If you are planning on building a new deck in your home, you should think about the potential service life of the new structure. In general, residential decks are constructed using wood. Therefore, they are vulnerable to accelerated damage and rotting because timber is vulnerable in outdoor environments. In simple terms, the lifespan of the decking can be compromised by exposure to water, mould growth and pests. On the other hand, you can promote longevity of your structure by choosing the right construction methods. Here are the best practices to ensure the protection of the decking from damaging elements.
Prevent Water Infiltration from the Joist Tops
Deck structures will experience accelerated deterioration if moisture can penetrate the core of the wood. Therefore, you should be careful to ensure that the joist tops are sealed against moisture. Typically, one of the primary causes of premature timber decay is the screw holes in the joists. These allow water to flow into the delicate inner parts of the wood. Even treated lumber is not safe because the chemicals rarely penetrate to the core. There are different commercial products which ensure optimal sealing of the joist, including liquid formulations and self-healing stickers.
Protect the Support Posts
Deck support posts are vulnerable to rotting after construction. This degradation can be attributed to the exposure of the supporting wood to adverse conditions. If the deck post is allowed to have direct contact with the soil, it will decay because of the moisture in the ground. Also, when timber is close to the earth, it will attract pests which cause deterioration. Installing the posts in concrete can also be detrimental because the material is porous. For the best results, use a metal post base to support and anchor the deck posts on your concrete footings. The metal is nonporous and durable. So, the wood will remain free from moisture damage.
Seal the Timber Ends
The ends of the timber used in deck construction are susceptible to moisture infiltration. Often, the wood will deteriorate because of exposure of the core, especially after cutting the lumber during construction. You should seal the ends using a speciality product such as acrylic water repellent. This type of sealant creates resilient 'caps' on the deck posts with high resistance to wicking, ensuring longevity.
Building a good deck can be a time-consuming and complicated process. So, you should consider hiring an experienced residential carpentry contractor to perform the construction for optimal project efficiency and long-lasting results.