Investing in an outdoor deck is an extremely smart investment. In fact, according to the North American Deck and Railing Association , decks have an average return on investment of 100%.

Taking proper care of your wood deck is extremely important. Because decks have direct contact with the outdoor elements, wood decks need to be properly sealed and waterproofed. If you haven't sealed and waterproofed your deck, we highly recommend you invest. If you have waterproofed your deck in the past, we have a few tips to help you gauge whether or not you're due for some deck maintenance. Keeping up with the proper care required for your deck will lengthen its life significantly.

The standard rule for resealing your deck is once every year. However, the degree of wear and tear your deck gets can affect how soon you need to reseal. Not only that, but if your deck gets direct sunlight year round, you may need to reseal more often to prevent it from becoming washed-out or discolored. To test whether your deck is due for a new coat of waterproof sealant, pour a few drops of water directly on the wood. If the water droplets bead up, your deck is still protected from the elements. If it soaks into the wood, you are due for a fresh coat of sealant.

Once you're ready to begin your waterproofing project, you will need to wash and prep your deck thoroughly -- sand down any uneven or splitting wood, fill in any holes or imperfections and replace rotting planks. Then, with a scrub brush and bleach solution (3 parts water / 1 part bleach), scrub your deck in its entirety. After you've scrubbed out as much dirt as possible, power wash your deck to rinse away the chemicalsNote: If you have plants nearby or are worried about using harsh chemicals, you can forgo using bleach and scrub with warm water alone.

Apply waterproof sealant one coat at a time. Apply a thin coat of waterproof sealant (with UV protection) sealant with a stain brush. Make sure to stain in the same direction of the grain (and plank). Apply a second thin coat of sealant after the first has had some time to dry. Make sure your deck has at least 48 hours to dry before walking or arranging furniture on it.

You now have a perfectly prepped wood deck ready for spring showers Mother Nature might throw at you!

Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. All Mr. Handyman franchises are Fully Insured with General Liability and Workers Compensation. Some services are subject to state and local licensing and may not be available in all locations. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service in your area.