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How To Keep Your Deck Splinter Free

Posted 26 August 2021 12:59 PM by Jase DeBoer

If you have recently built a wood deck or purchased a home with an existing wooden deck, you’ll want to keep it in tip-top shape. However, a large concern with wooden decks is the potential of deck boards splintering over time. With proper care and maintenance, your deck boards can remain pristine and look like new.

Why Do Splinters Occur?

Through continuous water absorption and water loss in your wood deck, natural defects may surface. The continual shrinking and swelling of your deck boards from temperature fluctuations can, over time, cause cupping, warping, twisting and splits. As the unmaintained boards begin to split, splinters will occur. However, the extent of the splintering can be significantly reduced through a maintenance plan.

Clean With Care

Regularly cleaning your deck will not only help its appearance but will also maintain the health of your deck boards. Your deck is constantly exposed to moist and humid conditions, causing mildew. Remove mildew as needed with a deck cleaner containing a mildewcide. For tough mildew spots and stains, you may clean your deck with a pressure washer. However, using ultra-high pressure can cause damage to the boards and eventual splintering. Always spray the wood with a fan-tipped nozzle at the lowest setting. Be sure to spray no less than 12” away from the surface while working in a sweeping motion. You may need to make multiple passes with your pressure washer to achieve a full cleaning.

Provide Ultraviolet Protection 

If preventive steps aren’t taken to block the sun’s ultraviolet rays, the surface cells of the wood on your pressure-treated project will begin to discolor to the weathered gray common to many older boards. If you want to maintain the original color of the pressure-treated wood while protecting the surface, choose a water-repellent finish with an ultraviolet stabilizer. Periodic reapplication of a water-repellent wood sealer will help extend the longevity of your deck.

Avoid Paint and Heavy Stains

Although painting your deck as it begins to show wear may seem tempting, we don’t recommend it. Certain paint brands offer heavy-duty, thick stains similar to paint that can also be damaging. Paint and heavy stains can act as an impermeable layer on top of the wood, trapping moisture and furthering the splinters and damage.

Clear Snow With Caution

During the winter months, you may find the need to clear snow from your deck. If possible, avoid using salt as a melting aid. This can damage the surface of your deck with premature weathering. Additionally, when shoveling, we recommend using a plastic snow shovel without a metal edge. A stiff-bristled, push broom can work very well and minimizes lifting. Light snow can also be cleared using a leaf blower.

Repair or Replace When Necessary

If your wooden deck has boards that are splintered beyond repair, you should replace the damaged boards. Replacing a deck board is easy and can be completed in a short amount of time. However, if your entire deck is beyond repair, replacing the entire deck may be your best option. ProWood offers multiple, versatile options for decking. Learn more about our decking options or find a dealer near you.

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