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5 Tips for Preventing Deck Mold

There might be something living in your home. Somewhere in a dark corner, maybe in your basement, or hidden in the crawlspace beneath your roof, there’s something growing and spreading itself through the quiet and unseen places right where you live. It’s mold. Studies have shown that mold may be present in as much as 30% of new homes, and that rate goes higher with older homes. Even if you keep your home clean, mold can become rooted and spread anytime it can find a humid enough environment. 

One surprising place in your home mold can grow is your deck. Wood decks in particular carry a risk, as they absorb moisture over time, and the organic material in the wood provides plenty of nutrients for mold to grow on. What’s worse, when you clean your deck, you’re not likely to do enough to properly remove mold since it’s going to penetrate well below the surface. There are a few key steps you can take to prevent mold from working its way into your deck

Understand what causes mold to grow: 

Mold is a fungus, and to grow it requires moisture and organic material. While you may not be able to prevent moisture outside, you can take steps to prevent mold from gaining access to the organic material it needs. On your deck, it will usually be feeding off of the wood your deck is composed of. If you have a wood deck, keeping the deck treated with a stain or sealant will go a long way to preventing mold growth from occurring. The chemical composition of stain or sealant will prevent the mold from absorbing the material in your deck, but it breaks down over time, so you will need to retreat your deck on a regular basis. Follow instructions on your stain or sealant packaging to determine how often it must be reapplied. If your deck is made from some other kind of material, there may still be organic matter for mold to grow on. A metal or polyvinyl deck could still have a buildup of organic material over time if it hasn’t been clean. Regular power washing removes this risk.

Evaluate the logistics of your deck

There may be some logistical factors that increase the risk of mold for your deck. First, the drainage system for your roof plays an essential part in protecting your home, your deck included. Make sure your downspouts aren’t draining off onto or near your deck. It is also critical that your gutters are kept clean and in good repair. A clogged or leaking gutter may be draining excess rainwater onto your deck, which will exacerbate moisture issues and delay your deck drying out. When building a new deck, it is important to ensure you take drainage into consideration. A slight slope in your deck away from your home will ensure water drains off away from your home’s foundation. Leaving a gap of .32 centimeters in between deck boards also helps with water drainage. Ensuring that your deck can be opened up to direct sunlight, either by closing deck umbrellas or retracting a canopy can go a long way to helping speed up the drying process and prevent mold since sunlight will not only heat and dry the deck, but UV rays also kill mold spores before they can grow. 

Do not paint over mold: 

If you do see mold beginning to grow on your deck, it is critically important that you don’t try to cover it with paint. “Out of sight - out of mind” might make you feel better in the short term, but mold can still spread even after it’s been painted over, and the damage it can cause to a wooden deck doesn’t stop. Mold must be removed before painting. It’s also worth noting that if you paint over mold, your paint isn’t going to properly adhere to the deck in the first place, and the paint is likely going to begin cracking and peeling far sooner than it should. Properly cleaning your deck before any repainting project not only helps protect your deck, but also ensures your paint will last as long as should be expected. 

If you’ve already got mold on your deck, regardless of what you have or haven’t  done to prevent it, call us today and our deck washing service will remove mold and leave your decking looking like new!