Spring Vinyl Deck Inspection Checklist
It’s spring, even if some parts of North American haven’t figured it out yet. Regardless of the weather in your area, it’s vital to complete semi-annual maintenance tasks associated with your vinyl deck, roof deck, or patio. Tuff Industries has pulled together this handy document to help minimize maintenance time and maximize the lifespan of your deck or patio.
Why Spring Maintenance for Vinyl Decks?
It might not seem evident, but winter can be hard on decks, roof decks, and vinyl patios. All the snow adds extra weight while the melt gives ample opportunity for the melt to find nooks and crannies. Meanwhile, rain and wind can create their own issues. This combination can add up to wear and tear on your deck that might go unnoticed until a major issue occurs.
First Step: Clean Up Your Vinyl Deck
Before inspecting your vinyl deck, you first need to clear and clean. By completing spring maintenance on your vinyl deck first, you’ll be able to see any issues clearly should they be present. Cleaning the vinyl deck surface is key – as you’ll want to spot any issues with the vinyl membrane quickly and plan for a new installation if required.
Next Step: Inspection of Vinyl Decks and Structures
Here are the suggested areas you should inspect each spring to ensure that your vinyl deck (or another outdoor structure) is still functioning optimally after winter:
- Check that gutters are still securely attached to the building.
- Check flashing along the edge of the deck (attached to the building) for security.
- Check caulking around entryways, perimeters, and posts. Re-caulk if needed.
- Check trim for looseness or deterioration or insect damage.
- Check deck slope by letting the water run onto the deck (from a hose or a large bucketful). Water should flow away from the structure towards the edge of the deck.
- Check the stability of stairs – there shouldn’t be any softness or springiness.
- Check deck boards (underlying your vinyl deck surface or from below) for hardiness.
- Check support joists and posts.
- Check where the deck attaches to the ledger board (and then to the house) – this is a common area of deck failure. Ensure there are no gaps, rotting, or evidence of water damage.
- Check outlets and faucets for cracks/leaks.
- Inspect any vents – ensure they are allowing air out without permitting insects/rodents to enter.
- Inspect all vinyl deck railings to ensure they are securely attached
It’s a good idea to inspect your deck shortly after a significant rainfall (so wait five minutes!), so you can see where any recurring dampness may be occurring. You can also use an ice pick or screwdriver to probe wood areas that appear compromised (soft or pocked-looking), if you can penetrate the wood easily it may indicate decay that should be corrected immediately.
Step Three: Get Professional Vinyl Deck Assistance
If everything looks great, you may not require this step. However, if you find any sign of decay, dampness, mold, rot, or loose fastenings, you may need to hire the services of a vinyl deck professional. They can advise on the extent of the damage and the recommended next steps. It might be as easy as making a few changes to dramatically extend the lifespan of your vinyl deck.
Leaving small problems now, however, can soon lead to bigger issues down the road. The last thing you want is to have a structural failure, or have water damage affect your home when it could easily be remedied in the early stages.