It doesn’t matter if you’re building the deck yourself or hiring a professional to get it done, there are rules and regulations you need to follow. It’s not just for the build, but safety, especially if your deck is on the second or third level. Nothing is more disheartening than seeing rotting or damaged areas on the beautiful surface, or worse, you feel it shifting as you walk around. The durability of a deck starts at the very beginning. Here are just a few tips on how to make your deck last for years to come.
Avoid natural materials.
Natural materials like wood will break down way too fast with constant use of the deck. Human-made materials such as composite are designed to be more durable, hold up to the continuous use, and the weather, as well. With the right maintenance, your deck can last a lifetime.
- Dig Deep: The posts are the most crucial part of the deck. It’s the foundation of the whole structure. They need to be at least 6 inches below whatever the frost depth line is for your area. Ideally, the post should be 24 inches deep for maximum strength. Even 12 inches is a good depth. It depends on what is underneath the ground if you can get to that depth and how high your deck will be.
- Cover the Joints: The deck is going to get wet no matter what. A little bit of water is fine; it’s standing water that’s the issue. Add a drip edge out of a thin sheet of metal to each edge of the deck. This keeps the water from getting stuck or damaging the wood. Choose a color that matches or is very similar because it will be slightly visible between the board gaps.
- The Gaps Are Necessary: The slight gaps between the boards of the deck are very important to keep any water flowing and avoid debris build-up. For reference, the gaps should be as wide as the head of a deck screw.
- Don’t Go Too Deep With The Screws: Make sure the head of the screw is flush with the wood. Drilling them, so there’s a duvet, will not strengthen the deck. All it will do is give a tiny area for water to sit and soak into the wood.
- Fasten Underneath: This method of mounting the boards from the bottom of the deck gives a clean look to the deck and helps reduce water build up in the heads of the screws. Metal brackets will be needed to support the boards, and it will take a little more effort, but the look is beautiful. Just be careful not to drive the screws in too hard because it will strip the wood.
Does your deck need some repairs before the next gathering? Contact Graystone Painting today to discuss our handyman services!