Why is my new hardwood decking cracking? A. This is a common concern with new hardwood decking installation. While cracking is often inevitable as the new layers of wood age, there are ways to help minimize the cracking.
First, remember that most hardwood decking materials are actually darker in color than their appearance. This is especially true for darker woods like basswood or hickory. While the grain of your new hardwood decking may not be as visible, it is important to remember that the dark color is actually its best choice for insulation and sound reduction. If you have an existing wood deck, you can still choose to use dark hardwoods. However, you should avoid using cedar and treated redwood as these colors will not do your home justice.
Second, remember that natural hardwood decking is not completely weatherproof. It does have some resilience towards normal and extreme weather, but it is not as durable as other types of decking. In fact, it is probably a better idea to use a weatherproof composite deck instead. You can further increase the resiliency of your new hardwood decking by adding some rubber or acrylic decking planks. This will provide you with a comfortable and durable deck surface that you can enjoy for many years.
Third, another reason why your new hardwood decking may crack is that it is engineered from softwoods that are prone to fungal decay. Unlike hardwoods which are more resistant to attack by fungi, softwoods will often begin to decline in terms of their color and durability after a few decades. With this said, you should always opt for a hardwood decking product that has been kiln-dried thoroughly and then coated with a protective sealant. This will ensure that it will be around for many generations to come.
Fourth, it is important that you take care of your beautiful new hardwood decking. Since your decking is made from hardwood, it requires daily care and attention. This includes regular cleaning using soap and water and the application of decking conditioners. You should never leave a saturated conditioner sit on your decking for an extended period of time or else it will begin to rot.
When choosing your material, be sure that you choose solid hardwood decking instead of a floating hardwood decking product. The floating hardwood decking products often have a wavy board design that allows moisture to soak into the surface, which can eventually lead to rotting. For this reason, always go for lumber that has been specially treated with a moisture-resistant sealant.