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How To Care For A Cedar Deck: Maintenance Tips To Keep It Looking New

Updated: Mar 21

Waking up in the morning to walk onto a beautiful, natural cedar deck is an appealing home factor for many. Like anything in life, regular maintenance is required to prevent damages often caused by time and the elements.

That’s why in this article, we are going to go over how to care for a cedar deck. These highly efficient maintenance tips will keep your cedar looking fresh and brand new. It is essential that you read the full article as there are do’s and don’ts of cleaning a cedar deck. Some well-intentioned cleaning can actually end up causing severe damage to an otherwise naturally stunning cedar deck. To prevent that from happening by mistake, keep reading!

Quality Cedar Products can meet all your cedar board needs. This blog is informational only and not a replacement for expert advice. Please consult a professional before starting any building project as your needs and specifications may vary and it may not reflect the most current building codes, regulations, or industry standards.

Why Do You Need To Learn How To Care For A Cedar Deck?

Even the best cedar deck boards need help to keep them looking new. And in our post, “Is Cedar Decking Better Than Composite?”, we go over why cedar wood is the best wood choice for a long-lasting deck wood. It’s much lower maintenance - but, some maintenance is still necessary to protect your investment.

Learning how to care for your cedar deck is essential to maintain a long-lasting deck, as we thoroughly discuss in our post, “Does Cedar Decking Need To Be Treated?”. Though cedar wood is naturally durable and resistant to exposure to intense weather conditions, performing visual inspections regularly can prevent small issues, like splinters or stains, from escalating to a bigger problem in the future. Regularly cleaning your cedar deck can lengthen the lifespan quality of your cedar deck---you’re essentially investing in your investment!

How To Care For A Cedar Deck: Maintenance Tips To Keep It Looking New

From cleaning, treating, sealing, and maintaining a cedar deck, we have just the right tips on how to maintain a cedar deck to keep your cedar deck looking brand new! As shown in our post, “How Long Does Cedar Decking Last?”cedar is a long-lasting wood that needs to be cared for properly to keep its years long and its appearance as naturally stunning as when you first installed it for your cedar deck.

Tip #1- Wash Your Cedar Deck

For the first tip on how to keep a cedar deck looking new we recommend making sure to clean your cedar decking. It is important to maintain the wood’s quality so that your cedar deck lasts as long as possible.

First, pre-rinse the cedar deck to soften the cellulose fibers. This step allows the cleaning solution to be absorbed more easily into the wood than if you hadn’t pre-rinsed the cedar deck.

Use a mild cleaner to wash your cedar deck. Or check out our post, “How To Clean Cedar Decking To Keep Your Deck Looking Stunning, where we provide a homemade cleaning mixture recipe to make yourself for cleaning your cedar deck!

Tip #2- Regularly Sweep Your Cedar Deck

We recommend sweeping your cedar deck once or twice a week. Sweeping is one of the easiest methods to prevent buildup of dirt and leaves. It prevents the decay of organic matter that can cause stains or damage on your cedar deck.

A soft push broom is ideal for sweeping debris off the cedar deck. An effective tool used to clean your cedar deck without damaging it---keeping your cedar deck spiff and spam!

Tip #3- Seal & Stain Your Cedar Deck After Washing It

Sealing and staining your cedar deck a few days after washing it will keep it safe post-wash. Sealing your cedar deck will prevent problems like water damage, insects, and rot. Staining your cedar deck will enrich the deck’s natural beauty while simultaneously providing UV protection from sun damage.

An important note--if you spray your deck with a water hose and the water soaks in, it’s time for a new seal. If the water beads on top of the wood, then the sealant is working efficiently. The go-to time span recommended to re-stain and seal a wooden deck is every 1-3 years, but this simple method can present when it's time to get staining and sealing!

Make sure your cedar deck is thoroughly dry before applying a sealant or a stain. Check for sealant remains or stains. If there are any, use sandpaper to sand the spots down. Then, sweep the deck to remove any leftover debris before applying the seal and stain.

Tip #4- Apply Regular Maintenance

Performing regular maintenance on your cedar deck is very important. Looking out for rusty nails or other hardware, insect damage, and signs of rot can prevent the problems from progressing.

Tip #5- Move Your Deck Furniture Around

Moving your deck furniture around from time to time can prevent color patches that occur naturally from harsh UV rays. Color patches can also occur from water sitting underneath furniture, planters, or mats.

Be careful not to drag the furniture around as cedar wood is a softer wood. Lift the furniture to prevent marks or scratches on your cedar deck! Investing in rubber tips for the furniture legs can provide leniency if you forget to lift the furniture up when moving it around. These attachments are relatively inexpensive, an affordable preventative care item that removes the chances of marrying your beautiful cedar deck!

Tip #6- Avoid Placing Rugs On Your Cedar Deck

Another important tip when learning how to keep a cedar deck looking new is to avoid placing rugs on your cedar deck. Aesthetic or comfort purposes set aside, rugs absorb and hold water, causing the deck wood underneath to be constantly wet. Eventually, this is guaranteed to lead to premature wood rot which can then lead to mildew forming.

