The Time Investment for Spring Deck Maintenance
Annual deck maintenance can be a big task. Following our spring deck maintenance checklist below can help simplify the process. Obviously, the cost and time required will vary widely depending on the size of the deck. However, the type of decking and deck waterproofing that you have chosen has an even bigger influence on the investment needed.
A deck protected with a weather-resistant surface like a vinyl membrane may take only minutes for a simple cleaning and visual inspection. A heavily soiled vinyl deck may take an hour of a thorough scrubbing. Alternately, a wood deck or concrete deck can require several hours of labor spread across several days because it is more than just a surface cleaning required.
The Cost of Skipping Spring Deck Maintenance
When a deck or balcony is not constructed of weather-resistant material or has not been provided with ongoing waterproofing treatment, you could run into some surprises. Moisture is a subtle, silent and relentless force. Given any opportunity, water will infiltrate points of vulnerability which often leads to damage to the building envelope. If this happens, you could be looking at hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs and weeks or months of inconvenience.
Regardless of the type of deck, the time required for maintenance is certainly worth the investment as compared to ‘letting it slide’ for a year only to find out that a simple maintenance chore has now become an expensive retrofit or renovation.
Spring Maintenance Checklist for Decks and Balconies
Perform your annual spring deck maintenance with this easy-to-follow checklist:
Regular Deck Maintenance Tasks
- Remove piles of wood, stone or other debris from around the building to avoid rodent, insect, termite or spider infestation.
- Prune shrubs, trees and other vegetation (recommend a minimum of 12 inches from the roof/deck) to avoid insect infestation, hard-to-clean sap, and potential storm damage.
- Clean leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts to avoid drainage problems.
- Clean off any debris from the deck surface as soon as possible. The tannin in leaves can stain a deck horribly regardless of the type of surface, but if allowed to sit for an extended period on unprotected wood or concrete, the stain may never come out. On vinyl decks, you may have some success with diluted ammonia or outdoor bleach to remove organic stains resulting from leaves, the growth of algae, moss or mold spores but this will usually involve a lot of elbow work to be effective.
- Clean with a cleaning agent made specifically for the type of surface. Most manufacturers will offer a cleaner specific to their product that will leave less harmful residue than typical household cleaners. If that is not available to you, choose a mild, eco-friendly cleaning agent. Use a stiff bristled brush, scrubbing in circular motions. It is very important to always flush thoroughly with clean water. Any remaining residue can damage your deck’s appearance when sun exposure will ‘bake’ the chemicals into the surface.
- Certain household and industrial cleaners can cause damage and discoloration and are not recommended. Avoid the use of:
- Powered Abrasives
- Steel Wool
- Dry Cleaning Fluids
- Lacquer Thinner Solvents
- You may choose to pressure wash your decks, ledger boards and facades. Be sure to use no more than 150 psi and do not point nozzle directly towards building interior or on any seams or attachments on the deck itself.
For more details on cleaning tough stains from your vinyl deck, see Duradek’s Care and Cleaning recommendations.
Deck Waterproofing Maintenance Tasks
Aesthetics aside, depending on the type of deck(s) you have, there may be further maintenance to ensure the waterproofing will continue to perform:
- Wood Decks: paint or water-seal all exterior wood including deck surface, overhangs, and railings. Apply an anti-skid coating to any exterior steps. You may have to perform some sanding to prepare the deck for the new paint or sealant. For best protection, this should be done annually.
- Concrete Decks: fill or patch any cracks or chipping sections of concrete, and apply an anti-skid coating to any exterior steps. Apply sealant as needed – approximately every 1 – 2 years.
- Vinyl Membrane Decks: No waterproofing maintenance is required as the vinyl membrane is intrinsically waterproof. The surface is textured for slip resistance. The recommended annual cleaning will keep the anti-slip texture clear of organic growth.
Low Maintenance Deck Waterproofing
For over 45 years, Duradek PVC membranes have provided homeowners with reliable waterproof protection without the need for ongoing maintenance, allowing more time for leisure and less on the labor!
Duradek’s roofing approved traffic membrane is the ideal solution for all of your outdoor living space walking surfaces. From roof decks to pool areas, Duradek is attractive, slip-resistant and is available in a variety of colors and textures to compliment any outdoor design schemes. Duradek is also proud to offer a written appearance warranty protecting you from excessive discoloration beyond normal wear and aging in addition to its 10-year waterproofing warranty.
Missed our last post? Check out “Spring Deck Maintenance Checklist – Part 1: Inspections“