As many Surrey painters do, Blue Chip Painting starts getting calls about deck maintenance and staining in late winter and early spring. Frequently, the decks we work on need cleaning and/or maintenance before staining. Homeowners are often surprised by how much their deck has aged in just a few months.

After the last summer barbecue is over and blue skies and warmth are displaced by grey, rainy days, homeowners don’t often think about their decks. They may not consider the deteriorating effects of fall and winter weather, dirt, mildew and algae. Then, in the new light of spring, they step out into their yard and notice the condition their deck is in.

5 Keys to Fall & Winter Deck Maintenance

1) Inspect

Throughout the fall and winter, inspect your deck for the following:

Dirt and debris
Can trap moisture on/in the deck, resulting in wood rot and mold.

Wood rot
Check for signs of rot, such as discolouration, cracking, decay or sponginess. Wood rot and mildew can go hand in hand, with rotting sections affecting a deck’s structural integrity, so it’s important to replace rotting wood soon after you notice it.

Algae and mold growth
Algae and mold are a fact of life on the “wet coast” and are contributing factors in the life of your deck. Clean algae and mold with a mold remover then spray the deck clean with a hose. Instead of a store-bought cleaner, you can try this homemade combination cleaner, algae-mold remover recipe:

2 gallons of clean, cold water
1 cup of TSP (Trisodium Phosphate)
1 cup of powdered oxygen bleach (OxiClean is one brand)

Instructions: Spray the cleaner on the deck with spray bottle, saturating the deck. Let the solution sit for 15 minutes. Scrub the deck using a long-handled soft to medium-bristle brush. Rinse well with hose water. Let the deck air dry.

Tip: Never use household bleach to clean a deck. Household bleach can lighten wood and break down its fibres. OxiClean and other “oxygen bleach” cleaners use sodium percarbonate as the active ingredient, which is an excellent cleaner, algae and mildew killer that will not cause wood to break down.

Lifted nails or screws
Lifted nails or screws can be caused by old, decaying wood, deck settling, wood shrinkage, construction flaws, and overcleaning with household bleach or harsh chemicals. When you see a lifted nail or screw, check the surrounding wood. Is it soft or cracked? Does it need to be replaced? If the wood seems sound, pull the nail or screw and replace it, so its head is just below the surface of the deck.

Tip: Inspect your deck occasionally when it’s in use in the summer. It doesn’t have to be fall or winter to establish a maintenance routine. Decks need maintenance year-round!

2) Sweep

Sweep your deck as needed every couple of weeks, especially after a storm. Remove dirt, leaves, twigs and other debris that would otherwise rot and/or trap moisture and cause mold and mildew to grow. This easy maintenance tip can go a long way to making your deck last longer.

3) Clean Mold and Algae ASAP

Our Surrey painters see a lot of wood damage caused by mold and algae! Clean using a mold and algae remover or the homemade recipe above.

4) Remove Snow. Don’t Salt!

While it doesn’t snow that often in the Lower Mainland, we can usually expect at least one yearly snowstorm. Clear snow off your deck as soon as possible. Use a plastic shovel to clear the deck in the direction of the board lengths. Don’t salt the deck or use de-icer as both can discolour wood or dry it out or create damage.

5) Seal & Re-stain

Every 2-3 years minimum, it’s best to re-seal the deck using a wood-penetrating deck sealer then stain, or, use a combination sealer-stain.

Deck Staining by Experienced Surrey Painters

If you need deck staining, receive a free consultation and estimate from the experienced professionals at Blue Chip Painting. We know how to make decks last longer and look great. We provide many of our clients with annual deck cleaning/pressure washing and re-staining. Contacts us for details and a quote.