Decks are exposed to the harshest elements and require annual maintenance. Most decks should be cleaned and sealed every year to protect wood components; even decks made of composite or vinyl decking should be washed annually.

Also, every deck should be checked regularly for signs of rot and to ensure structural integrity.

Expect to recoat clear sealers and toners annually. Re-coat stain finishes as needed (every other year is a good routine). If the underside of your deck is accessible, use a flashlight to inspect joist beams and post. Pay special attention to the ledger, this is an important piece of framing that attaches the deck to the house. An estimated 90% of collapsed decks resulted from the failure of the ledger. However, not all decks have ledgers. Some are free standing, a beam and posts located within a few feet of the house indicate a free standing deck system. When the weather is warm and dry, it’s a good time to give a close inspection. Pay particular attention to any areas close to sources of water, such as downspouts, planters and trees.