Whether you have a bridge, deck, or other wood structure on your property, there are some things you can do to maintain it. Maintenance can help to:
- Lengthen the life of the wood
- Reduce the number of repairs needed
- Keep your wooden structure looking its best
Cleaning Your Wooden Structure
The first and easiest thing you can do to maintain your bridge or deck is to regularly remove fallen leaves and other debris. A buildup of debris gives moisture a place to collect. When the wood on your structure stays wet for a long period of time, that moisture invites mold, mildew, and rotting. Regularly remove anything that might collect on the structure, especially in the autumn when leaves are falling.
You should also give your wooden structure a more thorough cleaning about once a year. We recommend that you do this when temperatures are milder, such as during the spring. There are several outdoor cleaners that remove mildew that are also biodegradable. These cleaners remove dirt, mildew, and anything else that might eventually mean replacement boards or other repairs. Find a mild, eco-friendly outdoor cleaner and follow the instructions.
Remember that pressure washing may be an option, but you should always follow the instructions for your pressure washer. If you use too much pressure, you could damage the wood.
Protecting Your Wooden Structure
Wood is durable, especially when it has been pressure treated appropriately for the structure type and environment. However, you should use protective coatings to make it even more durable. If your bridge or deck has not been stained or sealed before, or if it’s been a while, you may want to coat it again. Find a stain or sealant that works for your climate and the wood in your structure, and follow the instructions on the package.
Remember that if the wood absorbs water, it needs to be treated!
Depending on your area, you may want to treat the wood to protect it from insect damage. Be sure that you choose a product that is appropriate for the type of insects in your area, you follow all instructions, and keep chemical use to a minimum to protect the wildlife in your area!
Inspecting Your Wooden Structure
Even if you keep your wooden structure clean and protected from the elements, you should periodically inspect it for damage. When inspecting, check for the following:
- Loose nails or screws
- Soft boards, especially where boards connect
- Rust on nails or other hardware
- Loose connections between boards, posts, etc.
- Old or peeling paint, stain, or sealant
If you notice anything during your inspection, repair it right away. Replace any hardware or boards that are questionable, and re-apply sealant or stain if needed.
If you keep your wooden structure properly maintained, it will last for years to come. If you find you need some repairs, however, Nature Bridges is more than happy to come out and help you determine what needs to be done and give you a quote to keep your bridge, deck, or other structure at its best!