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Photo: Irina Mos (Shutterstock) A deck can be an extension of your living space during the warmer months, becoming a second living room for get-togethers or a quiet retreat to soak in a summer breeze. For all their usefulness, decks can be a pain to maintain and can become an eyesore as they age. Keeping your deck looking sharp and ready for use isn’t as hard as it might seem. Here are some ways to save money by doing your own deck maintenance. Check for and repair structural damage The first thing to do before even thinking about refinishing is to check for any damage. Make sure that all the posts that hold the deck up are in good shape and don’t have any rotting or splintering. Check to make sure that railings are in good condition and feel solid. All the posts holding the deck up should be firmly attached and not leaning or bowing. If you find any structural issues, you should call in a pro to do repairs, but there are a few things you can do yourself. For instance, this is also a good time to check for brush and debris because a buildup of dry material under a wooden deck can pose a fire hazard in summer months. Once you’ve given your deck a good visual inspection, the next step is to check for damage and make repairs to any of the floorboards of the deck and replace any cracked boards with new material. […]