Deck Care: 5 Ways to Extend the Life of Your Deck (Tips and Tricks)

Last Updated on March 13, 2022 by Kimberly Crawford

If you’re considering building a backyard deck or have recently done so, it’s essential to take the steps now to ensure it lasts as long as possible. You can expect decks to last anywhere from 15 to 25 years on average. However, a range of factors can accelerate this process, so it’s best to be proactive and get out in front of them.

Seal the joists

deck tape

Deck framing is typically made with pressure-treated lumber that has been injected with chemicals to prolong its lifespan. However, water can find its way into the frame through the screw holes in the decking boards, causing the frame wood to rot over time. 

To avoid long-term water damage, seal the tops of the joists with butyl or flashing tape. Used for RV, boat, and more minor home repairs, butyl tape is a highly resistant rubber-based adhesive that creates a seal that water cannot breach.

The tape is straightforward to apply and will instantly adhere to most surfaces, providing a quick and easy solution that will save you lots of money down the road. It’s also a great tool to have around the house for small leaks and similar projects.

Use quality materials

Kushkabar 006 SR grill

The most significant preventative measures you can take to extend the life of your deck are during construction. For decking materials, it’s best to stick with either high-quality lumber or composite materials. Composite decking is typically more expensive than wood, but it doesn’t require staining or sealing down the road and is more weather resistant. 

Wooden decking is the more affordable and traditional option, and with the proper care, you can protect it against rot and damage. There are also types of wood that are naturally more resistant to rot and insect damage, such as redwood and cedar. For others, make sure you’re choosing pressure-treated lumber.

Related: 35+ Best Trex Composite Decking Ideas and Designs (With Pictures)

Inspect annually

trex 01

By keeping a close eye on your deck each year, you can prevent devastating damage before it occurs. Because the deck is outside and exposed to the elements, it needs to be tougher, and its materials protected. Therefore, it’s especially important to know what to look for early on so you can avoid more significant damage down the road. Check for these signs each year:

  • Signs of stress, such as cracks or large splinters
  • Soft spots – press into the wood with a tool to see if it has any give
  • Signs of decay at the end of the boards
  • Signs of insect damage
  • Rusted screws or fasteners
  • Whether the top of the joist looks wider than the rest of the joist, which may indicate that water has penetrated it

If you notice some rot, you will have to replace the affected wood. Get a professional opinion on whether you can properly fix the damage with a few new boards and beams or whether you need a replacement.

Related: Fiberon Vs Trex Decking: Similarities and Differences (Photos)

Clean the deck

clean the deck

Sweeping the deck boards often to prevent debris from collecting around the edges and grime from gathering between the boards is crucial. Left unswept, these piles can trap moisture that can lead to rot. 

It would be best to wash the deck annually or as needed. Take away all furniture or anything else you have on the surface of the deck. 

Related: 42+ Different Types of Decks: Which One is Best for You?

Stain or Seal

paint the deck

Once your deck is clean and dry, now is the best time to seal the decking boards (if you have a wooden deck). The sealant will help prevent water from penetrating the wood’s surface and protect it from UV exposure. In addition, through a regular application, the sealant can help preserve the wood’s natural look for years to come.

You also can stain the wood and give it an entirely new shade. Penetrating oil stains seep into the wood, providing the best layer of protection. In addition, they’re semi-transparent, meaning they’ll darken the deck’s color while still allowing the wood grain to shine through and will also last longer than sealants or other types of stains.

An opaque or solid stain will work best for weathered wood decks by covering up imperfections and giving it a semi-smooth finish feel. However, they will require additional coats each year and show weathering fairly easily. 

To ensure the process works as intended:

● Choose a sunny day, above 50°F

● Sand down any rough surfaces if needed and remove the dust

● Stir the sealer, don’t shake

● Apply patiently

● Apply in thin layers. You will most likely require multiple coats to cover all the wood fibers

● Let the sealant completely dry

What is the average lifespan of a deck?

There is no one definitive answer to this question as the lifespan of a deck can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the material it is made out of, how well it is maintained, and the climate it is located in. However, according to This Old House magazine, decks usually have a lifespan of between 10 and 15 years.

If you want to ensure that your deck lasts as long as possible, there are a few things you can do. First, make sure to seal the wood every two or three years with a quality sealant or stain. Second, inspect the deck regularly for damage and repair any cracks or broken boards immediately. And finally, keep an eye on the weather and avoid leaving the deck exposed to harsh sunlight, rain, or snow for long periods of time.

When should deck boards be replaced?

If your deck boards are showing signs of wear and tear, it may be time to replace them. Look for warped, cracked or splintered boards, as well as boards that are cupped or bowed. These can all be signs that the boards are no longer structurally sound and need to be replaced. Also, check the ends of the boards for rot. If you see any signs of rot, it’s definitely time to replace the boards.

If your deck is in good condition but you just want a new look, you can replace the old boards with new ones without having to replace the entire deck. However, if your deck is in bad condition, it’s best to replace the entire deck. This will ensure that the deck is safe and structurally sound.

How do you extend pressure treated wood?

There are a few different ways that you can extend the life of your pressure treated wood. First, you can seal it with a waterproof sealant. This will help to protect it from the elements and keep it looking new for longer. You can also paint it or stain it to give it extra protection. Finally, you can cover it with a UV-resistant coating to help keep the sun from damaging it. By using one or more of these methods, you can extend the life of your pressure treated wood by several years.

What is the longest lasting deck treatment?

There are many different types of deck treatments available on the market, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Some treatments are designed to protect the wood from weathering, while others are meant to extend the life of the deck by preventing mold and mildew growth. Ultimately, the longest lasting treatment will depend on the specific needs of your deck.

If you are looking for a treatment that will protect your deck from the elements, cedar oil or Thompson’s Water Seal are two good options. Both of these treatments form a water-resistant barrier on the surface of the wood, which helps to keep moisture and pests out. Cedar oil also has natural insecticidal properties, which can help to keep your deck free of pests.

If you are more concerned with preventing mold and mildew growth on your deck, a treatment like Defy Extreme Wood Stain would be a better option. This stain contains zinc oxide, which has been shown to inhibit the growth of mold and mildew. It also contains a UV blocker, which helps to protect the wood from sun damage.

No matter what type of treatment you choose, be sure to apply it regularly and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. By taking care of your deck, you can enjoy it for many years to come!

Which stain is better Olympic or Behr?

There are many factors to consider when choosing a stain for your project. Olympic and Behr are both quality brands, but they each have their own unique benefits. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

Olympic stains are typically available in more colors than Behr stains, so you have more options to choose from. Olympic also offers a lifetime warranty on their products, which is a great bonus. However, Olympic stains are more expensive than Behr stains.

Behr stains are available in many different sheens, whereas Olympic stains usually only come in matte or semi-gloss. This can be important if you want a specific look for your project. Behr stains are also less expensive than Olympic stains, so they may be a better option if you’re working with a tight budget.

So, which stain is better? It really depends on your specific needs and preferences. If you need a lot of color options, go with Olympic. If you’re looking for a great value, Behr is the way to go. No matter which brand you choose, you can be sure that you’re getting a quality product.

Does staining a deck make it last longer?

The answer to this question is a bit complicated. On the one hand, staining a deck will protect it from the elements and may make it last longer. However, if the deck is not maintained properly, even if it is stained, it may not last as long as it would if it were not stained. In order to ensure that your deck lasts as long as possible, it is important to regularly clean and stain it.