Use this decking maintenance guide to prolong the life of your deck.
Whether your deck is made of wood or composite, you want your deck to look good for as long as possible. In most cases decks can last for 20- 30 years before they need to be replaced. But decking maintenance is required to keep it in top shape for that long. But by taking such great care of your deck, it will not only last decades, it will save you hundreds of dollars in repairs or even thousands in replacement costs. Decking maintenance with help keep your deck looking newer for longer, maintain it’s color, show fewer scratches and obtain fewer splinters.
Here’s a breakdown of what you need to do to keep your deck looking great, like this one below:
Maintaining the deck against weather and time:
The first tip I can give you is this: Decks tend to last longer when they are installed by professionals. This is because decks have to be designed to avoid water settling and pooling. They also tend to create a way for water to run off the deck, to help it last longer. So, while you can build your deck yourself, getting the input and expertise from a professional deck builder is always beneficial. This is the first step to a long- lasting deck.
Maintaining a wood deck:
It is recommended that, with a wood deck, you stain it annually.
First, sand any of the rough spots down a little, tack down any nails, and then use the stain, followed by an oil based and UV protective sealant. This is all best done at the end of fall before the snow starts. by sealing it at that time, it will help to keep the deck protected against the long standing moisture of the winter.
All of these steps don’t necessarily need to be done every year, but we’d recommend at least applying sealant every year. You can apply stain every two years or as needed. Typically, if you like the look of your deck when it is wet better than when it is dry, then it likely needs to be stained.
Maintaining a composite deck:
Composite decks have the benefit of being low-maintenance. They don’t require a yearly staining or sealing, and can generally get away with a good power wash or sweeping. The sun though, still has a profound effect on most composite materials, and can cause fading in some. Although, many composite decking companies are getting better at prolonging or completely avoiding this effect.
Clues that your wood deck might need to be repaired or replaced:
It might seem obvious in some cases, such as if you see sagging, or if you have broken boards. But there are other times when it is far less obvious, and you might even want to call in a professional to make a final determination.
One of those cases might be, if your deck boards have cracking and splitting, but the rest of the deck seems all right. Cracking doesn’t necessarily mean the deck is in bad shape. Deck boards can crack for a number of reasons. Mainly, from drying after exposure to water. In many cases, you can sand down the wood and give the deck a good coat of stain and seal, and that could prolong the life of the deck by several more years.
While those may be easy fixes, there are other problems you will want to check for:
- Sagging- of either the foundation or the surface boards. This might likely be due to termites. The whole deck will need to be replaced.
- Soft, mushy wood- this can happen if the wood has experienced a lot of exposure to water, and hasn’t been able to fully dry.
- Cracking or splitting- as mentioned, in most cases you can extend the life of the deck with stain and sealant. Cracking doesn’t necessarily warrant worry for the decks integrity. But what you want to be aware of, is that if the deck isn’t sealed when there are cracks. This makes it more susceptible to water. The water can seep into the cracks and soften the wood, and also make it more likely that termites could settle in.
- Termites- they create channels in the wood, allowing water to seep in, rotting the wood from the inside. Termite damage is pretty noticable in a lot of cases, but you can get a professional inspection if you are unsure.
This isn’t to say that these issues happen a lot. In fact, most homeowners experience no issues until the deck edges closer to the end of it’s lifespan.
If you’d like to connect with one of our professionals here at Rocky Mountain Forest Products, feel free to give us a call at: 866-534-2108. Or, reach us through our contact page. We can give you more information about decking maintenance when you call us, or when you visit.