Why Are My Deck Boards Rotting So Quickly?

One of the most common questions we get is “why are my deck boards rotting so quickly?” There are many reasons wooden decks suffer from wood rot, so it is important to identify the correct reason before taking action to rectify it. Otherwise, a simple fix can turn into a full deck repair or replacement. Here are some things to consider:

Are insects or animals causing the wood rot? If the answer is “yes” then you must contact an exterminator/specialist to take care of the infestation before deck repair can begin.

Is the damage water-related? Can you see water pooling on the wood? Does it feel damp? Are there cracks in the wood? If so, water buildup inside the wood could be causing the wood to rot.

Is the damage to just the surface boards or are the frames damaged as well? If only the surface is damaged and it is caught early, some simple deck maintenance could be sufficient. This could include a power wash and seal. If the frames are damaged, however, more extensive repairs may be required.

If your deck boards are rotting, there could be a few reasons why. The first is what is called Galvanic Rot. Galvanic rot occurs when galvanized nails or screws are driven into pressure treated lumber. The chemicals in the wood react with the nails causing oxidation.  This leads to corrosion within the boards. The only solution to fix galvanic rot is to remove and replace the affected boards from the deck, thus preventing the spread of the rot.

Another reason your deck boards are rotting is water damage. When decks are first built many contractors will not pay attention to the crown of the wood. After the wood has been set over time, it will either bow and the center of the wood will raise or it will cup and the wood will sag. If all the boards are not set the same way it can cause the boards to become uneven which is not only unsightly but can be dangerous. Cupped boards tend to get cracks in them, which makes it easier for water to penetrate the wood and cause rot to form from the inside.

If you have a good carpenter build your deck, they will be able to examine the grain and build the deck in a manner that minimizes the pooling and cracking of the wood so that your deck will last longer.

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