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How Long Does A Wooden Deck Last?

The amount of time your wooden deck will last is an important consideration when beginning to construct this addition to your home. Knowing the useful life of the deck will help you plan out when you need to budget for its replacement. If you are wondering how long these recreation areas last, we can help you. We researched wooden decks in depth so you will know for sure what to expect.

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A wooden deck will typically last between 10 and 15 years. The length of time you can expect your deck to last will depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • The type of wood used in the deck's construction
  • How the deck was constructed
  • Whether you maintain the wood properly
  • The climate your deck is exposed to

Now that we know that a wooden deck will last between 10 and 15 years, we'll look at the factors that impact this structure's lifespan. You might also be wondering how long pressure-treated wooden decks last or how you can expand the useful life of your wooden deck. For the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post to see what our research has revealed.

Backyard deck and pergola landscaping., How Long Does A Wooden Deck Last?

Factors That Impact The Lifespan Of A Wooden Deck

There is no exact time that any wooden deck can be projected to last. While a wooden deck will typically last between 10 and 15 years, certain factors can make them last longer. Some circumstances will mean that they will have an even shorter life.

Earlier in this post, we listed the factors that directly impact how long a wooden deck will last. Let's look at each of them in greater detail so that you can identify which ones you might be able to harness and control.

The Type Of Wood Used In The Deck's Construction

Not all lumber is the same. Some will be much better suited for deck material than others. If you are building a new deck, you should keep in mind what type of lumber will last the longest when exposed to the elements.

Though more expensive, cedar and redwood lumber tend to be the two types recommended by experts. These boards will be much more resistant to wood rot and insect infestation. They also dry out and crack much less, requiring less maintenance.

Avoid using non-durable hardwoods when constructing your deck. These are not as weather resistant and might not last you a decade. 

How The Deck Was Constructed

Poor construction can greatly lessen the life of your deck. The gap between the deck floor and the side of the house is important. If the gap is too big, the deck will not be as stable. But if the gap is too small, then the wood can buckle as it expands into the side of the house during summer temperatures.

Building a deck too low to the ground can also decrease its useful life. There should be at least 30 inches between the grade and the deck floor. This will create proper airflow and reduce the buildup of moisture.

Moisture is the biggest threat to a wooden deck. Eliminating as much of this as possible and keeping it from penetrating the boards will prolong the life of your deck.

If You Maintain The Wood Properly

If you are using wood that isn't pressure treated, you will find that you must do some maintenance on your deck to keep it from rotting. The deck can be stained and sealed to keep moisture from penetrating the planks. This should be done every few years or more frequently if needed.

When dry rot sets into one board, it can pose a serious threat. If you notice dry rot that cannot be sanded out, replace the plank as soon as possible. This will keep it from spreading. Wet rot is caused by moisture. Though wet rot will not spread, it will damage the affected board, which should be replaced.

The Climate Your Deck Is Exposed To

A climate that is consistently warm and dry will be less harsh on a wooden deck than a climate that sways from season to season. If your deck is built in a region that is hot in the summer but cold and wet in the winter, the wood will be in a constant cycle of expanding and contracting.

The more your wood expands and contracts, the less time it will last. Some types of lumber, like ipe and cedar, are recommended by experts for those who build wooden decks in these areas. 

How Long Will A Pressure-Treated Wooden Deck Last?

If you opt to spend more money on materials, you can get a deck that will last a lot longer than one made of wood. Should you consider using pressure-treated wood or any composite material, that lifespan range will increase to 25-50 years.

Pressure-treated wood is a lot less resistant to cracks. This means less moisture will penetrate the boards. They also require a lot less maintenance. 

A composite deck is made from PVC and vinyl. These will not rot, and the colors are much less likely to fade for the first 25 years. This durable material can last as long as 50 years or more in any climate.

Lumber Yard

How Can I Increase The Lifespan Of My Wooden Deck?

Routine inspections are the first step in increasing the lifespan of any wooden deck. This should be done at the beginning and end of each season that your deck is open. If you live in an area that enables you to use the deck year round, inspections should be completed every six months. 

When you inspect, you are looking for a variety of things. Loose boards, areas where dry rot or wet rot has set in, the level of fading, and cracks in the wood should be your priorities. Secure loose boards. Replace ones that have rot set in or that have cracks. 

Every two to three years, your deck will need to be sanded, stained, and sealed. This will keep the deck looking new for much longer. It will also help to keep damaging moisture from damaging the wood.

Vintage wooden panel with horizontal planks and gaps

Will Staining A Deck Make It Last Longer?

Staining a deck will keep it looking its best. This should be done every two or three years. But for staining to increase the life of your wooden deck, you will need to sand the wood first.

Sanding will remove all of the surface defects from the wood as well as remove all of the remaining stains and seals from the last time.

This gives the wood a clean slate for you to stain again. But once it is sanded and stained, you will need to apply a seal to the surface. By sealing the wood, you will be helping the stain combat moisture. 

Experts maintain that, while many prefer the look of a stained deck, a painted deck will protect the wood from the elements better. Paint also lasts longer than stain and is easier to maintain.

Applying Varnish To Wooden Deck

Final Thoughts

A wooden deck will typically last between 10 and 15 years if it is properly maintained and cared for. If you have a deck made from pressure-treated wood, you can expect it to last up to 50 years. There are several ways to increase the lifespan of a wooden deck, but they do require a bit of time and elbow grease.

We hope that this post on wooden decks answered all of your questions. For additional information, we suggest reading the following posts:

What Color Deck Goes With A Brown House? [11 Good Options]

Is A Wood Deck Cheaper Than A Concrete Patio?

Should You Set Deck Posts In Concrete? [And How To]