Of the many home projects that contribute to your value, wooden decks give you one of the greatest returns on your investment. A nice wooden deck can add an average of $7213 to $10,379 to your home’s value, depending on the size of the deck and quality of material used. However, since a wooden deck is made of organic material, you must maintain it properly to keep a great look and help it hold the value. A few things to do to make sure your wooden deck stays beautiful, gives you a relaxing getaway from life in your own backyard, and maintains its value include:
- Conduct a regular inspections.
Some of the most aggressive culprits behind destroying wooden decks lay low and fester unseen for a while until the entire structural integrity of the deck is compromised. To ensure that none of these bad guys are secretly destroying your beautiful deck, do a visual inspection of the entire structure (above and underneath) on a regular basis, to catch little issues before they become big issues. A few important things to look for include:
- Termite damage. Termites spend their existence searching for wood to eat, and so you can see why they’d love to get their little claws on your deck. Make sure the beams of your deck, as well as any other part that touches the dirt (where termites start) are made of pressure-treated wood that is resistant to termites; ideally, your whole deck should be comprised with pressure treated wood! Otherwise, keep an eye out for those telltale tunnels that termites Forge while looking for a new buffet.
- Mold and mildew. If you live in a humid area, mold and mildew are going to be a constant battle for you. Catch mold and mildew growth as quickly as possible, and treat it with bleach (or any other mold killer from your local hardware store). Also, your deck should have a mold resistant sealer on it to keep your battle against mold at a minimum.
- Natural debris. While having a nice tree above your deck is awesome for providing beauty and shade, if falling leaves are allowed to pile up on your deck, they will naturally rot and the same microbes that rot the leaves will spread to the deck itself. Also, piled up leaves collect water, which will quickly corrode the wood.
- Have a regular deck cleaning.
Staying on top of your deck cleaning is important for ensuring the previously mentioned corroding factors stay at bay. Hiring a pressure washing company for a thorough deck cleaning service removes the dirt and debris that to eat away at your deck, and leaves it looking like the day you brought her home from the hospital. Professional deck cleaning services are inexpensive and simple, and an important part of keeping your investment beautiful over the long-haul.
- Stay on top of maintenance.
In addition to doing a thorough inspection and deck cleaning on a regular basis, you should perform regular maintenance (or hire someone if you are not a do-it-yourselfer) on your deck at least once a year. Good annual deck maintenance includes these simple steps:
- Closely examine your deck to ensure there are no loose boards or weak boards throughout it. When you find a board that is in poor shape, pull it up and replace it with a new one. As mentioned before, you should always replace your deck boards with pressure treated wood that resists pests.
- While looking for loose boards, inspect the nails and screws that are holding the boards in place. Tighten loose fasteners and remove any screws or nails that appear to be rusting. Rust is a cancer that will quickly eat away at your deck. Replace these screws and nails with rust-resistant, outdoor screws.
- Once the boards and nails have been replaced, apply a new coat of stain to the entire deck. The stain will blend the color of your new boards in with the rest, so that you cannot tell which are new or old. More importantly, staining your deck once a year protects it from the elements to keep it in great shape.