Hacks For Protecting Your Deck From The Blistering Summer Sun

One of the best things about owning a deck is lounging outside in the sun after a long, hard day. However, just as the sun can damage your skin without proper protection, your deck can easily become damaged by the sun's ultraviolet rays if you are not careful. Renovating a deck can be an incredibly expensive endeavor, so protecting your home's deck from the sun is a no-brainer for any homeowner.

If you have a deck, it's essential to regularly check it for signs of sun damage. The first thing that most homeowners notice when their wood deck is left out in the sun is a gradual graying of its once-vibrant color. While some homeowners aren't too bothered by this (per All Climate Roofing), a little discoloration is actually the least of your worries. When your deck starts turning gray, it's a sign that its wood fibers are becoming damaged. Damaged wood can quickly lead to warping and cupping, which opens your deck up to water damage on rainy days. It can also cause cracks in the wood boards, which can be costly and inconvenient to replace.

Plan ahead for sun exposure

According to Backyard Scape, you might have to take extra care to protect your deck from sun damage if it faces south or west. If your deck is being built to provide maximum sunshine for your home's occupants, planning ahead is always a good idea. One way that you can minimize deck maintenance while maximizing sun resistance is to invest in a high-quality composite decking material over more affordable natural wood materials. Some composite decking materials have UV inhibitors built-in for long-term sun protection that won't require any extra work on your part. You should also look for a composite material that features complete capping since this ensures that your decking is sealed away from moisture and other corrosive agents.

If you prefer natural wood over composites, maintaining your deck will become even more important. However, you can still plan ahead by selecting a wood that offers good UV resistance. According to Fortress Building Products, teak is one of the best natural wood materials for decking that will regularly face intense sunlight. While teak and other quality woods (such as eucalyptus and acacia) will require sealing and staining, they offer much better performance in the sun than most budget-friendly wood options.

Sealing your deck

When the sun dries and shrinks the wood that makes up your deck, it can result in a wide range of problems. For this reason, sealing your deck every year or two is one of the most important ways in which you can protect your deck (per DeckMaster). However, many clear sealers don't come with built-in UV protection, so it's always a good idea to check the products you're using in order to deliver optimal sun protection for your deck. In terms of UV protection, opting for a solid stain or semi-transparent stain will provide your deck with better protection than a clear stain. However, when it comes to stains, greater UV protection is often accompanied by a higher price tag.

While selecting a great stain is crucial, there are other ways to keep your decking looking as good as new. According to Rocky Mountain Forest Products, a high-quality decking oil can go a long way in keeping up your deck's appearance in-between staining. However, not all decking oils contain UV filters, so be sure to pick up a decking oil designed with sun protection if you choose to work it into your deck's sun protection regimen.

Provide your deck with shade

According to Seal-Once, opting for a covered deck is one of the best ways to provide your deck with year-round sun protection while also making it an inviting place to relax on sunny days. Covered decks also come with the benefit of requiring less cleaning in order to keep them in pristine condition. However, if your deck is not already covered, this can represent a major investment that some homeowners are unprepared for.

Thankfully, there are a couple of ways to provide shade for your deck without breaking the bank. According to Superior Awning, homeowners can install a wide variety of awnings over their deck, including mechanical models that retract at the push of a button. While these will often cost $2,000 or more to install, they offer great sun protection at far less than installing a roof over your deck. Budget-savvy homeowners with modestly-sized decks may even opt to cover most of their deck with a large decking umbrella for a fraction of the cost of an awning. While these offer less coverage than other options, they're great when combined with a robust deck maintenance routine.