Decks for external use are subject to punishment from weather and general use. A wood deck should be inspected yearly for signs of wear, loose nails or screws, mold or decay. Knowing what to look for helps the do-it-yourself homeowner inspect and repair a wood deck.
Inspect the deck for damage. Look for signs of dry rot, water damage, cracked or broken boards and loose or missing nails and screws. Mark these areas with a piece of blue painter's tape. The tape does not leave sticky residue and is easy to spot once you begin repairs.
Examine the cause of any damages, such as clogged water spout or areas that catch and hold leaves and debris. Repair any damage you find.
Repair the deck. Use a screwdriver to tighten loose screws, or replace with new screws. Use a hammer to tighten loose nails. Remove and replace any rotted boards. Repair any loose or missing railings.
Sweep the deck surface of debris with a broom. Make sure to get between the deck boards. Use a power washer and water hose to spray the deck clean. Use a fan tip to keep from damaging the wood from the water pressure. Use deck-cleaning solution to remove stains. Keep the tip of the sprayer a minimum of 12 inches from the surface of the wood. Let the deck dry overnight.
Apply an exterior deck finish to the deck. This helps to preserve the deck.