Because cedar decking is native to the Pacific Northwest, it usually holds up better than non-native decking materials. Portland homeowners will still need to protect their cedar decks against a few major enemies, however – namely rain, leaves and pests.
Decking Materials – Portland Threat #1: Rain
Portland’s rainy climate creates the perfect Petri dish for dry rot. Dry rot is caused by a microscopic fungus that thrives in moist, dark conditions. This fungus destroys the cellulose in cedar decking, making it weak and brittle. If left unchecked, dry rot can destroy an entire deck.
Solution: Keep your deck boards well ventilated. If air can move through them, less moisture will build up, and fungus will not be able to grow. Also, it’s important to maintain a quality finish on your deck through regular cleaning, staining and sealing. A patio cover can help slow the maintenance schedule for cedar decking by providing shelter from the rain.
Decking Materials – Portland Threat #2: Leaves
Our urban forest provides many benefits. For instance, shade reduces heating costs, and trees keep our water and air cleaner. However, living in an urban wooded wonderland like Portland also that tons of leaves fall every autumn. Over time, wet leaves release tannin, which can stain wood materials. Furthermore, decomposing leaves foster wood rot on cedar decks.
Solution: Because leaves can cause staining on cedar decking materials, Portland homeowners must be especially vigilant about sweeping their decks. Take advantage of sun breaks to completely clear your deck of organic debris. For those who’d rather avoid this chore, a patio cover is a great solution. Patio covers help keep leaves off your cedar decking in the first place.
Decking Materials – Portland Threat #3: Wood-Destroying Pests
All manner of critters thrive in Portland’s climate. Deck owners must be on the lookout for both insect and mammalian pests. Slugs, termites and carpenter ants can gnaw away at decking materials. Portland homeowners should also keep an eye out for raccoons, skunks, rats and possums, which can nest under cedar decking.
Solution: Minimize moisture, which pests need to survive. Limit underdeck access by hanging deck skirting. Be sure to include a small access door so you can reach the area under your deck if required for maintenance.