A concrete, outdoor deck is designed to withstand the elements and last through seasons. It doesn’t mean, however, that it no longer needs some TLC. Decks can deteriorate faster than their ideal lifespan if they don’t get the care and maintenance necessary to keep them structurally and aesthetically sound.
As decks are one of the biggest features a house can have, it’s no doubt one of your pride and joys as a homeowner. Here are some maintenance tips for concrete decks, patios, and balconies that are easy to do on your own. Even better, they can keep your deck in excellent condition all year.
Keep Dirt and Debris Off Your Deck
Cleaning your deck regularly is a no-brainer, but we must emphasize sweeping away dirt and debris and keeping them from accumulating on your patio or balcony. Dirt, gravel, and loose soil can scratch and erode the surface of a concrete deck. This can cause the surface to wear out fast and develop shallow cracks. Over time, the top layer could be chipped off, making the surface uneven with tripping hazards scattered all over.
There’s also the aesthetic factor to think about. Fallen leaves left long enough to decay on a concrete deck can leave unsightly stains that are difficult to remove even and must be scrubbed with soap and water.
Invest in Protective and Waterproof Deck Coatings
Bare concrete attracts and collects dirt which, as previously discussed, can promote erosion and rapid wear. Its surface is also porous, which means it also collects water and takes long to dry. All of these can take a toll on a concrete deck and cause its surface to crack and chip off.
To prevent the rapid deterioration of the deck’s surface, and to extend its serviceable life, invest in waterproofing systems for your concrete deck. These are liquid coatings that seal the surface of bare concrete to create a smooth, reinforced surface that’s resistant to moisture, impact, erosion, and corrosion. You can choose from a wide range of products, such as liquid urethane with fiber-lath membrane and heavy-duty resin.
Watch Out for Tree Roots
Outdoor decks surrounded by foliage are perfect for outdoor R&R, but keep in mind that tree roots can damage ground-level concrete decks. If they grow too big and unruly, the roots can push the concrete from below, creating uneven areas and eventually causing the concrete to crack.
Manage the growth of the bushes and trees on your property by trimming the roots regularly. Consult an arborist if possible so that you won’t ever have to consider removing a tree in order to maintain the integrity of your concrete deck.
Keep Chemicals Away
Laboratories treat their concrete floors with protective coatings as a precaution against accidental chemical exposure or spills. Even deicing agents, which many people use during winter, can cause discoloration and other damage on a concrete deck. Some of these products contain calcium chloride which reacts chemically with concrete and can damage it.
The safest method when dealing with snow on a deck, therefore, is to diligently scrape them off with a shovel. If resources permit, you may also build a roof over your deck to keep as much snow off of it as possible.
Lastly, take care not to spill liquid chemicals directly on the deck. If you must handle them, keep their containers tightly closed and them out of the way so that no one accidentally knocks them over.
Save for installing a protective coating, all of these tips won’t cost a dime. They do need some work, but the payoff will be well worth it. Your concrete deck will stay in excellent condition and you can enjoy the outdoor space for many, many years.