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Fall Cedar Deck Tips to Avoid Stains

Wet Leaf on Wooden StepPortland decking materials are subjected to months of rain every winter. When it comes to protecting a cedar deck, Portland homeowners typically understand the importance of regular staining and waterproofing. While these are certainly the most important maintenance tasks for extending the life of your cedar decking, more is needed to keep your decking materials in tip-top shape. The following is a look at how you can prevent your Portland decking materials from becoming stained by leaves and other debris.

As leaves decompose, they release tannins, or astringent compounds that help protect plants from bacteria, insects and fire. If you’ve ever visited a bog, you’ve probably noticed the tea-toned water, which is a result of wood tannins leaching out of submerged stumps and branches. Tannins are also found in tree leaves. When leaves become stuck to the surface of cedar decking, they release their tannins into the wood, leaving stains.

It is possible to remove these stains from your Portland decking materials by applying a brightener once spring rolls around. However, you can avoid such stains in the first place by following these maintenance techniques:

Regularly remove all leaves and debris. Sweep your deck regularly. If organic materials are left on your cedar deck, Portland residents, they can rot the underlying wood, encourage mold and mildew growth, and cause tannin stains. Take advantage of any dry spell to sweep your cedar decking clean of leaves and debris.

Sweep leaves off deck, not between boards. Leaves that become lodged between or under boards can weaken the structure of your deck as they rot.

Check air ventilation. Tannin stains are more likely to occur on decks with poor air circulation. Mold and mildew growth is also higher on decks with poor ventilation. Make sure air can flow between deck boards.

Rearrange deck furniture. If your deck furniture stays outdoors in the winter, make sure you shift it around periodically. Leaves can easily become trapped under furniture, where you may not notice them until they’ve already released their tannins.

These tasks rarely take more than five or ten minutes to complete, yet they can save you hours of hassle down the road.

[ photo by: M.Markus on Flickr, via CC License ]

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