For many South Carolina homeowners nothing compares to the rich beauty of natural wood. Keep in mind, that beauty comes with responsibility. Wooden outdoor spaces have to be properly maintained to keep them looking good. If maintenance is not your thing, choosing natural wood as the main ingredient for your outdoor living space may not be your best option. A composite or other low-maintenance material for your deck would reduce maintenance.
The maintenance required for your deck is determined by many factors. An important one is your structure’s exposure to the sun. If your deck is facing South or West you will have to clean, stain or seal your project more often to prevent sun damage. Decks facing North or East may not get enough sun and may experience moisture problems, requiring maintenance to keep them looking and functioning their best. Moisture will penetrate the wood on your unprotected deck causing it to expand and contract with weather changes. UV rays from direct sunlight will cause aging and deterioration of unprotected wood fibers present in the wood. Over time mold and mildew can accumulate on your deck too. Proper deck cleaning and sealing can prevent most of these problems.
In order to reduce the damage that can occur with wood, and to prevent degradation, Archadeck of Central SC recommends regular maintenance. Maintenance includes initial treatment followed by frequent cleaning along with staining and sealing as needed.
The initial sealing and staining is the most important step to keeping your deck looking good. Pressure-treated wood is infused with chemicals that preserve it and provide protection from rot and termites. These chemicals cause new wood to be wet, or what is commonly referred to as “green.” For the initial protective sealant to penetrate your new deck properly, a period of drying is necessary. For new decks, depending on the amount of sun exposure, this waiting period will vary. This also depends on how dry your decking boards are when installed and how much rain you have had recently. Before initial staining and sealing, splash a little water on the wood; if it beads versus penetrating, the wood is too wet. When water penetrates versus beading, the stain will penetrate as well.
After exposure to the elements a good test of how well your older deck is still protected is to hose down your deck and check to see if the water beads. If the water beads it is a sign that your sealer is doing the job. If the water doesn’t, it is usually time to schedule staining and sealing. Once a deck is cracking and warping it is often too late to restore the aesthetics. The sun and rain are your biggest enemies when it comes to wooden structures.
Along with the effects of Mother Nature, your deck can also become damaged from outside forces. Items that are often used along with outdoor living such as Citronella candles and oils can penetrate your wood surfaces and cause staining. Grease and oil spilled on the deck as a result of grilling can damage your deck, as can red wine. Hot charcoal and exposure to solvents such as gasoline will also damage your wood deck. Making sure your deck is sealed properly may give you time to clean up spills or mishaps in time to avoid damage. Regular, frequent cleaning is necessary to keep your deck looking good.
As a homeowner, outsourcing maintenance to make sure your wooden deck or outdoor space is adequately maintained is a viable option. Renew Crew is an associate business of Archadeck specializing in outdoor structure maintenance and restoration. Renew Crew uses a 3-step system providing a comprehensive cleaning and protection service that is environmentally friendly and won’t cause any damage to plants, animals or your outdoor surfaces. By combining low-pressure power washing and cleaners to give your deck a heavy-duty clean, and following up with a fresh coat of proprietary sealant, their process protects your deck from water damage and every-day wear and tear. Renew Crew uses a wood-penetrating sealant with a proprietary, UV-blocking polymer mix that penetrates and protects the wood. This delivers a highly effective seal against the elements that shields your deck from the sun’s harmful UV rays, which cause wood to turn gray over time. This treatment can sometimes avoid the expense of resurfacing or building a new deck.
Remember, when you make the decision to use wood as your deck or outdoor space medium, it is never a question of “if” it will be affected by the elements; it is a question of “how soon.” If you are willing to care for your deck, then it will remain beautiful and serve you well. If a wood deck is well maintained and doesn’t have excessive sun exposure it can last upwards of 20-25 years.
Your wooden outdoor living space is only as good as how well it’s maintained. Your space is a wonderful investment for your property, but it is an investment that needs long-term protection. Contact Archadeck of Central SC to learn more about maintaining your wooden outdoor structure today (803) 603 – 2160
Please visit our wooden deck photo gallery and our hardwood deck photo gallery located on our website to experience our large selection of deck design ideas.