What Is the Best Way to Protect a Wood Deck?

A wood deck a major outdoor investment that adds value, aesthetic appeal and increased outdoor living space to the house. Although a variety of woods are used in deck construction, including cedar, redwood, cypress and pressure-treated pine, taking universally preventive measures will maintain the deck at or near its original condition for many years. Proper construction and consistent care are the keys to making a deck last.

Investing in Quality Wood

Protect a wood deck.

Reserve the construction of a deck until a later date if the expense of high-quality wood is too much to pay. Check with the lumber supplier to determine which deck wood types are guaranteed to last the longest.

Though some wood types are naturally durable, such as cedar and redwood, other woods can be chemically treated to last a substantially long time. The first best approach to protecting a deck is in the wood selection.

The Right Pitch

Proper deck construction adds to the life of a deck. The pitch, though it may appear level, is very important. In fact, it should be near level, but rainwater must flow away from the house and off of the deck instead of standing and forming deteriorating puddles on the surface of the deck's wood. The proper pitch, coupled with the proper spacing between each deck wood strip allows for easy drainage and aeration of the deck wood.

Sun Exposure

The location of the deck is just as important as its pitch and drainage. Too little sun makes the deck surface prone to mold and mildew when it becomes wet, and too much sun exposure can wear on the deck's surface. Position the deck on a side that receives some hours of shade in a day, possibly on the east or west side of the house. Under the partial shade of a tree or a covering over the deck for a part of the day lessens the stress on the wood of the deck.

Protect the Wood Deck

Apply protective coatings over the wood deck to preserve the surface of the wood and to prevent water from seeping into the wood. These include wood deck sealers specially formulated for different types of wood, wax and stain. The frequency of these applications, whether annually or biannually, are indicated on the product container, and this ensures that your wood deck is protected for a long time.


Wood deck protection is not complete without regular maintenance. The best approach to cleaning dirt, debris, mold and mildew from a deck is periodic sweeping and washings. Use a blower or a broom to remove standing debris such as leaves and dirt from the surface of the deck. Wash the deck with water and oxygen bleach to break down mold and mildew growing on the surface of the deck.

About the Author

Naima Manal's articles on health, diet, nutrition, alternative medicine, education, parenting, crafts, travel, home and garden and home improvement have appeared on various websites. Manal received her Bachelor of Science in biology/pre-medical studies from Molloy College in 1994 and has been a freelance writer, teacher and homeschooling mom since 1993.

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