Last summer, I helped a carpenter buddy tear out a rotten deck. The joists were pressure-treated lumber, so I was surprised at how badly decayed they were. But my friend wasn’t. He sees it all the time: deck joists rotting from the top edge down because the deck boards and debris keep them damp for weeks after rain. So he has two rot-fighting tips for deck owners and builders:
1. Take a few minutes occasionally to pull out the leaves, twigs and other debris that gathers between deck boards, especially where the decking crosses joists. A drywall saw works great for this.
2. If you’re building a new deck, cover the joists with rubbery, adhesive-backed “flashing tape.” This will add $50 or more to the cost of your deck, but that’s cheap insurance. You can purchase flashing tape or other items through our affiliation with Amazon.com:
— Gary Wentz, Senior Editor
Image provided by Grace