San Diego can present many challenges in maintaining an outdoor living area. Specifically, decks are vulnerable to the dry conditions that are prevalent in Southern California. We would all agree that when a deck is in rough shape, it can become a painful eye sore, quickly distracting attention from an entire area.
Maintaining your deck is much more about preventative care, rather than drastic measures to save a struggling structure. With the proper knowledge of how to easily extend the life of your deck, your San Diego outdoor living space can continue to thrive with your deck as the focal point. With these 5 tips, this dream is a reality!
1. Seal for protection
Without a doubt, the best source of deck maintenance in San Diego is to apply a clear-coat wood preservative. This is typically a yearly endeavor, and is strongly recommended immediately upon completing the building of a deck. Not only will this sealant provide a gorgeous finish to your deck, but it will also offer protections from many of the elements that your deck is likely to face.
The most common culprit in destroying the integrity of the wood on a deck are UV rays. If you don’t protect your deck from these invisible boogers, your will begin seeing splits in your wood in a matter of months. Even in pre-treated lumber, the resins used to protect the wood are no match for UV rays. A yearly application of sealant will protect your deck from both UV rays, as well as water contact. Applying the sealant is quite simple, only requiring a power washing, followed by a full, 48 hour dry time. Simply apply the sealant as you would any kind of paint and you are good to go.
2. Fix protruding nails
We have all caught our foot on a loose nail head on a deck. Not only is this a painful experience, but it can be extremely inconvenient in general. Many people don’t know just how much damage your deck can sustain from nails becoming loose. When a nail works itself out of contact with a board, the board will actually loosen up as well. This will result in warping of the board. The bigger issue with this is that other areas of the board are likely still fastened, which will lead to a more pronounced warp that will normally call for replacement of the entire piece of lumber.
Protruding nail heads should be fixed immediately when discovered. Rather than simply hammering the nail back down, it is recommended to pull the nail out, and put a new one in place. By hammering the nail back down, you really aren’t solving the problem as much as you are just putting a band aid on it. Quickly putting a new nail in the board will prevent warping, and keep a flush, organized look to your San Diego deck.
3. Replace split boards
This is a common problem that arises after extended use of a deck. High-traffic areas of your deck are likely to form splits over the course of several years. Ideal deck care calls for the replacement of these split boards to maintain an aesthetically pleasing and functional deck.
There are several ways to go about replacing a board, but the easiest is to simply remove the screws and pry the board up. If your deck utilizes nails to hold boards into place, then pressure prying at each joist will do the trick. Be sure not to gain leverage using the other boards, as you will scar and dent these boards, leading to further repair. After you have replaced the board, it is common for the board to appear larger, or higher than the other boards on your deck. This is common, and will ‘fix’ itself as the wood loses moisture over time.
4. Fascia board maintenance
Fascia boards are the trim pieces that hide the ‘guts’ of the deck. They are often neglected by deck owners, as they are mostly out of sight from those enjoying their outdoor living space. These boards are typically larger than the decking, and are highly susceptible to water damage over several years.
The best way to maintain these boards is to check them visually and structurally when sealing your deck. If you see weak points in the board, or any signs of mildew or water-damage, it is recommended to replace the entire board. Be sure to seal these boards as you would your regular decking. Remember, these boards have an important job. If your fascia boards look miserable, then your entire deck will follow suit. Don’t neglect them on your San Diego deck!
5. Take care of your handrails
Loose handrails can be both dangerous and annoying. The wobble that your guests will feel when applying pressure can quickly impact the enjoyment of any San Diego outdoor living area. Loose handrails can be hard to repair, and are typically the result of water seeping into the connection points to the deck itself.
Replacement of the handrails is recommended if any water damage is discovered. Other times, simply adding more support from the frame of the deck will do the trick. This is another area of your deck that must be sealed properly to ensure that handrails remain pleasing and functional for the long haul.
When maintaining your deck, there are a few key things that you must remember. With any repair or deck care task, it is important to use proper safety equipment. Eye protection when applying sealant is a smart decision, as is understanding how to correctly use the tools that you will be needing for each job. If you feel like you aren’t up to a task, seeking professional assistance is recommended, and can be attained by looking into your local San Diego outdoor providers.
You want your deck to be functional while looking great. You should never sacrifice one for the other. If you follow these 5 deck maintenance tips, then your San Diego outdoor living space will benefit greatly from a beautiful, pristine deck.