Helpful Homemaking tip...:
A good way to avoid expensive maintenence costs with a wooden deck is to keep it clean from the get-go. Debris clogs the gaps between deck planks, trapping moisture and encouraging the growth of mildew and rot. Use a power washer or high pressure nozzle on your garden hose to clean this mess out. Any remaining clogs can be removed with an old saw blade or a putty knife. Once you've "flossed" your deck, give the surface a good brush scrubbing with a soapy mix of laundry detergent and water. Do small areas at a time while rinsing periodically. You may even notice some of the wood's original tone returning after you're done.