Every detail matters when it comes to the right deck and railing for your log cabins aesthetics, including location, shape, and durability. Plan a well-designed deck so that you can create a look that adds beauty and value to your home and a deck that will endure for years to come.
Deck maintenance is a big part to keeping your deck functioning and looking beautiful, to say nothing of helping to avoid costly repairs down the road. 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. Here’s a few tips.
Remove any debris build-up and sweep deck frequently
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. Fall is especially a good time to watch for this build up. Remove snow/ice piles as quickly as able.
Clean deck with 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, needed repairs. 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.
The “how to’s” of washing your deck
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.
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.
In addition to keeping your deck clean, here are some things to look for and ways to quickly address problem areas.
- Concern: Look for areas of darkened or soft wood around fasteners, loose rails and posts, and slick or slimy wood surfaces. Also inspect the space between the ledger and the house, or the rim joist or band board to which the ledger attaches.
- Solution: Probe wood near fasteners and the band board with an awl or nail. If the awl plunges into wood easily, the wood has begun to rot and needs to be replaced or repaired.
- Concern: You see discoloration of the ledger or decking where it meets the house.
- Solution: You may want to install flashing to divert water away from the house and protect the deck-house connection from moisture damage. An L-shaped piece of metal with the upright stem of the L caulked to the log wall and the foot of the L laying on the decking and extending out from the house will divert water away from the house and protect the deck-house connection from moisture damage. Note: This is a good time to check around your home to make sure water is being diverted away and not pooling in areas that can cause damage to any of the logs on your home.
- Concern: Examine railing connections carefully.
- Solution: Probe suspicious balusters and posts. If you find decay, or loose railings, you may need to replace the piece.
- Concern: Inspect stairs and stair connections, especially the ends of stair stringers.
- Solution: Be sure that the area where stair stringers bear weight is well-drained and free of debris.
- Concern: Study the deck flooring itself.
- Solution: If you must replace a deck board, remove at least three joist sections. Secure the new board with stainless steel or galvanized nails or screws.
The team at 888 Log Guys understands what to look for when it comes to areas of concerns and are here to help you locate and address problem areas. Many know we help to heal log homes, but we are also experts on deck cleaning, maintenance repairs, and restorations. Give us a call to discuss.