoid the common pitfalls of not protecting their deck by following these 7 crucial tips for wood deck protection.

Here are the Top 7 Tips On How To Protect Your Wood Deck:

Tip #1 - Clean It Up, Seriously

Your deck gets dirty—really dirty. Leaves, dirt, and even mildew can build up. At least twice a year, give your deck a thorough cleaning. One of the most effective and commonly available deck cleaners is "Behr All-In-One Wood Cleaner." You can find it at most home improvement stores. This cleaner is specifically formulated for wood decks and also preps your deck for sealing. Just make sure to follow the instructions on the bottle, usually involving diluting the cleaner with water. Use a brush with soft bristles to apply the cleaner and scrub away the grime. This step not only makes your deck look good but also preps it for sealing.

Tip #2 - Use the Right Sealant

Expert builder Tom Silva says, "A good sealant is key." This is the stuff that keeps water and sun from messing up your wood. Choosing the right sealant is critical, and what works best can vary depending on the type of wood your deck is made of.

  • For pressure-treated wood, which is one of the most common types, a sealant like "Thompson's WaterSeal" is often recommended. It penetrates deeply, offering water resistance and some UV protection.

  • If you've invested in a cedar or redwood deck, you'll want something like "DEFY Extreme Wood Stain," which is designed for these softer, more porous woods. It's a semi-transparent stain and sealant in one that also offers excellent UV protection.

  • For hardwood decks made from woods like Ipe or Teak, consider using "Penofin Marine Oil." It's formulated specifically for dense, exotic hardwoods and provides water resistance along with a rich finish that brings out the natural beauty of the wood.

Tip #3 - Pick a Good Day for Sealing

Don't try to seal your deck when it's raining or super hot outside. Aim for a sunny day with mild temperatures. That's the best time to apply sealant, and it'll dry quicker too. You'll usually need to do this every 2 to 3 years.

Tip #4 - Check the Gaps

Boards on your deck can move apart or get closer together with weather changes. Check the gaps between them and clean out leaves or dirt. If gaps are too big or small, you may need to fix or replace the boards.

Tip #5 - Tighten Loose Screws and Nails

A shaky deck is a no-go. Make sure to tighten any loose screws or nails you find. If you see rusty ones, replace them right away.

Tip #6 - Cover Your Furniture

Your tables and chairs can scratch your deck or worse. Use good-quality covers to keep your furniture from damaging the wood. These covers can be found at most home improvement stores.

Tip #7 - Keep an Eye on Things

Don’t wait for problems to become big and costly. Look over your deck often for signs of wear and tear or rot. Fix small issues as you see them. For an extra layer of safety, consider getting it inspected by a professional once a year.

The Wrap Up

Taking care of your wood deck can be simple. It's all about consistent cleaning and maintenance. Follow these 7 tips and your deck will be a place you can enjoy for years to come.

Want more outdoor tips? Hit the subscribe button at the bottom of the page to get our weekly newsletter on Property Maintenance, Outdoor Improvement and General Contracting. For those in South Jersey who are looking for a new deck to be installed- We're here to help. Contact us today to talk about what you want and we'll come out and give you a free estimate.

Before and After of a Broken Wooden Deck and a Newly Installed Wooden Deck by a General Contractor in South Jersey, Stable Works LLC

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