Your deck was once the shining light of your day. Outside on your deck, you felt invincible. Out in the light of day, hidden away behind fences and walls you are alone on an island of wood. Nothing more peaceful or pleasant than owning a deck. Then it starts to turn. The wood loses its color and luster. The planks start to warp and the nails begin to show. The deck almost feels like a trampoline because the wood has grown so weak from dry rot. The sun has battered it with UV rays and the wind, rain, and snow have cracked it and reshaped it to the point of no return. When your deck is in this shape it is a danger to walk on. You can easily fall through and be severely injured. No one wants to end up in the hospital because they did not take proper care of their deck.
So how do you take good care of your deck and how do you take it down safely when it comes to the end of its life. It’s simple enough if you start from the beginning. If you have a chance to build a deck or hire someone to then there is a lot you can do to protect it from the sun, from moisture, and even from pests and wild animals. It starts with varnish. An eco-friendly long-lasting UV-resistant easy to clean varnish will do the trick. Paint it over every side of every piece of wood and when the holes are drilled so the wood can be bolted down make sure to paint them with the varnish. This will make a water-tight seal that will dramatically extend the life of the deck. Galvanized steel bolts are also recommended as they are waterproof in the long term and will not rust for an extended period.
If this was not the case when you put up your deck. Maybe you did not do enough, or any, research, and maybe you hired some fly-by-night company that left you with a raw wood untreated deck that will age faster than “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. If you have a raw wood deck you will need to see if it is stable. Inspect every part you can reach. If you see rot, dry or wet, you need to act fast. If the deck is rotted out, sunburnt, and warped with nails sticking out everywhere and cracks and splits in the wood then it is time to disassemble it and donate it to a recycling plant that makes something useful out of it. That’s right, your deck did not die, it will be reborn as an ornate coffee table or someone new shed. You may think it’s garbage but wood is very expensive and the fact that construction sites need security guards should be reason enough to donate or even sell your old wooden deck. Remember that taking down an old deck is dangerous. Make sure you are up to date on your tetanus shot and that you wear all protective gear needed. That is a helmet, protective eyewear, steel toe shoes, and work gloves. A magnetic hammer is handy for picking up rusty nails without having to touch them.