Deck Maintenance for Oceanfront Homes

Posted on Posted in Deck Maintenance

Living in an oceanfront home is a lifestyle all of its own. Most people would agree that nothing beats feeling the sun and wind in your face, breathing the fresh air or falling asleep to the sound of the waves. Most of oceanfront homeowners have outdoor living areas to get the most out of seaside living. Not all is sun, sea, and surf though; living near the ocean CAN be brutal to your property and most especially to your outdoor living areas such as decks, patios, and verandas. If you are not mindful of the toll that salt-air environment can pound on your property, you may risk the high investment you have put on such a valued piece of real estate asset. Being proactive in maintaining your decks, patios, and verandas can mean a lifetime to enjoy that gorgeous seaside home.

Houses along the coast are frequently exposed to harsh elements: moisture-filled air, glaring sunlight, strong winds, and saltwater corrosion. Obviously, outdoor living areas are more susceptible to Mother Nature’ whims. If left unchecked, your decks, patios or verandas may neither be a safe place to be nor a pleasant sight.

Damp moisture can increase mold and mildew. In seaside properties, mold and mildew happily thrive because of the elevated temperature and the amount of moisture. They are tiny and lightweight and can travel easily through the air. Left unchecked, they can grow almost anywhere in the property including concrete, wood products, and vinyl siding.

To minimize mold and mildew, clean your deck, patio or veranda as often as needed. Remove leaves, debris, and other organic materials that can be a food source. Use soap and water to clean your deck if mold is already present.

If you’ve read past blog articles, you know that water accumulation is also unkind to decks. The repetitive cycle of wood getting wet and drying results to weakening of the wood fiber and can result to rot aside from mold and mildew. Water can also intrude into minute cracks and can get to the metal hardware supporting the deck. Water and salt air lead to corrosion which can make your deck a safety risk.

Make sure that the lumber used in constructing your deck is treated and any metal fastenings or hardware should be stainless steel or any other corrosion-resistant materials.

You love the sun which is why you chose to live near the ocean. The sun has mood elevating effects and a natural source of vitamin D, but constant exposure to harsh sunlight can be cruel to you and anything exposed to it including your deck. A common issue of prolonged exposure to the sun on your deck is discoloration. The “graying” of wood is indicative of wood fiber degradation on the surface and the “graying” will go darker as the years go by. Just like a human’s skin, the discolored surface layer is permanently damaged and must be removed. A “grayed” surface signals the beginning of structural damage and is also unsightly.

One way to avoid this is to have your deck sealed or stained. Stains and sealers work in pretty much the same way as sunglasses do in protecting our eyes. Stains and sealers protect your deck from the harmful rays of the sun. Just like sunglasses, the darker the stain, the better UV protection the deck gets. Another way to protect your deck is to cover it. You may opt to build a roof or a pergola which are permanent structures; or you may choose to install retractable coverage such as awnings and canopies. Covers not only protect your deck from the harmful effects of exposure to sun, it also limits the amount of water that can get to your deck.

Strong winds are of course common to seaside properties and can blow lightweight deck furniture away. It may be a worthwhile investment to consider having furniture built-in to your deck. These may not be as comfortable but it is more convenient than having to constantly chase after a wind-blown chair or storing it after each use. To escape from uncomfortable strong winds, you may also want to have a privacy panel in a design complementary to your home. A guard rail made of clear panels also blocks wind and maintains the beautiful coastal view.

Salt air accelerates corrosion. Also, the chemicals that are currently used to treat lumber also add to the corrosion of your deck’s fasteners and hardware. Rust on your deck’s fasteners and hardware is not a good thing at all. Rust can mean the difference between the deck’s safety and an accident waiting to happen.

You can prevent salt accumulation and the corrosion it can result to by cleaning the deck weekly with fresh water. Aside from the deck, you should also regularly clean all deck furniture and dry it with a soft cloth. If rust is already present, treat it immediately or better yet, replace those things that have rust especially if these are rusty fasteners or hardware that maintain the stability and safety of your deck. This would also include those that can be found on stairs and railings.

Living by the sun, sea, and surf still outweighs the time and effort it entails to maintain your seaside home. Remember, protection is key.

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If you live near the ocean in Malibu, Santa Monica, Torrance or Long Beach in California and you would like professionals to maintain your outdoor living areas, call Westside Company. We are a decking contractor serving a vast area of Southern California. Our decades of experience have given us the expertise to be able to evaluate your decks, patios or verandas, find any issues to safety and aesthetics, and provide solutions for you. We can keep your seaside deck in tiptop shape despite its prolonged exposure to the elements.

You may call us at 310 994 4626 or send an e-mail to westsidewaterproofing@gmail.com for a free consultation. We are a waterproofing contractor as well and we provide our services to both residential and commercial properties. Get in touch with us now let’s start protecting that beautiful oceanfront deck, patio or veranda.