A wood deck may last for many years without suffering any type of damage, but how you maintain that deck every day will usually affect its overall longevity and the type of damage you may eventually find. How you actually repair certain damaged areas is also important, if you want those repairs to last and avoid making the deck actually worse. Note what is meant by that and a few simple but important tips for maintaining a wood deck.
Even if you sealcoat your deck regularly, the wood is likely to rot at least in a few places. It's important that you inspect areas where rot is more likely to form, and this means areas out of the sun where moisture won't dry; crawl under the deck if possible or use a strong flashlight to inspect for growing rot. You may also note that a nail or fastener has come loose and is jutting out of an area that is rotted, as the wood becomes soft so that the nail doesn't hold firm. Don't pound this nail back into the wood as this can simply cause it to splinter and crack. Repair any areas of rot with a wood filler or replace a very rotted board altogether, and then replace the nails or connectors with something new.
Clean the deck before you clean the deck
Cleaning the deck before you clean the deck means that you should remove all debris from the deck before you use a power washer or pressure washer. Many homeowners assume that the pressurized water will blow away leaves and dirt as they wash the deck; however, that pressure may just push the dirt and debris into the wood itself! Be sure you use a sturdy broom and even a leaf blower on the deck to get all debris off of it before you introduce pressurized water for cleaning.
Be careful of stripping solutions
Before you put on a new coat of sealant or paint, you might need to strip the wood of any peeling paint or sealant residue. When using a stripping residue, be sure you choose one meant for the type of wood on your deck and the paint or sealant as well. Never leave the stripper on the wood for longer than recommended by the manufacturer. Some homeowners may think that leaving the stripper on for longer than recommended will make stripping those coatings easier, but this may simply damage the wood and make it more prone to rotting or chipping.
For assistance, talk to a professional like Australian Treated Pine.