If you’re dead set on using a rug for your outdoor deck, we highly recommend investing in a rug made from synthetic or plastic materials. The water will run off of the plastic or synthetic material rugs, preventing the water from being trapped, eventually causing rotting or mildew to form.

Tip #7- Sand Your Cedar Deck

To remove any rough or uneven spots on your cedar deck after a thorough deep cleaning, you’ll need a belt sander. The belt sander tool will help to smooth warped deck boards and uneven spots. The goal is to make sure your cedar deck boards are smooth and flat to prevent pooling water.

Should You Care For Your Deck Yourself Or Hire Help?

That is entirely up to you. If you’re a handyman---or woman---caring for your deck yourself would be no major feat. Regular maintenance on your cedar deck should not be too difficult to perform without help.

Hiring help to pressure wash, stain, and seal your cedar deck might be a more applicable action if you don’t have the tools or means to do it yourself.

Hire your cedar deck to be professionally cleaned by a pressure washer to remove any mildew spores or surface impurities that can get in the way of deck sealing products. You can hire a local deck refinishing professional to come stain and seal your cedar deck using a waterproof sealer.

If you don’t have the knowledge or desire to learn the skill, we highly recommend hiring a professional to care for your cedar deck. This will prevent the possibility of damages being inflicted onto your beloved cedar deck due to incorrect cleaning methods or usages of powerful tools like a pressure washer.

What Not To Do When Caring For A Cedar Deck

Caring for your cedar deck is important. When learning how to maintain a cedar deck making sure you’re not actually damaging your cedar deck unintentionally is even more important!

Keep reading for tips on what not to do when caring for a cedar deck.

Tip #1- Don’t Pressure Wash Your Cedar Deck

Many do not recommend pressure washing a cedar deck as cedar is soft and can be easily damaged. The high pressure from the pressure washer can form large gouges to damage the wood and also cause the surface to roughen.

If you end up using a pressure washer anway, we highly recommend setting the pressure washer to low pressure. Make sure to test an inconspicuous area in case the low pressure causes damage.

Tip #2- Don’t Clean Your Cedar Deck With Chlorine Bleach

Using chlorine bleach to clean your cedar deck will strip the cedar wood of its natural color. This damages the cellular structure of the cedar wood.

Tip #3- Don’t Use Paint To Seal Your Cedar Deck

When deciding to refinish your cedar deck, first you will need to remove the pain from the deck with a stripper or sander.

We recommend using synthetic sealants as oil-based products can attract mildew and algae to form on your cedar deck. Using a semi-transparent finish on your cedar deck will protect the deck from sun damage caused by UV rays while simultaneously adding coloring the cedar wood.

In our post, “Can Cedar Decking Be Painted?”, we go into further detail on whether cedar decking can or should be painted. Before painting your cedar deck, read up on this valuable information!

Tip #4- Don’t Use Natural Materials Under Your Deck Furniture

Natural materials like bamboo used for outdoor rugs may protect your cedar wood deck from scrapes caused by moving chairs or tables, but it will also have some major drawbacks. Rugs made from natural materials absorb moisture to promote the creation of mildew and algae. This will cause damage to your cedar deck that can otherwise be prevented.

Use a rug made out of recycled plastic to avoid water retention in your rug and damage to your cedar deck!

Final Thoughts On How To Maintain A Cedar Deck

If you’re looking for a deck remodeling or refresh, shop our western red cedar lumber! We have a wide array of cedar posts for any purpose - along with an entire category of decking essentials. In this article, we’ve explained how to maintain a cedar deck with beneficial tips and recommendations that are guaranteed to keep your cedar wood deck looking brand new!

As the #1 choice in Canada, we are Ontario’s leading supplier of quality cedar products. Delivering top-quality Western Red Cedar across all Central and Southern Ontario, we personally sort and grades all of our cedar products in order to provide only the highest level of quality control.

For a fresh, spick and spam looking cedar deck, start shopping for high-quality cedar at Quality Cedar Products!

Quality Cedar Products does not assume any liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the information provided in this blog post. The reader is solely responsible for any actions taken based on the information presented. Any reliance on the information is at the reader's own risk. Quality Cedar Products is not responsible for any loss, injury, or damage that may occur as a result of following the suggestions, tips, or recommendations provided in this blog post. Building projects involve inherent risks, and it is essential to exercise caution, obtain proper permits, and engage qualified professionals to ensure safety and compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. The inclusion of external links, references, or recommendations in this blog post does not constitute endorsement or guarantee the quality, reliability, or suitability of the linked sources. The reader should independently verify the information and assess its relevance to their specific circumstances. The author reserves the right to modify, update, or remove the content of this blog post at any time without prior notice. It is recommended to check for the most recent updates or consult with professionals to ensure the information is current and applicable. By reading this blog post, the reader acknowledges and accepts the above disclaimer and agrees to use the information provided responsibly and at their own discretion.

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Using bulk cedar mulch around your cedar deck can make it last longer and look better. This mulch helps stop weeds and prevents soil erosion. It also adds to the beauty of your deck and keeps your outdoor area healthy and well-maintained.

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