Have you recently built or remodeled your deck? When you look at the beautiful, natural wood from which it’s made, you probably can’t see why it needs painting or staining. You can’t imagine it needs a protective layer to keep water damage at bay. But even if your deck or balcony seems indestructible, deck waterproofing is a smart step to take if you want your newly-minted porch to withstand many years of varied weather elements. Read on to find out how waterproofing benefits your deck.
Prevent Water Stains
It may take more than a year to notice any water damage on your deck. But even if it’s a covered structure, your wooden porch will incur signs of wear, and it’ll show if the wood isn’t coated with a protective layer.
The first sign of damage might be small water stains. Not only do these stains look unsightly, but they are the beginning stages of softening wood.
Think about it this way: If you put a piece of paper into your kitchen sink and turn the faucet on, that paper dissolves in a matter of seconds. All that’s left in the sink is a soggy, mushy mess. Paper is just a very thin piece of wood. Over time, water has the same effect on sturdy decks made of thick lumber.
Even if your deck doesn’t stain easily (perhaps due to a dryer climate), if it lacks a protective waterproofing coat, the wood is bound to splinter. Splintering can happen after just one rainstorm.
Imagine trying to enjoy your deck barefoot, or putting down a blanket on it’s floor for a picnic. A splintered deck is a nightmare-come-true in both scenarios. Even just trailing the porch railing or resting your arms on it while looking out over the deck can be unpleasant with splintered wood.
Prevent Wood Rot
The worst possible water damage that your deck can incur is wood rot. When the wooden beams and boards disintegrate when in contact with various weather elements, the wood can sink in on itself.
Deck waterproofing often consists of a coating that seals the bare wood, protecting it from the elements. This keeps the wood hard, sturdy, and whole.
When Should You Waterproof Your Deck?
Ideally, waterproofing your deck should be a priority within the first year. Before your deck lasts through its first fall and winter, you should hire a professional to coat it with a sealant or a stain.
The process looks a lot like the painting of a deck. However, while painting only adds color, a waterproof sealant actually adds a hard surface to the wood which keeps it intact.
Ideally, if the deck is sealed within its first year, this process doesn’t have to be repeated for several years. You may need to waterproof your deck approximately every four years.
However, if your deck wasn’t sealed within its first year of existence, or you’ve just purchased a house with a deck that hasn’t been sealed for years, expect to have to go through the waterproofing process more frequently. A deck that’s been exposed to the elements for an extended period of time is more vulnerable, thus it requires more frequent maintenance.