What is the life expectancy of a wood deck?

Thank goodness winter 2021 is almost over and that means spring will upon us with summer soon to follow. So, do you have your deck maintenance plans ready yet? Yeah, here in Pennsylvania, it is probably still covered in snow, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your plans in place. Deck board maintenance is important to getting the longest lifespan you can from your deck, so get that paper and pen out and start making a list what you’ll need in another month or less.

How to maintain a deck will depend on the type of material used to build the deck. Even deck low maintenance material will still need some deck maintenance. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to approach it from the standpoint of wood deck maintenance.

Deck Construction

What is the life expectancy of a wood deck?

The wood deck is an affordable way for homeowners to extend their home’s interior to their backyard for enjoyment and entertainment. Typically, they are made from composite or fabricated wood, but proper wood deck maintenance is still required to get the longest lifespan possible.

The life expectancy of a wood deck can average between 20 years to 25 years. Factors that play into the longevity is the climate and environment. A moist climate, such as near the ocean or sea will have a shorter lifespan, average is 10 years, than a wood deck in the desert. The quality of materials used in constructing a wood deck will play a part in the longevity, as well the homeowner’s deck maintenance and upkeep.

Should you pressure wash a deck?

Yes, pressure-washing as part of your deck maintenance will clean your deck effectively using only plain water. Pressure washing your deck can also ruin it if it isn’t done right. Too hard and too much pressure can etch into the wood, creating splinters. Here, we offer a few basic tips to pressure wash as part of your deck maintenance routine:

  • Pressure Setting and Tip Choice: Select the appropriate setting and tip for your deck maintenance pressure washing, staring with the lowest pressure setting. For a soft wood, the setting should be between 500 to 600 psi (pounds per square inch) and for a hard wood, you can use up to1,200 psi. Fan the sprayer at 40 to 60 degree spread, rotating the tip.
  • Power Washing: Start on an inconspicuous area and incrementally increase the pressure as needed without etching the wood. Engage the trigger, holding the wand two feet away from the surface. Slowly lower the want to one foot away and keep a sweeping motion.
  • Optional: Chemical Brightener: If deck maintenance has lacked and the wood has darkened or has mildew stains, using a chemical solution made for brightening the wood will help. There are several products on the market that have sodium hydroxide. Follow the instructions on the packaging and your wood deck will look almost new again!

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