Fall Deck Maintenance Made Easy with Redwood



For many homeowners, fall is the time for a little maintenance around the yard: a great opportunity to take stock of any landscaping needs or to prepare certain garden beds for their dormant season. It is also the perfect time for a quick check-up on your deck and make sure it’s ready for the next warm weather season.

On the Surface

Take a look at your deck’s finish, for starters. How’s it holding up? Were there any spills not cleaned? See if a quick spray from a hose will do the trick. If not, a mild detergent and warm water will generally remove stubborn dirt and grime. 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.

Is the protective finish a little worse for the wear? Now is a good time to check for any fading areas to monitor over the winter months for a possible refinishing when the weather turns warmer. If your deck is made of California redwood, you’re in luck: redwood’s unique cell structure lets it hold a finish better than other woods.


Clear off Trouble-making Debris

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. My deck is under a large tree, so I clean it off with a leaf blower about every other week. You can use a broom to clear your deck, but a leaf blower is faster and does a better job than sweeping with a broom. 

It’s most important to make sure the spaces between your deck boards remain clear and free from debris, to allow for drainage of winter rains and facilitate optimal drying of the deck boards. The ideal space between the boards is about 3/16 of an inch.

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Walk the Plank

It’s easy to ignore little squeaks and creaks when rushing around to enjoy the summer, so take a slower walk on your deck now. Put a little bounce in your step, and see if any boards seem loose or even soft. Fixing a loose board is as simple as re-setting the fastener or replacing one that broke off. Any boards that appear to be more weathered, cracking, or splintering should be replaced before showing more significant wear.

With a small investment of a homeowner’s time now, your deck will be ready to winter over and welcome more use in warmer weather and many more seasons. Redwood decks, with their legendary durability that holds up to the elements with natural beauty, give homeowners years of care-free performance. It’s those natural qualities that help keep maintaining a redwood deck so easy. For more deck maintenance tips, visit

Charlie Jourdain is president of the California Redwood Association. Reach him at [email protected] or (888) CAL-REDWOOD.

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 redwood, visit the CRA at