Whether you are installing a new deck on your home, or just purchased a new home with an existing deck, the lifespan of your deck can last anywhere from 10 to 40 years. This vast distance in decking lifespan will depend on several factors including maintenance and upkeep, wood types, and environment where the deck was installed.
Regular maintenance and upkeep is extremely important for genuine wood decking. The better you are at keeping up with your maintenance, the longer your deck will last throughout the years.
Maintenance for wood decking can be somewhat involved and may seem like a lot of hassle for some homeowners, especially since it may be required every 8 to 12 months year after year. Forgetting to maintain your deck, or choosing to ignore regular maintenance, can lead to splintering wood, warping, and cracks.
To start with regular maintenance, inspect the surface of the wood planks along the walking surface and railings. Look for splinters, rough edges, or cracks in any of the wood. Replace any planks that have major cracks or other structural damage.
Pressure wash the decking at least once a year in order to remove dirt and debris, as well as mold or mildew that has started to grow on the surfaces. If your decking is in a moist area near a sprinkler system, or in an area where rain falls on a regular basis, you may have algae starting to build up on the surface as well which can be extremely slick and dangerous to walk on.
Sanding down rough edges or splintered planks, staining, and sealing the deck should be done once a year. This can be an elaborate project, but the results are worth it. It also helps increase the overall lifespan of your wood decking.
Reasons for a Shorter Lifespan
Moisture is normally the biggest issue with genuine wood decking. Since wood is an organic material, the fibers are susceptible to rain, snow, and other moisture buildup. Signs of moisture damage can include warping and swelling of the wood planks, splintering, rotting, mold and mildew growth, and more.
A few wood types may be more resistant to moisture damage than others, namely cedar, redwood, and ipe. However, all natural wood will need stained and sealed in order to remain in the best condition possible.
Wood Type Longevity
Most natural wood can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years if properly maintained, but some wood types have a longer lifespan than others. These are cedar and mahogany.
Cedar is an extremely popular material for decking and is resistant to rotting and moisture, though it can be somewhat demanding with maintenance and upkeep. It can have a lifespan of up to 40 years with proper maintenance.
Mahogany is a beautiful hardwood that some homeowners love for their decking option. It has a less demanding upkeep when compared to cedar, and can also last up to 40 years with proper maintenance and upkeep.