There are some decking contractors who might cringe out there knowing that I shared decking secrets. And early on, I generally kept to myself on the tricks of the trade. But I learned somewhere along the way to share my knowledge with others in the belief that “what comes around goes around”. Plus, to be honest, there are so many tips and ways of building decks that I doubt many would be interested in soaking them all up. Anyway, since the last post talked about maintenance, I thought I’d share something I learned along the way.
In Atlanta during the mid-spring to early-fall, temperatures are typically in the mid-nineties. When building decks in this hot temperature, pressure treated decking seems to “check” a lot more than if you had built the deck in cooler weather. (“Checking” is where small surface cracks develop due to expansion and contraction.) Contractors commonly purchase pressure treated wood with moisture content of 30% or more. When this wood is used during the hot season, the warm temperatures dry the wood out which causes the decking to contract all at once…and where checking occurs.
The trick that I’ve learned is to soak the deck down with water every evening before we leave. This replenishes the evaporated moisture. The follow up is to apply an oil base preservative about two weeks after completion. So we soak the deck down every evening during the project and for two weeks afterwards…then apply the oil base preservative. At around the two week mark, we skip a night of soaking to allow the deck to dry before applying the preservative. On that night, we’ll clean the deck with a deck brightener in anticipation of the preservative. The common mistake is to wait for 9-12 months before applying the preservative. That’s a fallacy in the deck building world as the wood is vulnerable (and damaged) for 9 months!
Want more decking tips? Call us and let’s talk about how we’re going to build yours!