A proper deck is a big investment, so naturally you want to get the most out of it, and show it off for years to come.
The average Western Red Cedar or Pressure Treated Lumber deck will last 15-20 years, if well taken care of.
Proper care includes consistent re-staining every 1-5 years (depending on the type of product), but sometimes larger maintenance is needed, like replacing boards.
Your deck is constantly exposed to the harsh elements, from hail, deep frost, rain, wind and sun, which combined over the course of a year, can really wreak havoc on the boards and posts.
For that reason, it is important to inspect your deck annually for damage, looking for early signs of much-needed repair.
During your inspection, pay close attention to:
- Ledger Board
- Water Drainage
- Rotted Wood
- Soft Wood due to Moisture
1. The ledger board is a good indicator of the health of the deck and should be top of the list for the annual inspection.
The ledger board connects the deck to the house, creating a stable connection that supports the furniture, BBQ, and people. Look for loose, lifting or damage along the board. Pay close attention to potential bug / insect damage.
If the ledger board needs replacing, or if you’re not sure, come in and speak to our deck experts. This is an important piece for deck durability and safety, so it’s best to speak with the experts.
2. Proper water drainage is imperative as pooling of water will cause wood to decay over time.
Water damage can diminish the strength of boards, causing moss and rotting panels. Water pooling can also damage window sills and foundations if left unattended.
To avoid injury and structural damage, ensure that water and heavy snow have a clear drainage path and there is a gap around the bottom of the railing to allow for easy removal.
3. Rotting wood will lead to a weakened unsafe structure.
Over time, wood can retain moisture and after being exposed to harsh weather year-after-year, the boards, railing and posts can begin to rot, even after diligent care and maintenance.
If it’s a handful of boards, you can easily replace them with new panels. However, if you’re unsure of the structural safety and integrity of the deck (for example, if your railings wobble, or your deck seems a bit shaky), then it’s time to call in the professionals!
4. Soft wood due to moisture is not always visible at first glance.
Place a sharp object, for example, a screwdriver, against the wood and lightly tap a hammer against the sharp object. If the object is able to easily push into the wood it is a sign that moisture has been absorbed and the wood is beginning to soften and weaken. If this is the case, the boards will need to be replaced for safety.
For annual safety inspections, we can help answer any questions that you might have about inspecting your deck and what to look for. And, if you need it, have all the supplies necessary to make any repairs. At L.B.H. TIMBER MART® we want to help you keep your family and friends safe. Located just outside Edmonton, we are ready to answer all of your questions and tend to your building needs.