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Why Is The Wood On My Deck Splitting?

Your deck is unquestionably one of the best features of your house because it expands your outdoor space and increases the appeal and value of your property. You might notice that the wood in your deck is splitting. If you want to learn the reasons why, you've come to the right place. We have done in-depth research and put together the best answers for you.

Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Decks are no different from other outside features of a house in that they all experience issues. Below are the causes of wood splitting in your deck:

  1. Drying
  2. Weather
  3. Infestation of Insects
  4. Deck materials
  5. Installation
  6. Pressure

You can repair your balcony decking damage in a variety of ways. This article will tackle the reasons for splitting wood, how you can fix them, and when to replace a deck. So, continue reading to learn the answers to these questions.

brown old wood on the outdoor, old wooden deck on the park, Why Is The Wood On My Deck Splitting?

Causes Of Splitting Deck 

Splitting is a problem since it can go through the decking, reducing its strength. Here are the reasons for splitting wood in your deck:

splitted wood deck on the house, old wood, old nails, rust

1. Drying

If the wood weren't adequately dried before installation, too much moisture would be left over. Thus, splitting of wood of your deck. 

All wood contains water, and for it to be stable, it must dry to a specific moisture level. Allowing your boards to dry out of the sun more slowly will help you avoid quick drying. 

2. Weather

Your balcony decking suffers from frequent weather changes because it is outdoors, especially if you live somewhere where it has sudden weather changes. Regular exposure to wind, water, and sunlight could cause damage to even the highest quality deck lumber. 

The first indication of a damaged deck is splits and discoloration. These signs may start to appear around screw holes. Deck board cracking is also a result of water damage brought on by standing water. It will begin to rot and break when it rained on your deck because the board couldn't dry out completely.

You can replace individual boards with new stains to repair discoloration and stop additional damage. To assist in maintaining your deck, use a broom to sweep up as much water as possible from the board's surface.

The lack of a good drainage system on your deck's underbelly can also cause the wood to rot from the bottom up. Even worse, if your decking is near the ground, water vapor rising from the soil beneath the deck may harm the wood. Due to water entering the wood fibers, this water vapor causes the decking on the underside of the deck to expand.

You must use a non-weather-dependent substance to replace the moisture in those small wood cells. Furthermore, you must keep your deck isolated from the surrounding area.

3. Infestation of Insects

An infestation of insects could cause splits on your wood and make your deck unsafe to use because the wood is hollowed within and weaker. Bees, ants, and termites enjoy an open deck just as much as you and your family do.

Include pest inspection in your deck upkeep. You may call your local pest control provider to assist you in getting rid of your problem.

4. Deck Materials

old wood deck on the floor, with old nails, brown dry wood decks

Pressure-treated wood is the most widely used material for deck construction. Pressure-treated wood is softwood lumber and can stop rot, decay, and termites, which is perfect for outside operations like building decks. 

However, it is less stable than other materials and is more prone to cracking. Pressure-treated wood typically expands before installation because it has been saturated with chemicals like chromated arsenicals.

PVC and composite deckings are alternative materials, less likely to break, more durable, have a long lifespan, and require little upkeep. However, they are costly, which one should take into account.

Poor quality wood is quickly split and cracked. It is essential to find the best materials for your deck. Check for common issues like low-quality wood by gauging its thickness and knotting if your deck shows signs of severe deterioration.

5. Installation

Poor installation can directly cause harm to your cherished deck. A deck may occasionally split as a result of improper installation. 

Additionally, keep an eye out for installation errors like misalignment, loose screws, and placing screws too close to the deck boards' edges. It's essential to lay deck boards properly because having them all lined up in the middle of your deck could weaken it.

They won't be able to quickly expand and contract without a gap, which could lead to cracking. This is why it's crucial to find a contractor who can assure you of the best outcomes.

6. Pressure

Your deck's wood would eventually deteriorate over time, and certain pieces would start to split under pressure from furniture that you place on it and due to impact from foot traffic. The most excellent remedy for board splitting brought on by regular use is to swap out worn-out, older ones.

How Do You Stop Splitting Wood On A Deck?

Decks will eventually develop splits. You can repair your balcony decking damage in a variety of ways:

1. Apply Sealant

Wood decking needs to be sealed. Unsealed decking will absorb water, raising the decking's moisture content. 

Before using the deck, give the sealer 72 hours to dry. For enduring protection, seal the deck once a year. Superior sealants prevent water from penetrating treated lumber.

Any dependable external wood protection solution will enter into the fibers of the wood and then dry. It will fill the wood cells to maintain and encourage dimensional stability and prevent splitting. 

Click here to see this Gorilla waterproof sealant on Amazon.

2. Deck Drying 

Uneven drying leads to field splitting of the decking. You must slow the drying process to reduce checking and splitting in decking boards.

The important thing is to shield the decking from extremes as it dries. If not, the top will dry and heat up more quickly than the core, which will cause the decking to split.

3. Apply Stain

You can stain or clear-coat the decking to protect it once it has thoroughly dried.

A strong stain is an additional choice. Apply stain every three to five years to minimize it after installation or stop future cracking. It has the appearance of paint. 

Click here to see this Minwax oil-based wood stain on Amazon.

4. Ventilation

Ensure there is ventilation beneath the decking. The splitting of the decking will be exacerbated by moist air trapped beneath the deck. 

Gaps between deck boards allow air to circulate through the decking.

5. Inspect the Deck

Regular maintenance inspections are the first step in ensuring your deck's health. Carefully inspect them for splits and cracks.

Examine all of the screws that are under and around the deck. Attempt to unscrew boards if you can to check if the bottom side is also impacted.

When necessary, replace missing screws on boards and hammer down any exposed nails. Call the pros immediately away for a replacement if both sides are broken.

6. Cleaning

To get rid of extra filth and debris, your deck does need to be cleaned. Apply a cleaning solution with a roller or sprayer to eliminate mold and germs. A utility brush can clean any deck section with a buildup of dirt and mold.

When Should You Replace Deck Boards?

repair, replacement of wood deck on the patio, old wood to new wooden deck

Replace your deck boards if there is visible wood damage. You will know you need a new deck if you see significant deterioration, such as big holes, cracks in the wood, wood rot, and termites.

Wood rot spreads rapidly from one place to another. To avoid further accidents, replace the rotten wood and use a high-quality wood sealer.

Also, check the fittings and fixtures holding your deck together because these may be degraded by aging. Check the base of your deck to ensure none of the fittings are missing, loose, or decaying.

This could harm you and your family and undermine the structural stability of your deck. If you come across any rusty or broken fittings, replace them.

How Long Do Outdoor Decks Last?

all new wooden deck on the patio, new condition of woods, fresh cut, for outdoor use

A deck typically lasts between 10 and 15 years. However, if you take care of it properly, you may enjoy it for many more years. 

In Closing

brown old wood on the outdoor, old wooden deck on the park

With careful monthly upkeep, your outdoor wood decks should remain in good shape throughout the year. However, if the damage is excessive, don't hesitate to call in experts to repair all your deck boards to avoid any mishaps.

We hope this post has enlightened you. Before you go, check out these other related posts:

How Much Space Between Deck Boards?

How Many Screws Per Deck Board [And Deck Baluster