How the Summer Humidity Can Affect Your Deck

As it heats up outside and the humidity rises in areas around Texas, homeowners may be wondering how the extra moisture in the air affects their deck. We all know moisture and wood aren’t a winning combination. Luckily, most of the time humidity isn’t intense enough to make much of a difference on your deck. However, there are a few things you’ll need to be mindful when it’s humid outside.

Stained Deck with Rain

Staining Your Deck When It’s Humid Out

If you’ve decided to wait until the summer to stain your deck you can certainly do so even though it’s more humid outside. The one thing to keep in mind is that it may take a little more time for the stain to fully dry. When it’s drying people, pets and bugs will have to steer clear of the deck and rain needs to be well off the radar.

Ironically, sealing the deck is one of the best ways to protect the wood against moisture.

Mildew Build Up from Humidity

Mold and mildew spores are in the air and all around. They usually go undetected and don’t pose any problems until moisture is added into the mix. Mildew needs moisture to stay hydrated and grow, which requires a relative humidity of just 70-93%. Heat can speed up the growth of mildew and mold on wood so keeping a deck clean can be more challenging during the summer.

To remove the build up of mildew when the humidity is high scrub the deck with a solution that’s 1 quart bleach and 3 quarts of water or use a store-bought cleaner that’s formulate for untreated wood. Pay particular attention to shady spots where moisture may linger. To prevent mildew from forming use a sealant on the deck or treat it with a fungicidal product that’s designed for decks.

Slick Surfaces Created by Humidity

The moisture from humidity can make the surfaces of a deck slick. This is especially true for decks that have already been treated with a sealant or are made with composite decking materials that keep moisture from being absorbed by the boards.

Humidity Causes Swelling

When there’s a lot of humidity in the air the moisture content of boards will increase. This will cause the wood to swell and create wood movement. You’ll notice that the gaps between the decking are narrower and a few nails may pop up. There’s even the potential for boards to buckle or bow depending on how much it expands, the moisture content of the wood before it was used and if the builder took wood movement into account when building the deck.

If you’d like to know more about which types of softwood and hardwood decking are more susceptible to humidity, how to maintain your deck during the summer or how to construct a deck that’s suitable for summers in Central Texas give Timbertown Austin a call.


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