Deck wood rot can come in many different shapes and forms. It’s important to understand the characteristics of rot and necessary preventative measures to stop it before it’s too late. There are many reasons why wood rots, so it’s vital to identify exactly what might be happening for you before coming up with a solution. Depending on location, weather patterns, amount of use, and level of maintenance, decks can see a vast range of rotting that is completely avoidable.
Water Related Rotting
One of the most common sources of rot is water damage within the deck boards. It’s no secret that decking can see its fair share of weather-related damage. After all, it does endure every season outdoors. Water can easily seep through grains of wood and cause damage over time if not properly cared for.
This is especially apparent on decking that has not been sealed for some time. It’s always a good idea to ask your installer what they recommend for frequency of staining or sealing. While some decking requires a seal every few years, others may need it as often as every few months. Understand the variety of wood that your deck is built with and maintain its surface as needed. Otherwise, you could end up with major water damage down the road that cannot be easily repaired.
Insect Related Rotting
While this cause of rot can be difficult to detect and prevent, insect related deck rot is another common cause for concern. Again, understanding the type of decking you have along with the pests in your area can have a huge impact on the longevity of your deck in the future.
Insect damage can often go unnoticed until it is too late, but with a few preventative measures you should be able to fend them off for decades. The main thing homeowners can do to eliminate pests is hire an exterminator or specialist to come out annually to check up on your materials. Likewise, applying insect repellent or a thick seal to your materials should help immensely.
How Severe Is The Rot?
If the damage has already been done, it’s a good idea to get an understanding on how severe your rot actually is. In most cases, repairs can be made to make up for any damages. But in more serious situations, the rot can spread and cause the deck to be a danger to your home.
When inspecting your deck for rot, be sure to check out the framing materials or any support beams holding it in place. While much of the rot may take place on the replaceable deck boards, farming materials that have rot will sacrifice the structural integrity of the deck as a whole.
What Can I Do To Prevent Deck Rot?
One of the best ways to prevent deck rot is with regular upkeep and cleaning of your deck. Be sure its surface is free of any debris or puddles, and check on the boards and framing regularly to ensure no damage is taking place.
It’s also a good idea to research your area and which materials do best in the exact climate you live in. If rot still seems inevitable with any wood species and amount of upkeep, it may also be a good idea to consider composite materials. While no rot is not guaranteed, it will occur a lot less often in engineered materials than natural ones.