A timber deck can be a great addition to any home's exterior, and last for many years before it needs to be replaced. However, the way you treat your timber deck will affect its overall longevity and how well it holds up over time, and if a board will need replacing sooner rather than later. Note a few quick tips for protecting your timber deck so it always looks good and lasts as long as possible.
1. Examine for rot and early signs of damage
Wood rot is one of the major factors for a deck board needing to be replaced, which is why you want to find places of rot and address them quickly, before the rot is able to spread. You also want to examine for small chips and cracks and fix these before they can get any bigger.
Don't overlook the fact that rot often occurs where it's hard to see the boards, such as the underside, at the board that is attached to the house, behind the stair treads, and so on. Since rot more often occurs where it's dark, this will mean areas of the decking that are not exposed to sunlight, so areas you need to crawl around to see. This can also be where termites might make their way into the boards, causing damage. Examine all these places and then remove small areas of rot with a mixture of laundry detergent and water, and fill in those small chips and cracks with wood filler.
2. Keep away moisture-holding debris
Moisture-holding debris would be leaves, twigs, and other such items that hold moisture against the deck boards themselves. These things can gather around boards and, if not cleared away, allow those boards to absorb that moisture. This can cause rot or cause the boards to get soft and more likely to break. This debris can also settle in between the boards that make up the floor of the deck. Use a leaf blower if needed to remove debris from under the deck and a stiff-bristled broom to sweep out the area between the boards so they are less likely to get wet and damaged.
3. Mind the pressure of a washer
If you use a pressure washer to clean your timber deck, you need to be very mindful of the pressure itself. Using too much pressure can mean actually causing damage to the timber, as a pressure washer can chip or crack wood. Note the recommended pressure for your deck timber in particular and always err on the side of caution by using even less pressure, if you can do that and still get your deck cleaned. Keep the wand moving continuously so you don't etch the wood which can allow for moisture buildup under the surface.