You probably don’t think of your outdoor deck as a potential sinkhole of money. Indeed, there are other areas of the home that are far more important, and can be far more costly when not built or maintained correctly. The roof, for example — or the plumbing. Owning a home requires vigilance in these crucial areas. Being negligent can have troublesome financial consequences, and can even compromise the long-term value of the home.
But an outdoor deck is a relatively minor thing. If it isn’t built correctly, the effects aren’t particularly far-reaching or serious. Right?
Well, not exactly. The fact is that outdoor decks do represent a sizable investment for the average homeowner. Most people spend between $10,000 and $15,000 on a brand new outdoor deck (depending on square footage, design, amenities, and the type of material used). When routine maintenance requirements are ignored, the resulting repairs can leave you with an unexpected bill that’s annoying and upsetting at best. Here are some costly deck maintenance mistakes every homeowner should avoid.
1. Not knowing your material
The maintenance requirements for decks made with composite material versus decks made from natural wood are significantly different. It’s a mistake to think that composite decking requires zero maintenance, for instance. Periodic cleaning is necessary to keep the deck in optimal condition. Wood decking requires more maintenance, including periodic refinishing to prolong the lifespan and improve the appearance. Not knowing the maintenance requirements of your decking material is a common and costly mistake.
2. Doing the maintenance yourself (and not doing it well)
Performing deck maintenance is a pleasure for some homeowners, while others see it as more of a chore. If you do your own maintenance, the best bet is to carefully follow the instructions of the manufacturer or supplier of the material, as well as the deck builder that constructed the deck. Skimping on maintenance (or not doing it properly) is a surefire way to shorten the lifespan of your deck.
3. Hiring a disreputable contractor to do the maintenance for you
If there’s one thing worse than poor DIY deck maintenance, it’s poor maintenance done by a professional. Believe it or not, this does happen. There are disreputable companies out there who cut corners, even on basic maintenance tasks. The good news is, you can usually spot their shady reputations a mile away — provide you know what to look for.
Avoid these costly mistakes — and save cash
Being a savvy homeowner is all about making decisions that prevent unnecessary expenditures. Your outdoor deck is worth consideration in this respect. People sometimes assume there’s no real way to lose money on an outdoor deck, but this really isn’t the case. The deck is a highly visible part of the home, and allowing it to fall into disrepair is problematic for a number of reasons. Avoid the maintenance mistakes listed here, and consult a qualified outdoor deck builder with any questions or concerns you may have. Remember — for homeowners, avoiding unnecessary expenses is like money in your pocket.