Decks can be a beautiful addition to any outdoor space, and they increase the overall value of a home significantly. They do require maintenance, however, and deck cleaning is one of the most important ways for you to maintain your deck in all its glory. Regardless of the season, with a few simple tips, you can keep your deck looking good as new.
It should be common sense that you should take care of your deck, not only to maintain the aesthetics of your home and its value, but also to increase its longevity as well. But first, let’s determine if your deck even needs the cleaning—and we can determine this in two simple steps (assuming your deck is wood):
- Take a cup of water and pour it on the surface of your deck – Did that water bead up? If it did, you should be okay, as the deck not only has a factory seal on the wood, but also a sealer applied by you or your contractor. If the water did not bead up, it may be time to call an experienced deck cleaning contractor to clean and seal your deck. They have the professional equipment and sealers to maintain your deck and look as good as new.
- After the water test, take a good look at your deck – Any outdoor surface gets attacked by outdoor elements that coat it and change its appearance. Each time the wind blows, it tosses around dirt and pollen; each time a leaf lands on it and each time your pets walk on it, your deck gets darkened by the dirt. The sun also plays a huge factor in changing the appearance of your deck. The UV rays from the sun deplete the sealer that is on the wood and causes the greying as well. So, look at your deck—if it appears grey, chances are it’s a good time to clean and seal your deck.
Is a Greying Deck Bad?
If your deck is composed of a softer wood, like yellow pine or cedar, then the answer is sometimes yes, it is bad. Along with the color change, if you see cupping bowing, splitting, and splintering, it may even be time to replace your deck. For this reason, we recommend sealing or staining the deck on a regular basis to increase the life of the floorboards. The rail or pickets on the deck that are sealed and stained last longer than the horizontal surfaces.
If your deck is composed of hard woods (more durable woods), the answer is no, it is not bad. These woods are incredibly dense, so while the surface of the wood turns a silvery grey, the wood’s natural oils and fibers help keep the product tight, stable, and smooth. This wood takes on an air of sophistication and age but will remain as flexible and smooth as the day it was machined.
Do I Need to Seal My Deck?
So, with the soft woods, it’s easy to find a sealer or stain that can protect your deck from the elements and give your deck a renewed color—Wolmans is a top brand of choice. Check with your contractor to see if they have the commercial grade or the regular grade sealer; commercial grades last much longer, but not all companies carry it. (Wolmans is not a product that can be purchased in a home improvement store such as Home Depot or Lowes.) For those with a hardwood deck, if you choose to leave it alone, no worries—it will last and last for decades. The density allows for greying wood to keep its structural integrity even after losing its natural color.
With the information above, you can evaluate your deck to see whether it’s important to seal or not to seal. Remember, your home is probably one of the single greatest investments you will make. As we say, take care of it! Maintain, don’t complain!