While a properly built and waterproofed deck requires very little maintenance, it is no excuse to ignore deck maintenance or deck repair tasks altogether. A very small amount of time is all it takes to avoid costly repairs, or worse, personal injury due to deck collapse.
Duradek recommends performing the following top 5 deck maintenance tasks
#1 TASK: General Deck Inspection
FREQUENCY (per year): once
- Inspect your deck for any built-in or added on features to ensure they are functioning correctly and safely.
- Be sure that all lighting is working, and clean all light covers to allow adequate light to shine through.
- Ensure all electrical outlets, appliances, and features are up to code and that there are no electrical cords presenting a tripping hazard.
- Ensure that any sources of fire or heat such as fire pits, chimneys, grills, heaters, and candles or placed safely away from flammable surfaces and protected by a non-flammable pad.
- Test all outdoor furniture for stability.
- Be sure to store all deck related chemical products away from children (i.e. barbecue fluids, cleaners, etc.).
POSSIBLE OUTCOME IF NOT DONE: deck safety may be compromised and could result in damage/expense to your deck or cause personal injury.
#2 TASK: Detailed Deck Inspection
FREQUENCY (per year): once
- Check for the stability of the wood in several different areas of the deck. Be sure to check deck boards (if exposed), stairs, support posts and joists under the deck and the ledger board (where the deck attaches to the house).
- Inspect any caulking that has been used at deck/wall intersections, around any posts or protrusions, etc. for damage or openings, re-caulk as necessary.
- Pay special attention to any areas that tend to remain damp, are regularly exposed to water or are in contact with fasteners.
Note: If you are uncertain of the condition of the wood, you can use a tool like an ice pick or a screwdriver to test the wood by attempting to penetrate the wood surface. If you can easily penetrate ¼ to ½ inch, break off a sliver of wood without splinters, or the wood is soft and spongy, decay may be present.
- Look for any small holes in the wood that may indicate insects.
- Check the flashing along where the deck meets house and along deck perimeter to ensure flashing is firmly in place.
POSSIBLE OUTCOME IF NOT DONE: deck stability and safety may be compromised, and worst case scenario could result in a deck collapse, extensive repairs, and personal injury.
#3 TASK: Deck/Stair Railings Inspection
FREQUENCY (per year): once
- Deck stairs should appear even without sagging and should not sway or move.
- Check any railings or handrails to be sure they are firmly in place.
- Check steps to be certain they are securely attached and not decayed.
- Ensure all railing fasteners are in place and are not corroded.
- In the case of decks waterproofed with a vinyl membrane, ensure all caulking around surface mounted posts are intact.
POSSIBLE OUTCOME IF NOT DONE: un-noticed water infiltration through even the smallest of entry points can cause eventual water damage and costly repairs, and unstable railings can cause personal injury.
#4 TASK: Deck Cleaning
FREQUENCY (per year): 4 times
- The removal of any debris and proper cleaning is a crucial step in maintaining your deck’s appearance. Remove organic matter such as leaves or moss, which may become a slip-hazard.
- Most times a mild household cleaner diluted in water and using a soft brush or broom for scrubbing, then rinsing thoroughly will remove dirt and freshen up your deck’s appearance.
- Performed seasonally, this will keep most naturally occurring staining and discoloration from occurring.
POSSIBLE OUTCOME IF NOT DONE: the appearance of your deck will be compromised without regular, seasonal cleaning. If any organic debris is not removed it can promote the growth of mildew and pose a slip hazard. If de-icing or cleaning agents are not properly cleaned and rinsed off of a deck, it can adversely affect the appearance as the sun can ‘bake’ the chemicals into the surface causing discoloration.
#5 TASK: Deck Waterproofing
FREQUENCY (per year): As needed based on deck type and inspections
- The type of deck you have will determine the amount of time and money required to sustain waterproofing performance.
- With a wood deck, you may be required to sand and stain yearly to maintain your waterproofing and appearance.
- With liquid coatings over concrete, re-application is required.
- With a Duradek vinyl membrane waterproofing system, no re-application is required and the waterproofing function can perform up to 2-3 times the length of the 10-year waterproofing warranty offered by Duradek. That being said, while Duradek withstands a lot of wear and tear, if something has cut the vinyl it should be re-welded by a Duradek Trained Applicator before allowing it to leak.
POSSIBLE OUTCOME IF NOT DONE: If waterproofing is not completed as required, water can infiltrate the decking system and the building envelope, which in the case of decks over living space, can cause exponential damage and repair costs to your home. When it comes to waterproofing decks, patios and roof decks over living space, the performance is all in the details and we highly stress the importance of using the services of a waterproofing professional who knows the many details involved in successful waterproofing.
Duradek Ultra walkable, waterproof vinyl membrane has been waterproofing decks for nearly 40 years and is available only through Duradek’s network of trained and authorized waterproofing experts.
These same waterproofing experts can provide the Durarail powder-coated aluminum railing systems to ensure your entire deck project is handled professionally and is made to last.
If you would like to contact one of our qualified Duradek installers to provide a free, no-obligation estimate on your decking project, look for a Duradek dealer near you.