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Porch decking is traditionally tongue-and-groove lumber that is used to build a porch deck. The porch is the first part of a home that most people see; therefore, porch decking is critical in setting the tone of the home. While traditional porch decking consists of pine or poplar wood, many upscale homes integrate exotic woods such as mahogany and bamboo into the deck design. Treated lumber is typically used as porch decking due to the exposure to the elements that a porch often endures. To maintain a natural look on the porch decking, use of waterproofing sealer and finish is important to create a barrier from the elements and protect the decking.
When building a porch, it is critical that a slight grade be designed in the plans. This allows any rain or water to run off of the porch decking rather than pool on the surface—pooling water can lead to damage to the finish and to the decking itself. By engineering a self-draining grade into the design of the porch, slipping accidents due to wet surfaces are greatly reduced. It also aids in creating a porch that will air-dry in a short amount of time after a summer rain. In cold climates, the grade allows water to drain and prevents dangerous ice build-up.
If placing a piece of carpeting or a large rug on top of the porch decking, it is important for people to remove and clean under it during the summer months. Water that might become trapped under the material can lead to rot and damage to the decking. Even in a dry climate, moisture can accumulate under a rug or carpeting on a porch, creating a potentially damaging condition. By rolling the rug and allowing the porch decking to air out, the trapped moisture can be eliminated and damage avoided.
Maintenance of the porch decking is usually an easy task. A simple sweeping followed by a rinsing with a garden hose will typically suffice. In the spring of the year, it is a wise practice to wash the porch deck with a mild soapy detergent. This kills any bacteria that has found its way onto the porch surface as well as washes all traces of salt off of the surface if it was used during the winter. Salt left to sit on the decking can slowly deteriorate the finish of the decking, leaving it vulnerable to damage.
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