Log homes and outdoor living are as synonymous as peanut butter and jelly. But when the weather turns foul, you get to come inside — your deck, however, doesn’t enjoy the same luxury. Year-round exposure to sun, rain and snow can take its toll on any kind of decking material, so it’s important to establish a simple, solid maintenance routine that keeps it looking and performing great. Here’s how.
1. Remove debris.
The slots between the deck boards can harbor bits of branches or leaves and trap moisture against the wood. Using a putty knife or other thin, dull blade, get in between the boards and remove any debris you see, especially where deck boards cross the joists, creating a small flat ledge.
2. Make a clean sweep.
Remove all surface dirt and debris with a thorough sweeping.
3. Choose an appropriate cleanser.
There are different types of cleansers for various decking material. If your deck is made of wood, be sure to select a cleanser that’s specifically designed for wood, and follow the directions to a T. Cutting corners could lead to additional maintenance or worse — repairs — down the road. If you have a deck made of composite or vinyl, be sure to protect all exterior logs near the deck, as cleansers for these types of decking materials could be harmful to the wood.
4. Start washing.
This is best done on a cloudy (not rainy) day when the deck material is cool and the sun won’t cause the cleaning agent to evaporate. The cleanser you choose will dictate the application method, but typically you can apply it with a garden sprayer and a stiff-bristled brush. Don’t let the solution pool, but also don’t let the deck dry until you’ve scrubbed it clean. Rinse thoroughly with clear water. When cleaning railings, work from the bottom up to prevent “bleach” spots that might occur if your cleansing agent comes in contact with dry wood or composite.
5. Let It Dry.
Make sure the deck is completely dry (at least two to three days of clear weather)before applying fresh stain or sealant, if necessary. Following these simple steps will go a long way toward saving you a lot of time and money on repairs, as well as enhance your use and enjoyment of your log home’s outdoor living space.