5 Common Deck Maintenance Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Experts estimate there are around 30 million decks in private American homes. Unfortunately, that means there are 30 million opportunities to make some serious deck maintenance mistakes.

No doubt you invested a lot of time and money in building your deck. Maybe you even splurged on a custom deck design that your family can enjoy for years to come.

Without the proper maintenance, though, your dream deck could quickly become a money pit—or a health hazard!

In this post, we’ll walk you through 5 common deck maintenance mistakes many homeowners make. Read on to make sure you’re not one of them.

1. Not Understanding Your Material

There are plenty of low-maintenance deck options, such as composite decking. However, low maintenance is not the same as no maintenance.

Some homeowners mistakenly believe that a composite deck will never need repairs or replacement boards. Others have no clue that traditional wood decks require sanding, staining, and sealing for a long lifespan. Meanwhile, others damage their decks by using bleach, wire-bristle brushes, or other inappropriate cleaning supplies

Whichever material you choose for your deck, make sure you understand exactly what’s required to care for it.

2. Neglecting Important Safety Concerns

You want your deck to be a safe environment for everyone, including kids, pets, and visitors.

Make sure there’s enough lighting around the deck and stairs so everyone can see where they’re going. The railing around your deck and stairs should be strong, sturdy, and tall enough to prevent accidental falls.

And while we all love a great fire pit, make sure you choose one that’s approved for use on wooden decks.

3. Overcleaning Your Deck

Even if your deck is properly sealed, excessive cleaning will strip the sealant away faster than usual. Over time, this will wear down the wood underneath.

As mentioned earlier, avoid using wire-bristle brushes or harsh cleaning agents on your deck. If you choose to use a power washer, use a fan tip and be sure to aim it several feet away. Too much pressure at too close a distance could cause permanent damage.

4. Neglecting Debris Buildup

At the opposite end of the spectrum, some homeowners fail to clean their decks as often (or as well) as they should. Regular sweeping and the occasional reseal are vital, but deep cleaning should be part of your maintenance plan too.

Over time, debris like leaves and dirt build up in the cracks between the wood. Every time it rains, the moisture remains trapped in the debris, slowly eroding your wood over time. Don’t forget to clean those cracks and keep your deck free of damaging debris.

5. Poor DIY Maintenance Work

We all like to save money, and there are certainly some deck maintenance tasks (like sweeping and removing debris) you can handle yourself.

For other tasks, though, it’s best not to DIY. Aggressive sanding can strip your wood while improper power washing could warp the deck. Unless you have expert experience with these maintenance techniques, it’s best to leave those jobs to the pros.

Don’t Make These Deck Maintenance Mistakes!

No matter what type of deck you have, regular cleaning and maintenance are a must.

When in doubt, refer back to this list of deck maintenance mistakes to ensure you’re caring for yours the right way.

Do you have questions about deck maintenance? Are you looking to upgrade your old deck or install a new one? Either way, feel free to contact us with your thoughts.