Wooden decks make fantastic investments for a home, but do require some maintenance. Understanding how wood weathers can help you manage its condition better. One of the most frequent problems with wood decks is warping. Deck boards can warp soon after installation; here’s what you need to know to manage it.
Why Wood Warps
Wood is always adjusting to the relative humidity in its environment. It always wants to reach equilibrium moisture content (EMC.) In other words, when the wood has a higher moisture content than the surrounding air, it will dry and shrink until it has equal moisture with the air. If the wood is dry compared to the air, it will absorb the humidity and swell as it does so. The same principle applies to all types of wood, including string instruments like the violin or cello.
Types of Warping
Warping can occur in different ways. There are different names to help people identify different types of warping.
- Bow: The deck board curves up or down lengthwise, but remains flat widthwise.
- Cup: The deck board curves widthwise, forming a sort of channel.
- Twist: A diagonal deviation from uniform straightness occurs along the board.
Preventing Warping Deck Boards
Preventing warping deck boards starts with choosing the right lumber. No matter the species, a wood with a straight grain is less likely to develop warping. A dense wood is also more resistant, which is why cedar is such a great choice.
Besides the type of wood, regular maintenance is important to keeping wood boards from deteriorating in various ways. Applying sealant will keep outside moisture from the wooden boards. Sealant can be clear, translucent, or come in a solid stain.
Correcting Deck Boards
If your wooden deck boards do warp, there are alternatives to replacing them. It is easiest to straighten a wood board that is bowed rather than cupped, twisted, or deviated in any other way. The way to correct a bowed board is simply to clamp it back into place; this will require some spacing tools and a clamp to ensure that your board remains straight.
Replacing Warping Deck Boards
To replace a warped deck board, measure the dimensions of a non-warped one on your deck and request a new one at your local hardware store. Keep it equally-spaced between the other boards and nail two galvanized nails horizontally into each end. If DIY isn’t for you, United Fence & Deck can help with your wood deck maintenance needs on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Contact United Fence and Deck Now!
If you’re ready to see just how great a fence or deck can make your home look, you can rely on United Fence & Deck to meet them. We’ve got a reputation as a family-owned business for providing great service and prices throughout the Eastern Shore. We proudly provide our fence and deck services to Easton, St. Michaels, Cambridge, Talbot County, Dorchester County, and Queen Anne’s County. Contact us online or give us a call at (410) 476-7073 for more information. For updates about our company, follow us on Facebook and Pinterest.