Your deck is an essential part of your home and should last as long as your house does. The best way to do this is to build to last. Sometimes, as a homeowner, it is impossible to build a deck from scratch since a deck may already be a part of the house when you purchase it. However, you can still take precautions and certain steps to ensure your deck foundation lasts. Below, we will dive into some tips and tricks to stabilise your deck foundation.
The best way for your deck foundation to have longevity is to build a long-lasting foundation from the start. You can opt to DIY your deck or bring in professionals to do the job. Either way, after the planning and preparing stages, there are some extra precautions you can add to your deck’s foundation during the build to ensure durability over the years:
- Create a solid foundation: Avoid going the fast route of flattening the surrounding area or only putting paving stones for your deck to stand on. Instead, pour concrete down using concrete piers or pouring a concrete surface. Overall, concrete aids in setting the stage for a durable deck foundation
- Use rust-resistant screws and nails: Common screws and nails used to seal the deck boards together tend to rust and depreciate over time, damaging the underlying structure. Opt for stainless steel materials, which are rust-resistant and less likely to rot underneath.
- Build-inwater run-off spaces: If installing a water drainage system or other water prevention systems isn’t in the budget, then make sure your deck has some slant for water to run off naturally.
There are plenty of other options to build in during your deck’s foundation, so check out all your options to ensure you are building the most optimal deck foundation.
Select Strong Timber
For new homeowners, there is an excellent opportunity to select a solid timber for your deck’s foundation. The most common type of timber is hardwood, like Jarrah, Spotted Gum, and Merbau, as they are highly resistant and durable. However, other timber varieties naturally resist rot. Most of these are tropical hardwoods that withstand tropical rainstorms. Opt for woods such as Ipe, Old-Growth Teak, or a domestic variety like Pacific Yew, Black Locust, Red Mulberry and Osage Orange.
Apply Butyl Tape
As mentioned above, there are plenty of opportunities to install additional materials into your deck build, increasing the foundation’s longevity. One key piece is to apply butyl tape to the deck’s joists and bearers.
Butyl Tape is a synthetic rubber adhesive used and applied to enhance other rubber adhesives. The bonus part about butyl tape is that it is not as sensitive to varying temperatures, so it retains its adhesive longer than other tapes on the market.
This tape is beneficial because it is applied to the joists, bearers, and rim joists to prevent water penetration that leads to timber rot and decay. Butyl tape is a rubber adhesive that keeps screws and metal fasteners in place longer. Since water naturally bounces off the rubber, butyl tape prevents corrosion of these metal pieces over time.
Sealing and Staining
The most important part of keeping your deck foundation in good condition over the years is to take proper care of it. One of the most critical parts is sealing and staining, especially when it comes to timber decks. The continual onslaught of rain and other weather elements will seep deep down into the timber and cause rot, mould and decay to grow from within. That is why sealing and staining the timber is integral to keeping your deck foundation alive and healthy.
First, you will want to wash down your deck and clear it of any furniture to ensure you can stain the entire deck. Check out our guide here on how to properly clean your deck before sealing it.
Let’s start with the basics: the differences between sealing and staining. Sealing your timber deck will help prevent water damage, which can rot the deck boards or build mildew from within. There are a few different types of sealant specific to both timber and composite decks, but for the most part, this will be your first step. Afterwards, opt to stain your deck with a clear or tinted coat. For decks that deal with extreme heat, this will be more necessary yearly than sealing as the deck’s natural colour will fade from enduring long hours under the sun. Stains can be either clear to rejuvenate the original colour or tinted with a different colour to give the feel of a brand-new deck. Either way, the sealing and staining of your deck will play a vital role in achieving a long-lasting foundation.
Conduct Yearly Maintenance
Conducting yearly maintenance is an essential part of making your deck last long and strong. This can include a range of maintenance tasks: staining, sealing, repairing or replacing timber boards, waterproofing the deck, etc. All of these work towards one goal: to extend the longevity of your deck and deck foundation. Depending on your yearly climate will depend on the type of maintenance you will need to do seasonally. Decks that experience more temperamental weather should opt to waterproof the timber boards regularly. On the flip side, decks that withstand extreme heat can easily see colours fade and would need regular staining or repainting. Either way, it’s good to conduct regular yearly maintenance to run through a mental (or physical) checklist that aids in having a long-lasting deck.
Just as with your home’s foundation, you will want to ensure your deck’s foundation is as strong and long-lasting. By following good, yearly deck maintenance and applying extra precautions to your deck’s foundation during the initial build or after, you will have a deck that will last throughout the decades.
Images: Supplied / iStock
This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Trex RainEscape