How To Care For Your Wood Deck
San Diego has one of the most beautiful and temperate climates in the world, but even here your wood deck can take a beating. A neglected or aging wood deck can be an eyesore for sure, but more critically, it can be a safety hazard… which is why it’s so important to have all your outdoor structures (especially weightbearing ones) checked at least once a year.
Unfortunately, deck collapses have caused thousands of reported injuries and several deaths in the U.S., many of which could have been prevented with proper care and maintenance. Keep in mind, it’s not just weather that can lead to unsafe degradation: termite damage, wood rot, and poor construction can all head to unsafe conditions. Whether you’ve just had a brand-new wood deck built or want to spruce up an existing one, here’s a few ways to make sure your wood deck lasts for the long haul.
Many people love the look and feel of natural wood decks… and we agree — there’s something unbeatable about natural wood grain — but, the hard truth is that wood surfaces are more susceptible to damage and require more maintenance and regular TLC than synthetic materials. Each year you’ll want to repair any cracks and make sure to seal the exterior surface of your deck (including railings, stairs, and any wood connectors). Truly good deck sealants, such as a polyurethane topcoat, will completely coat the wood fibers, so the deck surface can resist moisture.
Stains vs. Sealants
Many homeowners confuse staining with sealant… the two are not the same. While a stain can provide some protection, in general, wood stain provides a specific aesthetic appeal which changes the hue of the wood. A sealant is usually clear and helps create a protective barrier. You may also consider using rubberized paint which can both repel water and minimize slippage.
Before you apply stains or sealants make sure to finish any outstanding repairs and to properly sand the surface.
Check for Rot & Insect Damage
Rot is caused by a combination of fungus and moisture, and after a period of time the fungus will infect and break down wood which can cause extensive damage. This often happens as a result of damp weather, seasonal storms, leaks, and in homes near water or in wet climates. Despite the names, both types of rot are caused by moisture combined by fungus which is already present in the wood. Dry rot is caused by at least 20% moisture while wet rot needs about 50% moisture.
Signs of dry rot include:
- Damaged wood
- Musty or damp-smelling wood
- Deeply cracked or crumbling timber
- Orange–brown spore dust or mushroom-like growths
You should also be aware of insect damage. If you see any of the following, you may have a termite problem:
- Discolored drywall
- Buckling or crumbling wood
- Hollow sounding wood
- Discarded wings, or pellets which look like small piles of wood shavings
- Pinpoint holes or maze-like patterns
Schedule Annual Assessments
Whether your property is a new build or an older site, the Best Rate repair estimators know exactly what to look for. We’ve worked on historical buildings, modern apartments, multi-family homes, mid-century properties, offices, suburban houses and more. Our team will assess your property and look for tell-tale signs of rot, termite damage or other issues.
Here’s a few examples of things we’ll look for:
- Wood fascia that is warped, split, or damaged
- Small, pinpoint holes
- Maze-like patterns
- Crumbling, damaged wood
- Structures pulling away from support points
If our team finds any issues we’ll draw up a repair proposal with all available repair and redesign options. Sometimes we can isolate and repair the damaged section of wood, which saves on the cost of additional material. If the damage is too extensive we may recommend a rebuild. In that case, we’ll work closely with you to develop a repair plan, using creative solutions to address your property’s specific wood damage repair needs.
About Our Team
We’ve been serving San Diego since 2002 and have over 1,000 happy customers. At Best Rate Repair we pride ourselves on getting the job done right and on time. Our team of contractors and estimators are Deck Evaluation Certified by the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA). We’re proud to say that more than half of our business comes from client referrals. Get started on your composite decking project by calling our team today.