Springtime Tips For Cleaning Wood Decks

Springtime is a great time to get a refresher on the basics of cleaning wood decks.

After all, there is no better time to see exactly how your deck faired over the wintertime. Cleaning a deck on the other hand involves a thorough inspection.

Here is what to do to make sure you clean your wood deck properly and catch any problems early.


Sweeping around a deck

Use a stiff brush and sweep off the entire deck surface, around posts, stairs and remove all debris.

Places to check are gaps between your deck boards over the joists. Make sure there is no wet debris wedged in there.

Take the broom and clean the gap between the deck and the house. Sweep areas where stair stringers rest on a lower deck or a concrete landing.

These are always vulnerable areas and need to be checked each year.

Wash ...

Wash deck with a mop and bucket

Use an exterior wood wash solution to mop all the wood surfaces, making sure sap and other contaminants are removed.

This is the most important difference about cleaning wood decks over composite decks because there are many places where rot and moisture can set in that will start the decay process.

Clean around railing balusters, top and bottom rail, and rail to post connections.

Elevate the stair stringers from the wet landing. Ideally keep them 1/2" above the surface so they stay dry.

... Then Inspect Everywhere

Look everywhere around your deck

Look for fascia boards starting to warp or separate at corners and repair accordingly.

Look also for water pooling on certain deck boards. Warped boards can catch water and prevent drainage causing rot to start.

If it is a minor warp, then use a belt sander and carefully sand the board flat. Otherwise remove it and flip it over.

Keep an eye out for any soft spots on the decking boards where you notice water pooling and particularly if there are nails set below the deck surface. These spots are candidates for premature rot and damage.

Fill all nail or screw holes on deck boards with an exterior wood filler or even an auto body filler (if you cover it with a solid stain).  Never let water pool in these little holes.

I think you get the idea.  If you want your wood deck to last, cleaning it requires a thorough approach.  

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