Decking maintenance, the long term cost of ownership.
At first, a timber deck is beautiful. It uses natural hardwood to build exterior living space. It’s relatively cost-effective, allowing you to build it without breaking the bank. But then comes the maintenance.
Not enough homeowners and experts talk about decking maintenance. But over the years, the process of making sure your outside space looks good and functions well is much more time and cost-intensive than the actual time it takes to put in your deck. When it comes to timber, installation is only the beginning.
If you are a homeowner, you already spend a significant amount of time making sure your home remains as nice as it was when you first bought it. Regular window cleanings, mowing the lawn, trimming shrubs, and other activities probably take quite a lot of time. Do you really want to add decking maintenance to it?
You might not know the answer yet. Allow us to help. Once you install a hardwood deck, here is what you can expect:
The Dangers and Needs of Rotting Wood
A timber deck can be absolutely beautiful – until it no longer is. One major problem with wood is that it doesn’t last very long. Before you know it, you might find yourself with a plank or two of rotten hardwood.
More expensive hardwood options can prolong this problem. But ultimately, all your timber options fall victim to it. And when they do, danger (or work) awaits.
Imagine not knowing when a plank is rotten, and stepping through it. The injuries can be serious, especially for decks that are higher up above ground. And yet, because of weather, debris, and other factors, it’s an unavoidable issue.
So what do you do? Replacement of the rotten timber is needed. You can replace individual boards, but that will cost you money and time. Of course, you’d probably rather spend either than take a trip to the hospital.
When Happens to Your Decking Nails?
Even if your hardwood is far from rotting, other injury concerns are just as pressing. Decking nails, which you need to make sure that each board remains firmly in place, tend to pop up. When they do, the entire structure becomes unsafe.
Suddenly, boards can begin to move or sway. If you don’t notice it in time, you could pay dearly. And we’re not even yet talking about the potential injuries you could incur.
Stepping on a popped nail, especially in the summer when you might not be wearing shoes, can be absolutely excruciating. Even mild injuries are painful in this sensitive part of your body, and serious injuries can last for a long time.
So you have to be vigilant. Always be on the lookout for popped nails, and fix those you find as soon as possible. Of course, even that process requires a centre punch, and can be both time-consuming and tedious.
Splinters as a Constant Concern (And Maintenance Need)
Wood splinters. We learn that as little kids, probably close to the first time we run our hands over rough wood against the grain. Splinters, of course, can be painful, and worse, lead to easily infected wounds.
So why do we insist on building decks that promote that kind of danger? And yet, at their core, that’s exactly what wooden decks are. You simply don’t know whether or not you’re walking with or against the grain, even though one is much more dangerous than the other. Worse, continuous use of your outdoor space roughens up the wood, increasing the likelihood of splinters.
As a result, you have to sand down your deck and individual boards, as well as the railing, on a regular basis. Each time, you will spend between 3 and 5 hours on the project, or pay professionals significant money to do it for you. All of that, just to make sure that your everyday enjoyment of your outdoor living space is unimpeded.
Regular Cleaning, Maintenance, and Decking Oil
So far, we’ve talked about potentially significant problems. And make no mistake: Popped nails, splinters, and rotten wood are nothing short of dangerous, thus requiring continuous maintenance. And yet, they’re far from the worst thing you have to worry about.
Imagine, for a second, a best-case scenario for your wooden deck. The wood doesn’t rot, nails stay in place, and splinters never develop. Still, you have to spend significant time and effort every single year just to keep the deck usable and enjoyable.
This article, for example, suggests a number of steps that every deck owner should take every single year just to make sure their area remains safe. These include:
- Washing the deck (Late Spring)
- Sealing the deck (Late Spring)
- Inspecting and repairing the deck (Mid Summer)
- Preventative measures around the deck (Early Fall)
Each of these steps alone will take at least a full day, and often more. Cost is another important consideration. Decking oil alone, for example, can cost up to $300 for a single tin depending on the brand and quality.
In short, regular decking maintenance if you choose timber for your material is nothing short of intensive. Being frank, another word might be annoying. It will cost you time, labour, and money every single year.
Are You Ready for the Alternative?
Timber might seem like a valid alternative at first. But given all of the items that come after the fact, is that really the case? In most cases, the answer is a clear No.
Fortunately, there are better ways to spend your free time. You don’t have to spend your home improvement budget on your deck every year, or forego spare time in good weather just to make sure your deck remains liveable. Rather than stressing, use one of these proven relaxation techniques to chill out and calm your mind.
And of course, you can go with a better decking material that doesn’t require this type of maintenance. Our capped composite decking, for instance, does not rot, needs minimal to zero maintenance, and will still last longer than the hardwood you found in the store. Not to mention our capped composite decking comes with a 50-year, Structural, Stain and Fade Guarantee!