Basic deck maintenance in the spring and fall protects the deck while keeping it safe to use and looking great.
Top deck maintenance tips for a spring and fall checklist
1. Search for lifting nails. This is particularly important in the spring after settling occurs around the deck foundations. Winter freezing and the subsequent thaw often move deck supports and cause boards to lift and and nails to rise.
2. Power wash the deck to remove dirt and grime build-up. It is easier to get the scum off the deck when it is power washed every year.
3. Apply a new coat of protective stain every season if the deck receives heavy summer traffic. Once every two years is OK if the deck usage is limited.
4. Take the time to completely sand or strip and re-seal the deck every five years to keep it healthy and looking new. This is a good job for the fall checklist. The bugs are gone and the weather is nice.
5. Replace damaged and rotting deck boards promptly. It’s a lot of work but the job is more manageable one board at a time instead of waiting until the entire deck is falling apart and needs to be replaced.
6. Ensure rainwater runs away from the deck footings. Install eavestroughs or extend downspouts to move rainwater to the grass.
7. Keep the deck steps in good repair. Family members might know where the weak spots are but guests could fall through the rotten boards.
What is the best power washer for a deck?
An affordable gas-powered power washer for the house, cabin, chalet or cottage makes the spring and fall deck maintenance less stressful. Look for a unit that is portable and has adequate power to do the job is sufficient. Commercial power washers might be too strong.
Deck decorating ideas for the cottage
Decorating a deck is easy and you don’t have to spend a fortune to make the outdoor sitting area comfortable.
1. Install built-in bench seats for the deck or simply buy outdoor furniture that is easy to store for the winter.
2. Get a marble chess/checkers table. It is great to hold drinks on the deck when not used for an afternoon game.
3. Potted flowers provide colour, attract butterflies, and add to the decor. Choose low-maintenance plants for the deck.
4. Planters full of herbs and tomatoes provide fresh ingredients for the cottage meal and spruce up the deck decor at the same time.
A bit of regular deck maintenance at the start and finish of every cottage season ensures the outdoor party area looks great and lasts for years.
For detailed tips on how to stain the deck and siding, go to the Deck and Siding Staining page.
Check out the Furniture Ideas page for indoor and outdoor cabin furniture tips.
The Decorating Ideas page has additional tips for simple but stylish deck and cabin decor.