The leaves are changing, stores are full of pumpkin-flavored everything, and Halloween is just around the corner. Fall is in full swing and the outside temperature is still fairly mild—which means now is the perfect time of year to clean, stain, and seal your deck.

Here’s a complete list of deck maintenance tips to make part of your schedule each fall.

Deck Maintenance Tips To Remember Each Fall
Fall is more than just sweater weather. It’s also the time to consider how the upcoming winter will impact your deck, and what you can do to protect it.

1. Deck cleaning. Dirt and stains build up on your deck through heavy use in the summer months. These will need to be removed to prevent excessive wear to the wood. You may also notice spots from planters, chairs, and tables.

2. Deck staining. If you see any discoloration from water, furniture, plants, or UV rays, this means your deck will need to be re-stained in order to restore it’s color, tone, and finish.

3. Deck sealing. After cleaning or staining, apply a protective finish to your deck. Mold and mildew can eat away at the wood—especially during wet winter months—and sealing helps prevent mold from reaching the wood. It also protects against cracking and splintering that can happen as a result of temperature changes that cause the wood to expand and contract or ice that forms in wood and in it’s cracks.

4. Maintain the yard surrounding your deck. It’s crucial to trim nearby bushes and trees and keep them about a foot away from your deck. Plants can trigger rotting, moss, and mold growth in the wood of your deck, but keeping plants trimmed can help prevent it. Also remember to keep leaves off of your deck and especially make sure they’re swept away before snow or rain hit. This will prevent rotting, mold, decay, and discoloration.