Wood Deck Maintenance Checklist

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Camuru wood decking; very dense, durable, and long-lasting. Your involvement in maintaining wood decking like this makes it last even longer.

Wood deck maintenance is an important aspect of ensuring that your deck will have many years of long-lasting beauty and functionality. Some of the things that are included in maintaining your deck include proper cleaning and sealing. These are absolutely vital procedures, and by completing these steps annually, you will have a beautiful deck for many years to come.

By taking care of these steps you are helping to prevent the breakdown of the wood from elemental factors such as rain, hot sun and even wind. These elements can create warping, drying and cracking in the wood slats, making your deck look worn and tired. If your deck needs some polishing up, here are some steps to follow to help spruce it up:

1. Clean the surfaces thoroughly. Leaving debris on the deck will make the surfaces hard to treat later on. Things such as leaves, pine needles or trash can get in the way of your efforts. If the deck has started to turn gray in color, you may consider having your deck power-washed. This discoloration is a combination of dirt and oxidation in the wood. Power-washing cleans out the dirt and can give the wood a fresher appearance.

If you’ve got a cedar deck, proceed with caution when it comes to power washing, since cedar is a softwood. You want to avoid gouging the deck surface with a power washer that has been set with too intense a jet stream. You may wish to find an alternate cleaning technique when it comes to cedar decking entirely to avoid the risk of damage. And remember; cedar naturally ages from amber tones into a silvery color which a lot of homeowner value rather than want to change.

2. Check the surfaces. If sanding is required, this would be a good step to complete. Many decks that have not been maintained tend to have a splintered look. This look is the sign of weathered and tired wood. If the splintering is severe, and the wood is appearing to look split, you may consider replacing that specific piece. Otherwise, just check to make sure that the surfaces are smooth. You should also considered checking for loose nails, or nails that are sticking up. If nails are sticking up, you can either hammer them back down, or replace them. This is a good way to avoid injury.

3. Choose a sealant. With this step, you will choose your sealant and begin to apply the product. Make sure you read all the labels so that you are aware of drying times, sun exposure or moisture exposure. This is important as you may live in an area that has extreme sun or rain. Choose the product that is best for your area so that you can properly protect the wood decking surface. You can choose a variety of colors including clear. If you had to replace any portion of the deck, a color choice might cover up the color difference nicely.

Wood Deck Maintenance Materials List

The materials that you should have for completing this project should be basic materials, and if you need to purchase them, they are usually inexpensive, common items. You can also find many free samples to try before starting your project, so you can always go to and look for items that could assist you. Before you begin your project, make sure you have all the supplies ready.

You should have:

  • Broom
  • Power-washer if necessary
  • Sanding paper, rough grade
  • Hammer
  • Exterior construction durable nails
  • Choice of sealant
  • Paint brushes
  • Paint rollers
  • Paint pans
  • Drop cloths and tape to protect surrounding surfaces

After you have gathered all of your supplies, and read all the labels, you should be ready to go. The best way to handle the project is to work from the top all the way down. This way you won’t have to worry about redoing a certain area. Take your time on your inspections, and your sealing process.

This type of project can be done over the course of the weekend, depending on the size of the deck, but efficiency is the key. Make sure to apply a generous amount of sealant, allow it to dry completely, and depending the directions, you may need to apply again.

The sealant is the key to protecting the wood, and ensuring that your deck remains beautiful and protected for many years to come. Plan on taking your time, and while working remember to not skip any areas that could be exposed to harsh weather. All exposed areas should be treated. So roll up those sleeves, and enjoy your project!

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.