6 Best Practices To Prevent Your Deck From Rotting

wooden stairs

As most decks are made of wood, we can expect them to rot over the course of its lifetime. Decks can last between 15-25 years depending on how it is built and if it’s exposed to water. It’s not the actual boards that rot, it’s the treated lumber framing that’s vulnerable.

Here we look at 3 easy, economical and efficient ways to extending your decks lifespan.

6 Ways To Increase Your Decks Life Expectancy

Pressure Treated Lumber

Use pressure-treated lumber as it has a much higher resistance to moisture than ordinary lumber. Even more so than redwood and cedar which are 2 other rot-resistant types of wood.

stacks of wooden planks

Coat The Joists

Use a moisture-resistant stain or sealer for the joists to provide an extra level of protection. Paint all surfaces and edges with a paintbrush and ensure you give an extra layer of coat on the ends.

Use Joist Hangers

Joist hangers provide more security than nails and screws. The spacing helps the air breeze through to the end of the joists, which is a great way to prevent them rotting.

Hang the lateral joists from metal joist hangers and leave at least 1/8 inch between the ends of the lateral joists and sides of the bearing joists.

Install With Hidden Fasteners

These help keep the decking boards from touching and rubbing the joists. Most types of fasteners are metal clips that nail or screw to the sides or underneath the decking boards.

You don’t want the fasteners splitting the wood, as the water will seep in. So drill pilot holes using a drill or rotary tool.

Space The Boards

Leave boards at least ¼ inch between each other when installing them. Many fasteners already space the boards, but in case you have chosen one that doesn’t then use a spacer such as a scrap piece of wood.

Spacers prevent water from resting on the boards making the decking slippery, ugly and begin to rot.

Clean The Deck Regularly

Regularly maintaining the deck to a healthy standard is something you have to take into consideration before installing one. A hard-bristle brush removes the debris between the boards. Debris soaks in water, which can also pose a problem. This is why it’s important to brush the joists too.

Checking The Deck For Potential Problems

Hidden dangers such as debris can ruin your efforts of maintaining your deck. Other problems that pose a threat to the health of the joists and boards are loose or corroded nails, mould, mildew and other growths.

Stay on the look out for cracked or warped boards in the handrails, posts sills and joists. Also keep a watchful eye on dry rot – fungal growth that seeps inside the decking and digests the wood causing shrinkage, musty odour and soft, spongy and discoloured boards.

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