Is Your Deck Rotting Away? What Could Be the Reasons Why?21 October 2020
Most homeowners choose to build their decks with wood for a variety of reasons, including the large selection of wood available and the strength and durability of wood over other materials. Though it’s true wood may be stronger and longer-lasting than other materials, it won’t last forever and it’s certainly not indestructible.
Over time, you may begin to discover that your wood deck has begun to rot. When this happens, it’s important to address the issue before it turns into something much more difficult to deal with. A rotted deck can be hazardous for you and your family and a huge risk during severe weather, and it ultimately can look unappealing, to say the least.
What Could Be the Reasons Why Wood Decks Rot?
You can do everything possible to keep your wood deck clean, such as making sure to clean between the boards, but sometimes deterioration and rot can still occur. Pressure-treated wood decks usually prevent rot for longer, and certain types of wood are less prone to rot and have a longer lifespan, but wood rot can be a slow process and you may not notice until it’s too late. There are several factors that can contribute to the rot of your wood deck, but these are the most common:
Termites – These tiny creatures can have a big impact on wood. There isn’t a 100% proven method for making wood termite-proof yet, so it can be difficult to prevent an infestation of these insects from devouring your deck.
Weather – During low temperatures, what is known as the freeze-thaw cycle can occur. The wood in the deck expands in the cold and returns to its original size when it gets warm again. This vicious cycle can eventually cause cracks in the wood coating and weaken its basic structure over time. Melted snow and ice can enter these cracks and begin to cause rot.
Standing Water – Having a slightly uneven deck surface can cause water to pool in one spot. If this water stays in that location too long, there is a chance rot can occur. This can also happen in any areas where the wood may dip down, creating a small valley for the water to collect.
Untreated Wood – If your deck’s wood is untreated, this leaves it much more vulnerable to the effects of weather. Precipitation like rain and snow will leave your deck wet for longer, and the melting snow creates excessive moisture. This extended wetness combined with the sun’s radiation will slowly cause damage and rot to your deck.
Debris Between Boards – When you don’t clean between your deck’s boards as often as you should, leaves and other debris can become trapped. This debris begins to rot over time and organisms like fungi and bacteria begin to grow, eventually eating away the wood.
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