When you build a wooden deck you’ll be awed by the gleaming warm wood and the way it transforms your yard into a laid back place where you can entertain friends and family. But two years down the line, if you haven’t maintained it properly, it won’t only look dull, it’ll be covered in algae too and you’ll find yourself leading your friends round the other side of the house instead. If you really want to enjoy your investment for the next 20 years, you’ll need to learn the basics of maintenance. An easy way to remember the essentials of basic maintenance is to use the look, prevent, fix, clean and finish approach.
Wet wood rots, that’s what it does, so you need to be vigilant about checking for rot even in rot resistant wood. Unfortunately, rot usually occurs on the underside of the deck, as this sits closer to the dew, so you’ll need to do more than simply give your deck a once over to check that everything is in order. You’ll need to be prepared to get down and dirty, so if possible, crawl underneath the deck to check and make sure you’re not wearing your best trousers while you do it. If the rot is 2.5 cm or more deep, repair is called for.
Depending on how good you are at DIY, you can replace rotting wood yourself, but it’s best to get in a professional carpenter if you’re not 100% confident in your carpentry skills since any disparity will be obvious. Make sure you use the very best rot-resistant wood to match your existing wood. If you’ve noticed nails coming up, it’s best to remove them and replace them with longer nails as soon as you can.
Because rain water rots wood, you’ll want to ensure that the wood isn’t in contact with water any longer than strictly necessary. Leaves that stay between boards tend to absorb water and keep the planks wet, so ensure that you frequently sweep your wooden decks and remove nearby bushes if necessary. A high pressure hose or saw can be used to remove dirt between the planks.