Wood is the original decking material, and it looks great. However, it requires a lot of work to maintain. Since it’s made of a natural, biodegradable material, making it last requires a constant battle with nature.
One of your biggest battles will be with water damage. Water rots away wood eventually if it isn’t sealed regularly. However, there is an enemy that can make short work of your deck if they’re ignored: pests.
Ants, termites, beetles, and other insects will burrow into your deck and eat the wood. Birds might then peck at your deck to try to get to the insects. Squirrels are even known to gnaw on wooden decks.
Luckily, minor damage can be repaired. Superior Deck and Fencing, a deck builder in Cherry Hill, NJ, says, “Many times, the structure of your deck is still in great shape, and we can simply replace your flooring and railing.” Once that damage is fixed, there are steps you can take to prevent it from happening again.
So, what can you do to keep these pests away? Here are a few tips to cut down on damage from critters.
6 Ways to Protect Your Deck From Pests
1. Keep Your Deck Clean
The first thing you should do is make sure you’re not welcoming pests onto your deck. If you leave food crumbs, leaves, and anything else that’s edible on your deck, you’re essentially inviting them to wreck your deck.
Sweep it regularly and give it a rinse at least once a year. If you spill something, wash it with a brush and soap immediately. Regular care is key.
2. Keep Tall Grass and Plants Away
If you let plants grow right up to your deck, bugs will make their way from the grass or shrubbery to the deck. Install some sort of barrier, like a patio or stone path, that will separate any plant life from your deck.
3. Install Bug Lights
These lights will mainly keep away mosquitoes, spiders, and other annoying or frightening pests. They don’t keep them away completely. They are just less likely to attract them than other lights.
To kill flying insects, you need a bug zapper. These do attract bugs and kill them. However, these are meant to be used as needed instead of regularly.
4. Add a Bug-Proof Layer Underneath Your Deck
If you’re still having issues with pests, you’ll need to start making major adjustments to your deck. The first thing you can do is add a composite or plastic layer underneath your deck. This will keep bugs from making their way into your deck from underneath.
This way, you can keep your wood deck and still have protection underneath. The next option will give you protection from above.
5. Screen In Your Deck
Make your deck a back porch by screening it in. It will be closed off from most of the outside world while still letting in plenty of fresh air and light. This will also help to protect your deck from water damage.
6. Completely Replace Your Wood Deck
If you’re not attached to a wood deck and don’t want to screen it in, you should consider completely replacing your deck. Composite, plastic, and aluminum decking materials are available that are resistant to damage from insects and water.
Composite decks are made of wood and plastic, making them less appealing to insects. Plastic and aluminum decks are completely unappealing to them. Plus, they’re easier to take care of.
If you have a wood deck, it requires much more work to maintain. Nature wants to eat away at it, and you need to make sure that doesn’t happen. Replacing it with a different material takes away a lot of that work.
How do you plan to protect your deck from pests and the elements? Let us know in the comments below!
About the Author
Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey.