Deck Maintenance Made Easier with Redwood

Deck Maintenance Made Easier with Redwood

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Redwood is one of nature’s low-maintenance building materials, with unparalleled natural resistance to insects and decay—and fire. Year after year, redwood’s beauty endures. And even better, it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to maintain your redwood’s natural beauty.


Start with the Finish

Applying a finish can help keep your redwood looking wonderful for years and lock in the color and look you want. Water-repellant finishes with UV protection and a mildewcide offer the most protection, while slightly tinted stains will last longer than completely clear finishes. Redwood’s unique cell structure lets it hold a finish better than other woods, so simply refinishing your redwood every few years can keep it looking great.

Taking this step with your deck is not a requirement, though. Many homeowners choose to let their redwood age gracefully, taking on a distinct gray, weathered look over time.

Make a Clean Sweep

It takes only a few minutes a week, but the simple task of keeping your deck surface clear of debris such as fallen leaves or dust and dirt goes a long way in keeping the look you love. Redwood won’t stain like composites and plastics, so you don’t have to worry about barbecue grease or red wine leaving a permanent mark.

Dirt and dust may build up to the point that a mere sweep of the broom or rinsing with water from a hose will not remove them. A mild detergent and warm water will generally remove stubborn dirt and grime.

Then, once a year, check your deck for any loose boards, raised nail heads, or signs of wear in the support structure. Taking time to address small issues right away helps keep them from becoming bigger problems in the future.

Refinish As Needed

No finish lasts forever, so when a finish has deteriorated to the point of faded pigment, cracking, or peeling, it’s time to refinish.

Homeowners can find a variety of cleaning and color restoration products (oxalic acid-based wood brighteners) that will enliven a deck’s finish. Power washing is also an effective way of removing old finish and grime and preparing for a new finish. A fine, high-powered spray effectively removes loose materials without damaging the wood – but if a homeowner is not highly experienced in handling a power washer, he or she should hire a professional to do this step.

Galvanized nail heads should be set below the surface to protect the coating and prevent nail stains.

Then, simply finish your deck as you originally did, to continue enjoying your natural redwood for many more years to come.

Redwood has a legendary durability that holds up to the elements with natural beauty, while giving you years of care-free performance with heartwood that is distinctively elegant and naturally resistant to insects and decay. It’s those natural qualities that help keep maintaining a redwood deck so easy. For more deck maintenance tips, visit

More about Charlie Jourdain

Charlie Jourdain is president of the California Redwood Association. Founded in 1916, the California Redwood Association is one of the oldest trade associations in the lumber industry. From the very beginning, the association’s primary mission has been to promote redwood products and educate builders and consumers on the advantages of using redwood. To learn more about redwoods, visit the CRA at

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