Five deck cleaning and maintenance tips to make it last

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Exposure to the elements can leave your deck in desperate need of some quick...

Exposure to the elements can leave your deck in desperate need of some quick revitalization. Sometimes, a good deck cleaning will take care of the problem, but other times, you might need to do some maintenance work to get your deck looking like new. Here are five deck care tips that will help keep it safe and attractive.

Clean it first

You can't really assess your deck's needs until it is clean. Sure, if a board is weak, you will know by walking on it or wiggling it, but issues like stain damage aren't typically visible until the deck boards are clean. Grab a bucket of hot water and mix in your favorite deck cleaner, then clean the surface with a broom instead of a mop. The bristles will scrub the cleaner into the crevices and save you some physical effort.

Replace weak boards

If your deck's boards are weak, replacing them is an important safety measure. If the board is a surface board, you can often replace it yourself by removing the screws and securing a new board of the same size in its place with new screws. If the weak board is one of the deck's structural support boards, you may need an outside opinion to make sure your deck is safe.

Use deck stain to make it all match

Once the new board is securely in place, you will need to sand and stain it. You might need to do the whole deck to get a good color match. If you enjoy a big do-it-yourself project, stripping and finishing your deck yourself can save you some money, but don't tear into it unless you are prepared to dedicate two or three days to the project. You should have everything you need ready before you begin so the untreated deck boards are not exposed any longer than necessary.

Choose the right deck boards

First, consider your needs. Do you want to save money or avoid future maintenance work? The simplest, fastest and most cost-effective way to replace a weak deck board is going to be with another traditional deck board.

Consider composite materials to save future labor

Composite decking has an easy care reputation that may make it an inviting option for your deck. It washes easily, does not require yearly staining and does not splinter, which is great if you or your family like to go outside barefoot.

Some deck cleaning and maintenance projects take longer than others, but you can get your deck looking nice in a hurry. The best time to do it is almost always before it gets any worse. If you have doubts about taking on this project yourself, call a local Atlanta deck professional.

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