How to Prevent Common Decking Issues

How to Prevent Common Decking Issues

It is neither economic, nor convenient to call a handyman or a carpenter every time you have an issue with your decking. Yet, our decking often ends up needing more repairs and fixes through the years than we could have ever expected while installing it! There are two ways to approach this problem:

  1. Prevention: Avoid as many of the future decking issues as possible, before they happen
  2. DIY work – learn how to fix some of the minor problems by yourself

We have a few tips for you today which should help with prevention in particular.

Prevention: Skip Wood in Favour of Composite

Composite decking boards are mostly still wood, but they have been perfectly augmented and reinforced with recycled plastic polymers to solve almost all common decking issues. For example:

  • Moisture retention, water damage and wood rot are never an issue with capped composite decking
  • Termites, carpenter ants, powder post beetles and other common pests that destroy wood cannot harm composite decks
  • Washing and cleaning does not damage the decking, neither do rain or snow
  • Wood and PVC decking boards are both known for warping when exposed to extreme temperatures, but composite does not warp
  • The paintjob doesn’t fade for years, if not decades
  • Repairing composite decking is seldom necessary, and even when that time comes, it’s as simple as lifting and replacing the entire damaged board and fitting a new one in its place.

How to Prevent Common Decking Issues

However, there is one common issue with artificial decking boards, which would be the slipperiness. Admittedly, composite is not as slippery as plastic (PVC), but compared to wood, the traction on composite decking is not great, which can present a risk factor when it rains, or right after the snow melts. Thankfully, Ecoscape acknowledges this fact, and they have successfully addressed it with their propriety anti-slip technology. Also, they are one of the few companies in the UK to have the FSC certification badge for only using sustainable timber. Check out their clarity decking range with twenty long years of warranty on each board.

Prevention: Know Your Decking Material

Be it wood, PVC, composite or anything else, your knowledge regarding the specific material, how it should be cleaned, and other essential maintenance information should be on point. For example, wood in general needs to be sealed and resealed every few years or sooner, but that varies depending on weather conditions and the type of wood being discussed. Nevertheless, excess water usage, as well as neglecting to clear out pooling water, is never a good idea. On the other hand, PVC may not be affected by water directly, but wet PVC decks will harbour moss, mould and fungal growths quite hospitably.

Then of course, there is the question of choosing an appropriate cleaner. Soapy water might be the safest choice to wash decks with in general, but you might need something a bit stronger than that at times to get rid of stains, accumulated debris, dirt, fluids, etc. Be very careful about the cleaner you select and do make sure that whatever it is you are using, it does not have anything in it which can react with, corrode, stain, burn or discolour your decking. Keep in mind that these are a few important examples, but they do not cover the whole topic. Get to know the decking material and its specific maintenance needs well if you wish to make your decking last without frequent needs for repairs/replacements.

Fix: Fill the Gaps in Your Decking with Epoxy

As mentioned previously, wood and PVC are both susceptible to warping, which is a natural result of contraction and expansion due to climatic changes. Among presenting various other problems, this is also the reason why we often see open holes and gaps in between boards on decks. Keep in mind that warping holes will only be observable in areas which already had a nail or screw dug into them previously. Natural flexing only enlarges the circular gaps that were already there to a degree where the screw/nail becomes invisible (drops in deeper), or simply pops out at some point due to becoming loose. Every one of those holes and gaps must be sealed immediately with epoxy to fix the present issue, as well as preventing further damage to those specific sections of the deck.

Fill the Gaps in Your Decking with Epoxy

Pests can also be the reason behind holes in wood decking of course, but warping holes can be distinguished from those created by ants and termites easily. Insects do not create gaps between boards, and if it is a pest’s burrow, sealing will not work. In fact, you may want to keep those holes open for the exterminator to easily eliminate the problem in its early stages. Wood pests can absolutely destroy your entire house if you don’t act fast, so act fast if you have harmful insects in the decking.

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