#1) Remove Leaves and Debris
First and foremost, you should get into the habit of removing leaves, pine straw, tree branches and other fallen debris from your wood deck. Allowing debris such as this to accumulate can cause discoloration while also promoting mold and mildew. Using either a push broom or a leaf flower, try to get into the habit of cleaning your wood deck on a regular basis.
#2) Use a Grease Catcher
When grilling on your wood deck, use a grease catcher to collect the grease. Not all grilled foods produce grease. If you cook vegetables, fish or even chicken, you’ll probably have little-to-no grease. Red meat, on the other hand, produces a fair amount of grease, which can cause stubborn stains when dripped onto a wood deck. Using a grease catcher with your grill, however, will protect your wood deck from such stains.
#3) Shovel Snow
If you live in a region that’s prone to snow, be sure to shovel it off your deck. There are several problems associated with a snow-covered deck: it saturates the wood with moisture, contains dirt and debris that may stain the deck, and it prevents you from fully using or otherwise enjoying your deck. Shoveling show isn’t particularly fun, but it’s a necessary step in maintaining a wood deck if you live in a region that’s prone to snow. So, after the winter storm has passed, take a few minutes to shovel the snow off your deck.
#4) Place Fire Pit on Top of Fireproof Material
Assuming you have a fire pit on your wood deck, you should place some type of fireproof material between it and your deck. Normally, a fire pit shouldn’t cause a wood deck to ignite. It can, however, scorch the bottom if placed directly on it. There are several solutions to protect your wood deck from such damage. You can create a fireproof area on which to place your fire pit using brick pavers, or you can buy a special “fire pit pad.” Either way, you need some type of material or substrate underneath your fire pit to protect your deck.
#5) Inspect for Rotten Planks
When was the last time that you inspected your wood deck for rotten planks? Regardless of species or variety, all types of natural wood are susceptible to rot. Wood contains thousands of small pores that constantly absorb or release moisture. When your wood deck is exposed to moisture — even small amounts of airborne moisture (humidity) — it may cause it to rot. The good news is that a few rotten planks can easily be replaced without demolishing and rebuilding your entire deck. To do so, however, you’ll need to inspect your wood deck regularly; otherwise, rotten planks may go unnoticed.
#6) Pressure Wash
You can only do so much when using a garden hose to clean a wood deck, which is why it’s a good idea to pull out the pressure washer on occasion. With your pressure washer set to 600 to 800 psi, you can revitalize the appearance of your wood deck. The pressurized water will easily remove stubborn dirt, mold, mildew and grime.
Even if you don’t own a pressure washer, you can still rent one from your local home improvement store. Home Depot and Lowes both rent out pressure washers for about $35 bucks per day, which is a small price to pay considering the convenience and cleaning power it offers. Just remember to wear the appropriate safety goggles, and to keep the nozzle at least six inches away from the surface of your deck at all times.
#7) Seal Your Deck
Perhaps the most important tip to protect a wood deck is to seal it. Sealing your deck prevents the intrusion of moisture, which as stated above, can lead to rotten planks. Furthermore, some wood sealers are designed with special UV-protectant ingredients, adding another level of protection for your deck. In addition to protecting against water, these sealers also protect against the sun ultraviolet (UV) light.
There are dozens of different wood sealers available for sale, so choose the one that’s best suited for your deck. You can also check out this article by Lowes for step-by-step instructions on how to seal a wood deck.
#8) Avoid Trapping Dirt and Moisture
Finally, use caution to avoid accidentally trapping dirt and moisture in your dirt. If you have furniture on your deck, for instance, move and clean underneath it regularly. If a table or flower pot is left in the same place for months on end, it will probably accumulate moisture underneath. And too much moisture can damage your deck by promoting rot and mildew.
Following these tips will help to protect and preserve your wood deck.