How Much Maintenance Do Natural Wood Decks Require?

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Wood decks, with their organic beauty, offer homeowners an appealing outdoor space to relax and entertain. However, compared to their composite counterparts, they demand a higher level of maintenance. This article explores into the specifics of maintaining natural wood decks and the critical importance of regular care.

Natural Movement of Wood

Natural wood is affected by the elements more profoundly than composite materials. It tends to expand or shrink based on the temperature fluctuations and humidity levels. Consequently, understanding this natural behavior is essential to ensure the longevity of your deck.

Initial Care for a Wood Deck

When you have a newly installed wood deck, patience is key. Experts recommend refraining from applying any sealant or stain for at least the first six months. This waiting period allows the wood to acclimate and achieve a balanced state, making it more receptive to treatments. Once this phase is over, the wood becomes ready to absorb sealants, stains, or any other products more effectively.

Regular Cleaning and Sealing

It’s undeniable that all decks require cleaning, but natural wood decks call for a bit more attention due to their moisture content. They can become prone to mildew, which can be removed with a gentle pressure wash.

However, caution is crucial; one doesn’t want to damage the wood by being too aggressive. Cleaning aside, sealing or staining the wood is a fundamental part of deck maintenance. Not only does it beautify the wood, but it also acts as a shield against the elements.

Dealing with Bugs

Insects can be a significant concern for wood deck owners. Regular visual inspections can help identify any signs of carpenter ants or other wood-boring insects. If you notice a small pile of dust or similar residue, it might be a sign of bug activity. While certain regions might not face significant bug issues, it’s always better to be proactive than regretful.

Consequences of Neglecting Wood Maintenance

Some homeowners mistakenly believe they can install a wood deck and leave it be. This oversight can have costly implications. Without proper care, even a well-built deck can show signs of wear and tear within five years.

Regular maintenance, especially sealing, can prevent premature aging, rot, and other damage. If neglected, a deck can deteriorate to the point of needing complete replacement within a decade.

Importance of Sealing Your Deck

Sealing a wood deck is not just a suggestion; it’s paramount for its longevity. A well-sealed deck can repel water, resist UV rays, and provide a barrier against insects and decay. Depending on the exposure to elements and usage, a deck should be sealed at least every one to two years. Neglecting this step leaves the wood vulnerable to rapid deterioration.


Natural wood decks, while aesthetically pleasing, do come with a responsibility for regular maintenance. Recognizing the signs of wear, understanding the wood’s natural tendencies, and acting promptly can keep your deck looking beautiful for years.

If you ever have questions or need assistance with your wood deck maintenance, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help ensure your outdoor space remains a source of pride and enjoyment.