A timber deck is a great addition to any home; it gives you a space to enjoy the outside without worrying about a muddy patio area when it rains or having to pour concrete to create a back porch. Many homeowners can even fabricate their own timber deck with a few power tools and a bit of knowhow. If you're thinking of making your own timber deck or want to have one installed, note a few questions you might have about the material overall and about how to keep the deck looking its best.
What wood species is best?
You may not give much thought as to the species of wood you choose for your deck, but note that a native wood may be better for the climate, amount of sunshine your deck will get, the cold weather it will need to endure, and the like. If you were to choose a wood that is not native to your area, it may get dry under hot summer sun or get very brittle in the cold weather. The cost of shipping may also affect the cost of wood you get from overseas, and you need to remember that slats and planks of your timber decking may need to be replaced eventually. Opt for a local wood that is less expensive and better suited to your climate; your local lumberyard can note which species of timber are local and good for your deck.
When should a deck be oiled?
Oiling a timber deck keeps the wood soft and supple, and also protects it from cracking and getting damaged. You can tell when to oil the deck by splashing some water on the surface; if the water bubbles on the top, the deck still has residual oil. If there are no bubbles formed, the deck is dry and needs oiling.
When should planks or slats be replaced?
Very often you can fill in cracks and chips on wood decks with wood putty or filler, and then paint or stain over them and your deck will look like new. However, if a plank or slat of the deck has warped so that it's curved in any way, or if a crack has split the deck piece into two, you cannot repair this piece. That curvature of the deck piece has compromised its overall strength, and putty or fillers are not strong enough to hold two pieces together. In these cases, the piece needs to be replaced altogether.