7 Tips to Avoiding Unnecessary Deck Deterioration
If you want to enjoy your outdoor deck for many seasons to come, you have to put in the time and effort to protect it from various environmental threats. Moisture, fungi, pests, wind, fallen debris, and more threaten the integrity of your deck. It won’t happen overnight, but little by little your deck may begin to deteriorate, leaving you with a tough call: to invest in major repairs or a total replacement job. If you would rather avoid this dilemma, here are 7 tips for avoiding unnecessary deck deterioration.
1. Add an Awning or Roof
Plenty of potential threats lurk below your deck, but you can’t forget about the threats overhead either. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun’s rays can do a number on your deck’s wood, as can fallen leaves, branches, and limbs. Precipitation (rain, snow, sleet, hail, etc.) is another common enemy for your deck. Obviously, you can’t control the forces of nature. You can, however, shield your deck from these aerial issues by installing a roof or awning above it.
2. Keep it Clean
Proper deck maintenance is key to avoiding deck deterioration, and routine cleaning makes up the majority of this work. Take the time to sweep away any debris that lands on your deck, and try mopping and wiping down or scrubbing surfaces every couple of weeks. For a deeper clean, use a pressure washer, but be careful to not damage your deck or injure anyone nearby if you do this yourself.
3. Re-Seal on a Regular Basis
A bare wooden deck is wide open to deterioration—microbes, moisture, and pests can easily enter the wood’s pores, UV rays can fry the upward-facing surfaces, and impact damage will leave more of a mark. This is why deck sealing is so important. When properly applied, a quality deck sealant or stain penetrates the wood and blocks its pores from entry. Additionally, the best stains include UV protection, pest protection, and more. Of course, most sealants wear out their usefulness after about 2-3 years, so it’s important to reseal your deck when the time comes.
4. Choose Durable and/or Low-Maintenance Materials
All decks are not created equal—some decking materials are naturally more susceptible to deterioration than others. When having a deck built and installed, then, consider the composition. Ipe, for instance, is a sturdy type of wood that’s also resistant to fire, termites, and decay. Pressure-treated wood like pine is another good option for decking, as it is chemically-resistant to pests, fungi, and rot. Wood-plastic composite decking and PVC decking are the lowest-maintenance options, though these materials still require regular washing. If you want to avoid deck deterioration, the material you choose matters.
5. Inspect Often (catching problems early)
You can’t address a problem with your deck if you don’t see it. So, inspect your entire deck on a regular basis, checking for signs of damage, rot, warping, etc. The earlier you catch an issue, the more equipped you’ll be to address it properly.
6. Make Small Repairs When Needed
If and when you do come across small issues, such as fracturing, missing or loose fasteners, etc., repairing them promptly is both a matter of deck safety and protection against further deterioration. Making these minor fixes helps prevent small problems from developing into severe ones.
7. Don’t Neglect Landscaping
Finally, if you want to prevent deterioration, you have to consider the area around your deck as well. Namely, stay on top of your landscaping. If your grass gets too long or weeds run rampant, hazardous pests may be more attracted to your yard and your deck. Likewise, trees that are too close to your deck or improperly trimmed may lead to impact damage from fallen branches and limbs. By keeping your lawn, trees, and shrubs in order, you also protect your deck.
Don’t Let Your Deck Decay
Deck deterioration may be common, but it’s not inevitable as long as you take the proper precautions and steps. If you need help installing, protecting, fixing, and/or treating your deck, look no further than the deck repair and restoration experts at SEAL-A-DECK. To learn more about us or to schedule a deck check-up today, give us a call at 978-538-7325.