Your above ground pool wouldn’t be as much fun without your pool deck. It gives you and your loved ones all the space you need to lounge in the sun, relax after a long swim and enjoy the outdoors. While decks are a low-cost way to add more space to your home, they also require a bit of maintenance. If you neglect your deck, algae, dirt, moisture and other microscopic particles will start to chip away at the foundation of the wood, leading to unsightly stains, discoloration and some serious structural issues. Keep your backyard area in tip-top shape with these maintenance tips for above ground pool decks.
Watch Out for Structural Issues
Decks aren’t much more than the sum of their parts. At the end of the day, your deck is just wood and nails, which means all kinds of structural issues are bound to occur. That’s why it’s best to inspect your deck every two to three years. Watch out for loose nails, shaky floorboards and rickety railings. If anything needs fixing, you’ll need to replace these elements before you or one of your loved ones inadvertently causes the deck to collapse.
Clearing the Space
You should also get in the habit of restaining and resealing your above ground pool deck every two to three years. Once you’ve inspected the deck, you should clear the space of any toys, furniture, plants and whatever else might be lying around. You should have unimpeded access to the deck for several hours as you get ready to clean the wood.
Removing Dirt, Discoloration and Stains
One of the easiest ways to remove all the gunk hiding in between the wood is to use a power washer or a garden hose with a healthy amount of water pressure, or you can go the manual route and scrub the wood by hand. Regardless of which method you choose, it’s best to use some potent deck cleaning products and chemicals that get rid of the dirt for you. Bleach-based products get rid of mildew and algae, while acid-based products get rid of tough stains and watermarks.
With a power washer or hose, you can coat the deck in these products in just a few minutes, but you won’t have as much control. Some of these chemicals can be harmful to plants and wildlife, so be steady with your aim and use plenty of water to dilute the chemicals. Don’t forget to use your mesh pool cover so the chemicals don’t end up in the water.
If you’re scrubbing the deck by hand, you’ll have complete control of where these chemicals end up, but you’ll need plenty of elbow grease. You can use a push broom or a regular hand brush to distribute the chemicals. Stronger chemicals will quickly absorb into the wood, so you won’t have to scrub with as much gusto. Once you’ve scrubbed the deck, rinse it off with a hose.
Staining the Deck
Now it’s time to stain the deck, helping you bring out the natural beauty of the wood. Or, if you prefer, you can paint the wood a different color, but make sure you apply a stain-blocking primer first. For deck stains, look for a finish that soaks into the wood, not one that just sits on top. If the wood is in good condition, it’s usually best to use a finish with a light stain, so you can preserve the look of the wood. For older decks, a darker stain can help you cover up the less attractive qualities of the wood. The finish should also be waterproof and come with UV protection. Use a roll brush or hand brush to evenly apply the finish to the wood.
Sealing the Deck
Finally, it’s time to lock in this new finish with a sealant. You must wait until the wood is completely dry before you seal the wood. It might take several days for the finish to dry, so be patient. If you’re not sure if the wood is dry, pour a little water on it and, if it absorbs into the wood, you’re ready to seal the deck. You can spray or paint the sealant onto the wood but use a brush if you want to avoid hitting your plants and grass with toxic chemicals.
Inspecting, staining and sealing your deck every two to three years is the best way to keep the area looking its best. Make the most of your backyard pool and protect your deck from the elements.