Care Tips for Outdoor Decks, Fences, Gates & Arbors
Here are the top 7 things homeowners can do to minimize the toll water, sunlight and termites take on your outdoor structures.
1 - Minimize unnecessary hosing down or wetting of wood surfaces.
Whether standing or in the form of rain, sprinklers or hosing down - water leeches the protective oils, acids and chemicals out of wood. Below you can see how standing water is being resisted by the new application of deck oil while the next picture after that illustrates how sprinkler water discolors fence boards over time. This encourages the growth of mildew, fungi and rot as well as makes it easy for termites to invade.
There are two common types of rot ...
2 - Elevate or move containers that touch wood surfaces every few months.
Planters require watering and hold in moisture, causing trouble spots for decay underneath them. So, to keep moisture from accumulating underneath the planter and discoloring the wood, move or raise them off the surface.
3 - Keep vines and draping plants trained off of wood surfaces.
To allow the wood to dry, keep vines trimmed and away from wood structures.
4 - Keep wood piles away from your garden architecture
Since scrap lumber attracts termites, keep wood piles away from the wood you do not want termites to eat.
5 - Keep leaves and debris from piling up around the base of your project.
Old leaves, grass clippings and dirt piled up at the base of of your project can keep the posts and trim from drying after it rains or the sprinklers are used.
6- Keep hinges and latches adjusted as well as screws tightened.
Regular maintenance will keep the hardware working properly and avoid loosing screws if they start to back out.
7 - Reapply a protective coating (stain, preservative, linseed oil) to rejuvenate your wood every year.
Oil is like moisturizing lotion for your hands -- so once a year apply a preservative to help protect your wood from weathering, aging and discoloring.
Doing annual (or as needed) applications of an oil based product will help you avoid two common problems ...
I hope these tips help you keep your wood deck, fence, gate, arbor or screen door in good condition.
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Last Updated: Jul 26 2012