When you put a brand-new cable railing system on your cedar deck, they’ll both look great. But, over time, if you don’t maintain the cedar, the deck will start to look drab and will get damaged. That’ll be particularly striking next to a cable railing system, which doesn’t need any maintenance and is always going to look as good as it did when it was installed. So, it is important to start caring for your cedar deck right away, to keep its good looks and to protect your investment.

1. Sweep the Deck

The most important thing to protect your deck is definitely to sweep it regularly. Once per week, you should take a stiff bristle brush that you use just for outdoors and sweep the whole deck. You’ll remove leaves and other debris, which, if left in place, would retain moisture and could harm the deck. They could also cause the cedar to age less evenly. While naturally aged cedar will have some spots and not look as consistent as a stained deck, for example, you can help it stay more consistent with regular sweeping.

2. Wash the Deck

Dirt will collect on your deck and needs to be cleaned off. Once per year, ideally in the spring, you should give your deck a wash. Choose your cleaning product carefully. Some are meant to strip sealant; some are meant to bleach cedar. You will likely want to choose something that just cleans unless you will also be resealing the deck.

Do not use a pressure washer. Cedar is too soft of wood even for mild pressure washing, and you’re running the risk of damaging it if you pressure wash it. This will look particularly jarring on a cedar deck, as the wood beneath the surface will not be aged and will really stand out.

3. Re-Staining or Sealing

Many people leave cedar completely unsealed and even unstained. The wood naturally resists moisture, and many find its color, both when fresh and when aged, to be naturally beautiful. However, if you did choose to stain or seal your cedar deck, then you might want to re-upthem regularly. If it’s just stain, once per year is a good goal. If it’s stain and sealant, or just sealant, you should do it once every other year, or a little longer. You can tell if the sealant is wearing out if the water no longer beads on top of the wood but begins to soak in.

4. Inspect and Move

Once per year, walk around the deck and inspect if or early damage that you may be able to counter. While you’re at it, move furniture slightly so that it’s no longer covering the same wood. This will help the wood beneath the furniture to age properly and evenly.

5. Choose Synthetic Rugs

Rugs that are made of organic material will hold water and may damage the cedar. Even though it resists water, it won’t be able to handle constant contact with water. Synthetic materials won’t retain water, making them a better fit if maintaining your cedar is a priority.