Your wood deck is an important feature of your home. It’s a great place to catch some sun, grill some burgers and hot dogs, hang out with family, or just relax on your own. It can also be a good selling point if you’re trying to sell your home. None of this is true if your wood deck is rotting, so wood deck maintenance is crucial.
There are several different kinds of wood damage that any owner of wood decks should be mindful of:
MOLD AND MILDEW
Mold and mildew grow in warm areas rich with moisture. Look for small spots of white, black or bluish-green color. This mars the appearance of your deck and degrades the wood. It can create a dangerously slick patch on your deck’s surface. And many people are sensitive or allergic to mold, which can make them sick.
Perhaps the simplest threat to your deck’s wood is rot. If the wood is improperly sealed and has sustained a substantial amount of rain or humidity, the wood can become soft. You can test your wood by seeing if it seems too soft or flexible. Do boards bend too easily? That’s not a good sign. If there’s significant water damage, restoration can be an extensive process.
Your decking boards and support boards are held to each other by nails and screws. If any of those are lost, boards can stray from their proper place. This can cause danger if too many screws or nails are missing. Fortunately, these problems are fairly easy to diagnose and fix.
SPLIT OR STRESSED BOARDS
The boards on top of your deck are called decking boards. They’re supported by support boards that run perpendicular to them. Support boards carry a lot of weight and can degrade when small cracks expand. This can lead to them splitting, creating a dangerous situation. This is also true for the ledger board, which is what the wood deck builder uses to attach the side of the deck to the side of your house. If enough damage has occurred and wood deck repair is needed, you’ll need a professional who knows how to repair splintered wood deck boards.
Another threat to wood decks is pests. These may include carpenter ants, carpenter bees, powderpost beetles, mice, and rats. But the biggest threat is often termites, the most efficient and voracious destroyer of wood. Many of these are attracted to bacteria that grows in crevices, so it’s good to keep your wood clean.
How can your deck be saved from these scourges? Wood deck maintenance. Here are some pointers.
SCRUB IT CLEAN
Scrubbing your deck at least four times a year (once per season) can reduce the growth of mold and mildew. It can also get rid of stains on your wood. Professional grade scrubbers are available for sale or rent.
CLEAR THOSE GUTTERS
Roof gutters channel rainwater to your downspouts, where it can be carried away from the house. When gutters are clogged, much of this water will spill over onto your wood deck. And excess water degrades wood. Keep your gutters clean to avoid this problem. If you’re not able to safely clean them, there should be many local services available.
THE RIGHT SEAL
A crucial aspect of any deck is an appropriate wood seal. If you’re applying it yourself, follow the instructions very carefully. If the right seal is used, and in the right amount, it will keep your wood deck free of excess moisture for years. If you use too little seal, it won’t be adequately protected. And if you use too much, it will take so long to dry that contaminants will stick to it during the drying process, compromising the wood.
At Exterior Design + Decks, we have been providing North Atlanta customers with high-quality decks, screened porches, pergolas, and more for over a decade. As a first-generation, family-owned business, we pride ourselves on our ability to deliver premium services to Sandy Springs, Woodstock, Johns Creek, and the surrounding areas. We’ve done so since 2003, and along the way, we’ve earned a reputation for excellence. Our company has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau®, and we’ve won the Consumer’s Choice Award six years in a row. Our accolades and dedication to customer service are why our clients always return to us for subsequent projects. We take great care to provide a smooth, customized process designed to cater to every customer’s needs.