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12 Things You Should Never Do to Your Deck

A backyard deck is a wonderful place to relax or entertain. Make sure you take care of it the right way by avoiding these common mistakes in deck care.

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deck lightingIrina Mos/Shutterstock

Don’t neglect safety

Make sure your deck, steps, and railing are all well lit to make it more inviting and as a safety precaution to prevent accidents. Get some clever ideas for deck lighting.

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fireDamian Moo Moo Barton/Shutterstock

Don’t place a fire pit on the deck

It’s a fire hazard and likely prohibited if it burns real wood. Find out the best tips for planning outdoor decks, patios, kitchens, and bars.

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potCharles Brutlag/Shutterstock

Don’t place potted plants on the deck without saucers

Saucers collect excess water and keep it—and soil—from spilling out onto the deck when watering. This will help prevent staining, moss growth, and rotted deck boards. Here’s a deck planter you can build in less that one hour!

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wood WKanadpon/Shutterstock

Don’t stain or seal without preparing the deck

That means sweeping and cleaning the deck first. Otherwise, the stain and seal won’t adhere as well, causing discoloration and providing less protection. Here are 31 home improvements that will double the value of your home.

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Don’t clean the deck with bleach

Bleach can cause discoloration and streaking. And it will injure nearby plants.

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deckDel Boy/Shutterstock

Don’t injure nearby plants

Bleach and other harsh chemicals can injure or kill nearby plants, not just leaves but also roots. Cover plants with plastic while cleaning your deck and start with plain water. If that doesn’t do the job, switch to the mildest solution you can find, such as dish soap, and finally deck cleaner, if needed. Check out this beautiful living wall with movable planters. Don’t miss these 13 home improvements that practically pay for themselves.

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Don’t forget to move furniture and rugs

Switch up the floor plan on your deck every once in a while so the same areas aren’t covered by furniture and the best rugs all the time. This will keep the deck from uneven fading and also cut down on moisture-related problems such as rot and mold. Here are 14 tips for moving furniture.

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brush xfox01/Shutterstock

Don’t use a wire brush to clean stains

A wire brush will damage the deck boards and leave rough edges and splinters. Use a plastic bristle brush instead. Here are five solid solutions for a shabby deck.

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Don’t misuse a pressure washer

That means don’t use it too often and don’t use a PSI over 1,100 because you may damage the wood. Use a fan attachment (shown), which is less likely to cause damage. If you’re new to pressure washers, experiment on an inconspicuous area of the deck until you get the hang of it. Find out what 32 home upgrades are a waste of money.

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debrisKatherine Shepard/Shutterstock

Don’t let dirt and debris accumulate

It’s easy to let dirt, leaves, and other debris accumulate on your deck, especially if there’s a tree nearby. But debris not only looks unsightly, but it can also harbor insects and hold excess moisture—neither of which is good for your deck. You’ll love this deck cleaning hack!

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DecksFamily Handyman

Don’t neglect the condition of the deck

Tighten loose screws and tamp down exposed nails. Regularly check railings to see if they are loose (a safety hazard) and look for any boards that need to be replaced. Learn how to properly repair a deck railing and how to replace deck floorboards. Here are 11 sneaky backyard dangers you should know about.

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Don’t paint the deck

Paint requires primer and is likely to chip or bubble at some point down the road. Stain is a lower maintenance choice and there are color-tint stains available if you’re looking for options. Learn how to restore a deck the right way.

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Bonus: Don’t create extra work for yourself

There’s no need to apply a stain to your deck and then follow up with a sealer. Use an all-in-one product and save yourself the extra time and expense. Here are some excellent tips on how to pick the right product. Next, don’t miss these 39 secrets home inspectors won’t tell you.

The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman