Deck Maintenance – How to Prevent Mold

Keeping your deck clean will keep it from looking like this.

I looked all over for moldy hardwood decks, but all I could find were composite decks like this one.

Unfortunately mold is something that we have to deal with. Mold is everywhere, all the time, but only under the right conditions can it cause a threat. While mold itself is not always bad (think of it as nature’s way of recycling), it can be detrimental to older decks made of soft wood and composites.

Mold only needs a few things to grow: food, such as dirt and pollen, water, and favorable weather conditions. When these three elements are all met, the mold begins to have a feast on whatever it’s sitting on.

This is especially bad for older, or neglected decks that have debris filling up the gaps. Proper cleaning and maintenance will prevent mold from growing. Here are some quick tips to help prevent mold from growing on your deck.

You can control two out of the three conditions needed for mold growth. You can take away its food source, and you can keep it as dry as possible. The spring and the summer bring lots of pollen to the majority of the United States. Sweeping once a week is all you need to ensure the mold does not have any food to munch on.

Rain and snow are elements most of us have to deal with. So, make sure your deck has proper drainage. Standing water is one of your deck’s worst enemies. Check gutters to make sure they are not backing up onto the decking as well. This is another reason why we always recommend decks be pitched at least 1/4″ every 10 feet away from the property so the chances of standing water is reduced.

Clean the areas around and under potted plants and furniture. If there is moisture or wet leaves trapped under anything, mold has the potential to grow and take over.

If mold does show up on your decking, most of the time a simple warm water and soap solution will take care of it. Unfortunately for those with composite decks (like the one pictured above), you’ll have to refer to your manufacturer’s instructions, and even then, you’ll probably still have a mold issue. 

Keeping your deck in good shape will keep mold from growing. Mold will grow anywhere if the surroundings are right. Keep your deck clean of debris, and as dry as possible, and you’ll have a clean deck to enjoy!

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