Although homeowners often invest a lot of time and money in a new wood deck or fence, many of them then do nothing to maintain that investment. Surprisingly, some homeowners believe that their deck or fence can last for years without regular cleaning and re-sealing. In cases of painted wood decks and fences, some people frustrated by the thought of cleaning, sanding and re-painting opt to paint over dirt and old paint for as long as they can and replace or repair whatever deteriorates as necessary.
A deck or fence can actually last for many years. The key is maintenance. Without regular upkeep, your deck or fence can actually pose a threat to you and your loved ones and your home. Why is maintenance so important?
Unclean Decks and Fences Attract Pests
A wide range of insects, such as carpenter bees, wood-boring beetles, caterpillar borers from certain moth species and termites, use wood for food or nesting. Mosquitoes, spiders, ticks, snakes, mice, rats and other animals are attracted to rotting wood. Once pests start to rely on a rotting deck or nearby fence, the chances of them appearing in your home and attacking other wood-based home structures increases.
Rotting Materials Create a Deterioration Cycle
Wood deterioration also attracts fungi and microorganisms that feed off of rotting wood. The combination of pests, fungi and microorganisms breaking down the wood in different ways increases the the overall speed of deterioration. As the interlopers flourish and add to their numbers, the deterioration speeds up even more. This cycle can eventually reach a point when the wood is no longer stable enough for repairs.
Poor Maintenance Is a Safety Matter
Many of the pests attracted to rotting wood carry diseases or toxins that can cause serious reactions in people and pets. Spiders like the brown recluse and black widow can cause serious emergency situations for people with the venom from their bites, including tissue necrosis and anaphylaxis. Many species of mosquitoes and ticks transfer a variety of dangerous diseases to people with their bites. Mold spores can enter the body and create respiratory and immune system problems. Additionally, a rotting deck, for example, can create a fall hazard resulting in broken bones or serious brain trauma and even potentially lead to a personal injury lawsuit.
At least once a year, you should contact a professional deck and fence restorationcompany to inspect, clean and seal your deck. Once your deck is resealed to protect the surface and reverse fading, you only need to sweep or vacuum away debris weekly and soak up and scrub away spills immediately that might stain the surface like food oils and wine. The best part is that the amount of deep cleaning required to remove pests, fungi and microorganisms can actually decrease year-to-year when you maintain your deck. As a result, you save time and money and make your deck less attractive to anything other than you and the people in your life.