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Preventing Hardwood Deck Water Damage
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Many homes today have beautiful hardwood decks constructed off the back of the property, providing an excellent location for entertaining, grilling out, or just spending a relaxing evening with a drink and a book enjoying the outdoors. Decks that are properly installed and constructed of quality materials may last for many years, while those with less than impressive build quality may suffer serious damage at the hands of the elements.
Causes of Deck Water Damage
Rain, of course, is the worst culprit when it comes to damage and your deck, since decks are perpetually exposed to the elements and prolonged exposure to rain canít help but have an effect. Unless the deck is properly sealed, then water will be able to get into the wood itself, causing staining, swelling, and softening of the structure and weakening it considerably.
Any time there is water, there will almost always be mold, and mold buildup on wooden decks is a common problem for many homeowners. It can usually be avoided by keeping the deck clean of dirt and other debris by sweeping often and cleaning the deck regularly. Power washers, though, should be avoided, since they can seriously damage the wood.
If there isn't rain, then the sun may also be a problem, as it tends to fade and dry out wood, making it susceptible to dry rot and other similar problems.
Decks are also exposed to extremes of heat and cold, both of which may put undue stress on the wood construction. Boards may shift, expand, or contract, so much so that nails may actually begin coming out of their holes. If the warping is bad enough, it may result in serious repair work needed on your deck boards. Use longer nails or screws in the process that will be more difficult to dislodge. Any fasteners used should be resistant to corrosion and other factors.
How to Protect Your Deck
Decks should be resealed every couple of years and a sure way to determine if it is time to do so is to watch the water on your deck. If it beads up, you're still protected, if not, then it's time for new sealant. Decks can be also be protected from too much sunlight through the application of a UV protecting finish that disrupts the chemical reactions caused by the sunlight's ultraviolet rays.
Of course, the deck may be protected from water by making sure that gutters are cleaned out and functioning properly, draining water away from the deck instead of onto it or across it. Dumping water on the deck is never a good thing. Gutter guards placed over the deck can help prevent gutters from clogging up at the wrong place and sending water down the walls and onto the decking.
Learn More about Preventing Wood Deck Water Damage in this Video:
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