Gulf Synthetics has been in the Deck Coating business for almost 6 years now. We have seen a lot of decks over the years and thought we would highlight some of “no-no’s” of deck design and installation. When a deck is designed and installed properly you should expect to enjoy your outdoor space for years and even decades.
Problem # 1 Improperly spaced deck boards
Decks are like a living space and need to be treated as such. Decks need to be able to breath to allow moisture to drain and evaporate. When a deck has boards that are spaced too tight, water will not be able to drain away from the boards and you will see ponding in areas. This will cause the wood to become permanently saturated. Water is the single most damaging element to wood. Wood will begin to breakd down and eventually rot with excess moisture. Paints, stains, and coating systems are not designed to prevent wood from rotting because of a poor installation.
Problem # 2 Wrong Screws or Nails
There are many different nails and screws that are specifically manufactured for the installation of decks. We have seen decks with all kinds of concoctions for nails and screws and the issues that develop. It does not take very long for issues to appear when the wrong hardware is used. The most common issue is rusting nails and screws. They will begin to breakdown over time and you will see big rust stains around every nail and screw. Eventually they will get to a breaking point and fail causing the boards to pop up.
Problem # 3 Improper ground contact
Pressure treated wood should never be in direct contact with soil or concrete. There are a variety of hardware on the market to prevent wood from being in direct contact with soil or concrete and that is what they were designed for. Moisture in the soil or concrete can cause the wood to act like a sponge and saturate itself. This will speed up the process of wood to rot. Below are some pictures of a deck that is only 6 years old. Look what the effect of putting the wood joists directly onto an old concrete patio. The wood becomes a sponge and you can see what has happened to the end of the deck board. The area around the screws (wrong kind in this case too) are completely rotted with deep holes. I am sorry but there is no paint, stain, or coating that is supposed to withstand these issues. Manufacturers of deck coatings were not designed to keep your deck together.