Deck Disasters: Avoid These 4 Common Mistakes for a Long-Lasting Deck

Brown Wooden Table and Chairs on Brown Wooden Deck

Building a deck extends your living space and creates a perfect spot for summer barbecues and relaxation. However, improper construction can lead to a nightmarish scenario of rot, warping, and safety hazards. Here are 4 common mistakes to avoid for a beautiful and long-lasting deck:

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  1. Spacing Blunder: During installation, ensure proper spacing between deck boards. Decks need room for expansion and contraction due to weather changes. Cramming boards together creates a breeding ground for moisture, leading to rot and warping. This can also cause a cupping effect, where the board edges curl upwards, creating an uneven surface. Maintain a consistent gap using spacers during installation and remember, a well-ventilated deck dries faster.
  2. Cleaning Catastrophe: Regular cleaning is vital for maintaining a healthy deck. Debris like leaves and twigs can build up in the gaps between boards, hindering drainage and promoting rot. Make it a habit to sweep your deck frequently, especially after heavy rains or storms. For tougher grime, a thorough deck cleaning with a suitable cleaning solution may be necessary.
  3. Ground Contact Calamity: Pressure-treated lumber is not invincible. When choosing lumber for your deck frame, be mindful of the labels. Select wood designated for “above ground only” to prevent rot. This becomes even more crucial for ground-level decks. Ensure proper grading around the deck so that soil slopes away from the structure, preventing moisture build-up. In some cases, a retaining wall might be necessary to achieve proper grading.
  4. Flashing Fiasco: Waterproofing is key to preventing rot in your deck’s substructure. A crucial component of a deck waterproofing system is flashing tape. This tape creates a watertight seal around screw and nail holes, preventing water from entering the deck joists and stringers (beams that support the deck boards). Without proper flashing, water seepage through these holes can cause the substructure to rot prematurely, compromising the entire deck’s integrity.

By avoiding these common mistakes and implementing a proper deck waterproofing system, you can ensure your outdoor oasis remains a source of enjoyment for years to come.

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