A Guide to Maintaining Your Cedar Deck

Cedar decks are a popular choice for homeowners due to their natural beauty, durability, and resistance to decay and insects. However, like any outdoor structure, cedar decks require regular maintenance to keep them looking their best and ensure their longevity. With proper care, a cedar deck can last for many years, providing a beautiful and functional space for outdoor living. In this article, we will explore how to properly maintain a cedar deck to keep it in top condition.

Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning is essential for maintaining a cedar deck. Dirt, debris, and algae can accumulate on the surface of the deck, which can lead to discoloration and even promote the growth of mold and mildew. To clean your cedar deck, start by removing any debris such as leaves, branches, and dirt using a broom or a leaf blower. Then, use a mild detergent mixed with water and a stiff-bristled brush or a pressure washer to scrub the surface of the deck. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as they can damage the cedar wood. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and allow the deck to dry completely before applying any stains or sealants.

Staining or Sealing

Staining or sealing your cedar deck is an important step in protecting it from moisture, UV rays, and other outdoor elements. Stains and sealants can enhance the natural beauty of the cedar wood, while also providing a protective barrier that helps to prevent rot, decay, and fading. Before applying any stains or sealants, ensure that your deck is clean and dry. Choose a high-quality stain or sealant specifically designed for cedar wood, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application. It’s important to apply stains or sealants evenly and thoroughly, covering all surfaces of the deck, including the boards, railings, and steps. Allow the stain or sealant to dry completely before placing any furniture or accessories back on the deck.

Learn more about the best stain options for cedar decks »

Regular Inspections

Regular inspections are crucial for identifying and addressing any potential issues with your cedar deck before they become major problems. Inspect your deck at least once a year, and after any severe weather events such as heavy rain, snow, or extreme temperatures. Check for any signs of damage, such as cracks, splinters, warping, or rot. Pay special attention to areas that are exposed to moisture, such as near the ground or close to the house. If you notice any issues, take prompt action to repair or replace the damaged boards or components to prevent further damage and ensure the safety of your deck.

Preventative Measures

In addition to regular cleaning, staining or sealing, and inspections, there are also preventative measures you can take to maintain your cedar deck. Avoid placing hot objects directly on the deck surface, as they can cause burn marks and discoloration. Use coasters or mats under planters or other objects that may trap moisture against the deck, as this can lead to rot and decay. Trim any nearby trees or bushes that may overhang the deck, as the dripping sap or falling leaves can stain the deck surface or promote the growth of algae and mold. Keep the deck clear of debris and leaves to prevent them from accumulating and trapping moisture.

Proper Use and Care

Finally, proper use and care of your cedar deck are essential for its maintenance. Avoid dragging heavy furniture or sharp objects across the deck surface, as they can scratch or damage the wood. Use caution when shoveling snow or using snow blowers, as they can also scratch or gouge the deck. Clean up spills and stains promptly to prevent staining or discoloration. Consider using furniture pads or rugs under heavy furniture to protect the deck surface. Regularly sweep or blow off leaves, dirt, and debris, and you’ll have a deck you can enjoy for years to come.