Wood Deck FAQs

How Long Do Wood Decks Last? Essential Guide

What You Should Know About Wood Decks

If you have been planning on building a deck for your house, you have probably wondered which material to choose and which will last longer. If you have browsed through the Internet for some ideas, you have probably come across the wood decks since they are the most popular and they look amazing.

However, how long do wood decks last, and do they require a lot of maintenance? Decks that are made of untreated wood can last somewhere between 10 to 30 years, while those made of treated wood and some composite materials can last at least 50 years. However, whichever wood you choose for the deck will require regular maintenance and proper care to fulfill its lifespan.

In this article, I have listed the types of wood that you can use for your deck and their anticipated lifespan. I have also provided some ways in which you can maintain your wood deck, so it will last as long as possible. From my article, you can see that maintaining wood decks is not something complicated, but it requires proper care, so it would look nice as the first time it was set up. 

The Life Expectancy Of Wood Decks

Wood looks great on everything; therefore, it is a nice choice for homeowners who want to build a deck in front of their house. It is also an affordable solution, so you will not have to spend a fortune to build one. (Additionally, a wood deck decreases the amount of mowing you will have to do!)

However, the life expectancy of the wood decks usually depends on the type of wood you use for building them. Also, they require regular maintenance and proper care so they would last as much as possible. If not treated in the right manner, they can deteriorate quickly, and they will lose the nice look, meaning that you will have to start everything all over again. 

To avoid that, firstly, you would need to find the right wood material that will suit your needs, and at the same time be affordable for maintaining. Secondly, you will have to familiarize yourself with the ways of how to take proper care of it. Lastly, you will need to keep up with the recommended steps of maintenance, so your wood deck will last as much as possible. 

Now, I will first explain the types of wood you can choose for your deck, and how long they are anticipated to last. 

Untreated Wood

Installing a Wood DeckWhen it comes to building something out of wood, people mostly go with natural wood. This is a popular choice, especially when it comes to the construction of a deck.

Therefore, the most preferred types are cedar and lumber, but hardwoods and redwoods are also suitable for building a deck. 

When choosing wood for decks, people often go for untreated wood. One of the reasons for this is because the installation fees are not as high as those for composite wood. However, this type of wood requires more delicate maintenance and care to keep its natural look. 

Natural wood has a life expectancy of 10 to 30 years, of course, with proper care. So, if you treat it well regularly you can expect your deck to last for even 30 years while keeping the natural look and feel. 

Composite Wood

Composite wood refers to the material which is made of recycled wood shavings and plastic. This is considered an eco-friendly option, but its installation fees are higher. The composite materials imitate wood, but they keep their color longer and have a longer lifespan. 

The composite wood is anticipated to last up to 20 years with little maintenance. When I say little maintenance, I refer to cleaning, refinishing, and staining, i.e., nothing complicated. Therefore, if you follow the recommendations of the manufacturer you will not have problems with your deck for years. 

Untreated Wood Combined With Composite Materials 

You can also build your deck with a combination of the two types. If you make the combination, you can expect your deck to last up to 50 years. This sounds great, of course, but you should expect higher installation fees and higher costs for maintenance. 

Building a deck with these materials might also take longer since the installation might be more complicated. Also, you will have to follow the steps for maintenance regularly, so your deck will always keep a nice and fresh look. 

Some people consider this as the best option. However, you need to be prepared to make a big investment at the beginning, so you would have a deck with a lifespan of around 50 years. 

Which Type Of Wood Would Be The Best Option?

The answer to this question depends on several factors. Firstly, you need to think about the budget you are prepared to spend on building your deck. 

If you do not have a high budget, then you should probably go with the untreated wood option. This is an inexpensive choice, but you should be prepared to give a little bit more money for maintenance in the future. It also requires more delicate care, so you would need to strictly stick to the recommendations given for maintaining natural wood. 

On the other hand, if your budget is higher, then you could choose the composite materials for your deck. You will spend a little bit more on installation, but you will not be bothered with the complex care of the deck. You will need to do some cleaning and refinishing, and your deck will still keep the fresh look for around 20 years. 

Lastly, if you really want to invest in your deck, then you should choose the combined option, i.e. natural wood and composite materials. This option would work the best since the life expectancy of the deck is anticipated to be around 50 years at most.

Tips For Keeping Your Wood Deck Looking Fresh And New

The tips I have included in this article are considered universal and they help in keeping your wood deck look great. However, you should also consider the recommendations given by the manufacturer of the materials you used for your deck. 

Keep The Dirt Away 

If you have flowers and other plants on your deck, make sure to place them on a cement block or something similar, so there would be no dirt on the surface of the deck.

Keep The Grease Away 

Similar to dirt, grease should be a great deal away from your wood deck. If you have a grill on your deck, make sure that you always clean it thoroughly so there would be no grease left anywhere around the surface of the deck. Grease could be a real enemy to wood, so it is better to take care of that immediately. 

Sweep Regularly

I know that sweeping is boring and tiresome, but it could be really beneficial to your wooden deck. If you sweep regularly, you will prevent the dirt and moisture from getting deeper into the surface of the deck. Many homeowners sweep their deck after their weekly lawn maintenance, a great way to make sure your yard stays in great shape!

Clean It And Seal It Regularly 

The best way to protect your wood deck from damages is to clean it and seal it on a daily basis. You should clean your deck at least once in two weeks, while you should seal it every two or three years. This is the best way of keeping your deck in good condition. 

When Is The Right Time For Restoration Of The Deck? 

If your wood deck starts to fall apart, that might be the sign that it needs some restoration, i.e., replacement. However, you should first make a good estimation of it. This means that you have to see whether some changes can be made before you decide to build everything all over again. 

To be able to make this decision, you should ask yourself some questions about your wood deck. Firstly, you need to estimate how long you have had that exact deck and whether it has fulfilled its lifespan. Also, you have to consider the ways of your maintenance, i.e., how often you have cleaned it, how often you have sealed it, and similar things related to the care of the deck. 

If you are not sure whether your deck needs restoration or not, you should ask a construction expert. The wood experts would be of great help, especially if you do not know anything about building and construction. You might only need some repairs, so do not decide on your own if you do not have the needed knowledge about wood and decks. 

In many cases, your deck might need some fresh paint and some quick repairs, and it will be prepared to last some years more. Therefore, make sure to consult an expert before deciding on anything. 

If you are interested in building a wooden deck for your house, you can see that you have options. You just have to decide and estimate which one works the best for you money-wise and how prepared you are to take care of it. With a fully repaired deck, you will once again be able to enjoy the bliss of outdoor living

Matt McWilliams
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Hi there! My name is Matt and I write for American Lawns. I've been a home owner for over 15 years. I've also had the pleasure of working with some experts in lawn care and outdoor living. I enjoy writing about everything related to your lawn, pests and types of grass. In my spare time, I'm either spending time with my family, doing a DIY project or learning a new skill.