3 easy ways to increase the life and value of your deck

large deck with stairs and sitting area under deck

Building a deck is one of the best home improvement investments you can make. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2019 Cost vs. Value Report, a homeowner can expect to recoup about 76 percent of the cost of building a wood deck and 69 percent of a composite deck when the time comes to sell their home. No matter what material you choose, following are some tips for building a deck that delivers maximum enjoyment and ROI.

Your investment needs protection

Homeowners today have access to high-performance deck boards warrantied to last for decades. But, unless the proper steps are taken from the start, the deck’s foundation could begin decaying within the first 10 years. This is because the vast majority of substructures are built using wood, which is susceptible to damage from the outdoor elements.

Easily one of wood’s worst enemies, moisture contributes to mold growth and can accelerate structural deterioration. When joists and beams are exposed, water seeps into screw holes and sits on the wood causing it to rot and the screws to rust. Additionally, the natural expansion and contraction of wood due to seasonal freezing and thawing can cause beams to split and weaken over time, posing serious safety concerns.

1. Deck flashing tape is an affordable solution

Deck flashing tape is a simple and cost-effective way to protect wood from both weather and time. Designed to shield wooden joists and beams from moisture that can lead to rot and decay, it also acts as a barrier between wood and galvanized metal, helping deck screws and fasteners hold longer and stronger.

Even better, it’s affordable. To protect an average 20-by-12-foot deck with flashing tape costs less than $100, making it a no-brainer for DIYers and contractors who want a substructure that lasts as long as the decking it supports.

2. Think long term when selecting materials

There are two primary options when it comes to deck flashing tapes — asphalt-based and butyl tape. Although asphalt-based tape is generally less expensive than butyl tape, it tends to dry out more quickly, curl up and hold water. Butyl tape, such as Trex Protect, has several advantages over asphalt-based tape. It is stickier, endures less staining and performs better in a wider range of temperatures. Butyl tape also is more pliable than asphalt-based tape, which allows it to create a tighter seal around screws to prevent water from infiltrating the screw holes.

3. Leave elevated decks high and dry

To protect an elevated deck from moisture, consider installing an under-deck drainage system. Using a network of troughs and downspouts, these systems capture and divert water away from a deck. They also allow homeowners to double their outdoor space by protecting the area below the deck from rain, sun and other elements, making it usable for storage or as an additional living area. Once protected, dry space beneath an elevated deck can be outfitted with everything from furniture to lighting fixtures, ceiling fans, gas lines and entertainment components. You can even finish it with a stylish ceiling of your choice.

For maximum protection, select a deck drainage system that is installed above the joists, such as RainEscape. This will protect the entire substructure from water damage and deterioration.

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