FAQs: Back Porch Maintenance

One of the things we love most about summertime near and on the coast is the classic standby of hanging out on the porch or deck with family and friends, soaking in the sunshine, warmer temperatures, sippin’ sweet tea, and good company.

But you can hardly enjoy that pastime if your porch has fallen into disrepair during the colder months!

Owning your home means having to shoulder the responsibility of maintenance and repair, which can get costly and more than a little frustrating when things don’t go as you might hope. So, to spare you some of the difficulties surrounding getting started, we’ve answered a few common questions that often come up about back porch upkeep.

How should you remove stains?

While this step in sprucing up your back porch is mainly dependent on the source of the stain, there are a few tried and true methods with which you can start. First, check to be sure that the stain isn’t mold by applying a drop of undiluted bleach to the spot.

If it disappears, you can clean your porch with your usual cleaner and then rinse it off. If it doesn’t, break out the brush and warm, soapy water, and use a bit of elbow grease. Other ways to remove everyday stains are:

  • Tar and heel marks: Try dishwashing detergent and warm water. If you’re unsuccessful, scour the area with a stiff-bristled brush and mineral spirits.
  • Efflorescence: Rub the area with a wire brush; this should remove the white stain, which is caused by salts in the masonry mixture. If this doesn’t work, many commercial stain removal mixtures are available that will remove the stain. Most will contain acid, so be sure to wear gloves and safety glasses.
  • Dirt and grime: Hose down the surface with water and scrub it with a stiff broom.
  • Soot: Apply detergent and water and use that elbow grease.


Always try a hidden test spot before deciding any stain remover.

There are gaps between wood planks; how can those be fixed? 

Over time, weather and the natural movement of the boards themselves will cause the exterior planks in your porch to shift and leave behind gaps. You could continually fill those spaces with wood filler, or you can opt for a long-term solution in the form of natural fiber rope.

Cut pieces that are wider than the gaps and pour stain or paint that matches your porch into a bucket. Let the rope soak it up until it reaches the right color, then start inserting each piece into a gap and flatten them in until they’re secure.

How do I fix scratches?

Whether you were busy moving patio furniture, or the kids ran across the porch with the pets in tow, scratches are bound to happen. Depending on the severity of the scratches, you can skip the possible complications of uneven planks by using sandpaper and then repainting the affected area or even applying a soldering iron to even the scratch back out. If it’s a substantial damage point, we suggest hiring a professional to replace the board.

[Need some other home maintenance ideas this spring and summer? Click here!]

How can I keep my porch from getting slippery?

There are tons of causes for slippery spots on your porch: mold or mildew, rainfall, worn planks.

If your space seems particularly susceptible to slippage, you can apply water-resistant stain or even a marine-grade protective paint that contains sand. This provides you with extra traction after the paint dries, and fewer chances for falling and injuring yourself on the back porch. For these solutions, we recommend consulting a professional.

Whether you spend every evening on your porch, or maybe only one here and there, you want it to be a space that anyone can enjoy all summer long.

For more do-it-yourself tips and answers to your frequently asked home-related questions, keep up with the Michelle Clark Team’s blog!