Tips for Cleaning and Repairing a Deck

The extreme temperatures of summer can be brutal on your home’s exterior. It’s the perfect time to focus on outdoor chores.

Some of the materials and tools that you might need for cleaning and repairing your deck: screwdriver, hammer, garden hose, socket wrench, deck cleaner, push broom, plastic sheet or tarp, rubber gloves and scrub brush.

A year’s worth of debris can collect in between the floorboards of your deck. You need to clear these areas or water could get trapped there and rot the floorboards, or worse, the joists that support them.

Sweep off the deck surface.

Use a screwdriver to clear the areas between the floorboards of your deck.

Check for water damage, splintered areas and rotten boards that may need to be replaced; and hammer in any loose or protruding nails.

For decks that have rails it is important to periodically check the rails to make sure that they are tight to the deck.

Check where the deck is attached to the house. Tighten the bolts that hold the deck to the house.

The first thing you need to do is prepare your work area. When dealing with cleaning chemicals it is a good idea to cover adjacent plants or bushes to protect them. It is also wise to wear rubber gloves to protect your skin. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for preparing the cleaning solution.

Lightly dampen the area you want to start with. If you have an adjustable nozzle on your hose put it on the mist setting.

Prepare your cleaning solution. Once you have brushed down a layer of the solution use a hard bristle brush and some elbow grease to really remove the grime (figure A).

Rinse the area at the highest setting for several minutes to make sure you remove all the cleaning solution.

Repeat this procedure over the entire deck surface.

For the tougher spots you might need to add a little more cleaner, and scour it a second time.

Once dry, apply a deck sealer following the manufacturer’s instructions. In a few hours, you will see a surface you might not have seen in years.

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