Summer in Tahoe! It's a magical, short season filled with blue sky, hiking, biking, beach days by a lake, and just about every water sport you can think of. With all of these choices, one of my favorite places to hang out is on my back deck. Whether it is coffee in the morning or wine in the evening, it is my peaceful place.
Decks in Tahoe have quite a few challenges and they need to be hardy. They can be covered with snow and ice half of the year and pollen, sap, and pine needles the rest of the year. Here are a couple of tips for keeping your deck in tip-top shape for maximum enjoyment.
• The best thing you can do for your deck in the winter is keep it clear of snow and ice.
• Be aware when shoveling not to make gouges in the wood. Use a plastic snow shovel.
• Choose a de-icer carefully. Many common de-icing salt/chloride mixtures may stain the wood and can also cause significant damage to the underlying joists that are supporting your deck. Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA) or Ammonia Sulfate (Urea-based de-icers) may be a safe choice. Read the labels and know what is in your deicer.
• At the beginning of summer, clean deck thoroughly. Scrape pine needles and debris from cracks.
• Continue to keep deck swept and routinely scrape out debris.
• Cut back overhanging tree branches to prevent dripping sap, falling pine cones and needles.
• A nice pressure wash can clean and brighten your deck. If you do not have access to a pressure washer, simply hose it off once or twice a month.
• If you are a DIYer, you should stain your deck once a year, optimally in Spring or Fall. Before staining, clean as thoroughly as possible. If you are pressure washing, make sure you allow 24 hours for complete drying. Choose a time when the weather will be dry for 2-4 days.
• If you have your deck professionally maintained, you may not have to have it done annually, as they might strip it and use a high quality product. Ask a professional for more advice.
• Stains run the gamut from water-based, oil-based, or stain and sealants all-in-ones.
By properly maintaining your deck, you are also maintaining the value of your home. More importantly, it will pay off in hours of enjoyment!