Deck Maintenance Tips for 5 Common Dilemmas

By Toll Brothers 2 minute read

Last updated on October 1st, 2019

As an extension of your house to the great outdoors, your deck is the perfect place to spend sunny days and cool evenings. But between regular use, the hot sun, and the occasional storm, deck issues are bound to happen.

With a bit of cleaning and TLC, your deck will keep its beauty and usability year-round. Keep in mind that any deck maintenance work will help preserve the condition of your outdoor living space for years to come.

Here are the top five most common deck maintenance dilemmas, and the easy ways you can tackle them.


1. Exposed Loose Nails

If your deck is made of wood, pull a rake (back-side down) across the boards to find any nail heads that may be sticking out. Once you’ve located the protruding nails, you have two choices: replace the screws with larger ones or hammer the screws back into the deck. You may also consider applying an alternative material than wood in order to create a smoother surface. There are specific deck systems with clips that create a seamless look with no screws or screw holes to interrupt the smooth texture and comfortable feel of the decking.

Luxury deck with spacious indoor/outdoor transition
Villa Lago at The Promontory, Portofino model in El Dorado Hills, CA


2. Scuffs and Abrasions

To keep wood decks looking good as new, it’s important to wash, stain, and seal them. Difficult scuffs may require the use of a power washer. If you have a wood-alternative deck, you can easily wash off scuffs and abrasions with soap and water. Be sure to check the deck manufacturer’s cleaning and care guide before using a power washer on a wood-alternative deck.

Luxury deck with lounge seating and iron railing
Meridian at Altair, Atlas model in Irvine, CA


3. Set-in Stains

When stains occur, you should treat them as soon as possible. Whether you have a wood or a wood-alternative deck, try to scrub the stain with a household degreasing agent as soon as it occurs. Use an automotive degreaser or a carburetor cleaner, and rinse immediately with hot water.

Modern deck with fireplace and TV
The Overlook at FireRock, Rushmore model in Fountain Hills, AZ


4. Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew can grow on any exterior surface, especially on decks where water can stand or puddle under potted plants or patio furniture. Sweeping away pools of water and periodically cleaning the deck surface are the first lines of defense against mold and mildew build-up. Use conventional deck washes or cleaners that contain bleach and detergent. In addition, wood decks need to be sealed twice a year to protect against other types of moisture damage, such as rotting planks.

Spacious deck with lounge and dining areas
Preserve at Emerald Pines, Bucknell model in Methuen, MA


5. Splintering Boards

The amount of time and effort required to fix splintering boards on a wood deck depends on the extent of the damage. Lightly splintered boards may be salvaged through sanding and re-staining, while severely splintered boards will continue to deteriorate and will eventually need to be replaced. Decks constructed of wood-alternative materials offer incredible durability and will never splinter. This is a great example of where early deck maintenance could save you on extensive repairs while extending the life of the deck.

Luxury deck with wood flooring
Regency at Glen Ellen – The Carriage Collection, Kington model in Millis, MA


Looking for other ways to keep your outdoor living space lush and luxurious? Find out how to arrange patio furniture and improve your landscaping routine.

written by

Toll Brothers, an award-winning FORTUNE 500 company founded in 1967, is the nation's leading builder of luxury homes. Embracing an unwavering commitment to quality and customer service, Toll Brothers currently builds in 24 states nationwide, and is a publicly owned company with its common stock listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: TOL). 2021 marks the 10th year Toll Brothers has been named to FORTUNE magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies® list. Toll Brothers also has been honored as national Builder of the Year by BUILDER magazine, and was twice named national Builder of the Year by Professional Builder magazine.


    1. Drew Blandini says:

      I like that you explained everything in 5 tips and that there is a picture for each tip. Thanks!


      • Toll Brothers says:

        Thank you so much, Drew! We aim to make our articles as insightful and straightforward as possible, so we’re thrilled to hear you say this.

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