Cedar wood has a lengthy history of being used in a wide variety of applications. Everything from shingles to closets, and even pet bedding has been made of cedar, and with good reason. It's as strong as oak hardwood, it resists decay, and it smells beautiful. Today, many decks are made out of cedar for these reasons, but cedar requires a little special care. If you've never cared for a deck before, you might know how to wreck it better than you know how to maintain it. Here are some ways homeowners have inadvertently ruined their decks.
Using Salt for Deicing
With winter fast approaching, you're probably thinking about the winter jackets you have stored, and checking the furnace air filters. You should also be thinking about how you're going to deal with snow and ice build up on your deck. Using rock salt will melt away the ice in a hurry, but it will also pull moisture out of the wood, which not only stresses the deck, but can create patches of black ice later on.
Using salt can also degrade the nails and screws that are holding your deck together. While these are easier to replace than the cedar itself, it could create a safety hazard. Instead, consider using calcium magnesium acetate.
Not Cleaning the Deck
Many people think that because their decks are outside, they don't necessarily have to keep them pristine. It's true that no matter what you do, the dust, dirt and detritus from the neighborhood will keep winding up on your deck, but if you neglect cleaning it, some of that detritus can rot, damaging the wood or leaving stains. Leaf litter is often the biggest culprit of this mess, so invest in a good broom, or, better yet, a leaf blower to keep your deck in good condition.
Additionally, using a deck cleaner and giving the surfaces a good scrub, or using a pressure washer will help keep debris from being ground in. This will also help prepare the wood for staining or sealing, should those steps be required. Which brings up the next topic...
Not Using Deck Sunscreen
Cedar is exceptionally water, insect and rot resistant, but like many hardwoods, it ages. Eventually, that brand new, gorgeously red-toned deck will start to lose its color. Just like those grey hairs you keep finding, you can tell yourself it looks dignified, or you can do something about it.
Prevention is the first step in keeping your deck's color vibrant for longer. Applying a sealant or finish with UV protection annually will help prevent this problem. As inexorably as those grey hairs spring up, though, the color will fade. If you don't like the look of a weathered cedar deck, add pigment to your yearly refinishing regimen by switching from a sealant or finish to a stain. This gives your deck back some of its youthful luster.
Not Fixing Squeaks
Most wooden surfaces eventually develop some character, often in the form of squeaks. Cedar, as durable and resilient as it is, expands and contracts more with changes in temperature than other woods. That means that nails and screws come loose more often. When you start hearing your deck squeak, it's time to check and make sure all parts are still secure, so you don't end up with faulty rails or stairs, which could result in an injury. If you find loose screws or nails, replace them with new ones.
Caring for your deck is a good investment of time, effort and money because a fabulous deck is appealing, useful, and improves the value of your home. Take the time to find out more here and make sure you're not doing it harm will pay off in the long run.