During the building boom of the 1980s, 90s, and early 2000s, condominium developments all across the country were trying to give their units a little edge. Some added upgraded cabinetry and flooring. Others included high-end appliances, sunken living rooms, and vaulted ceilings. Those developers who really wanted to add something special, however, went the extra mile and added wooden decks to the exterior of their units.
These decks were a major selling point for condominiums bordering golf courses, lakes, and other more scenic areas. Unfortunately, the high maintenance costs, as well as relatively limited usage life of these wooden gems weren’t always disclosed to the purchasers, and some have begun to fall into disrepair. Through the use of more modern techniques and materials, however, maintaining and enjoying a wooden deck does not have to be a hassle.
A Matter of Time
The relatively hot and humid weather residents enjoy in South Florida typically limits the life span of most wooden decks to about 15 years. Annual maintenance with a quality sealer and preservative can increase the life span by as much as 50 percent, almost entirely eliminate the mildew and fungus growth, and help the wood to maintain a like-new appearance. The use of certain building materials and advanced techniques can also add many additional years of use to any deck.
“When using hardwood species such as Ipe, Cumaru, Tigerwood and Garapa, a deck can easily last 40-plus years,” according to Dan Ivancic, director of marketing in the New York office of Advantage Trim & Lumber Co., which also has locations in North Carolina and Florida. “With these hardwood species, maintenance is much lower than traditional wood decking and composite decking as well. The only maintenance that is typically needed is the application of Ipe Oil, which helps block UV rays from turning the wood gray, reduces chances of warps and cracks and helps repel water.”
Ivancic notes that Ipe oil is not to be confused as a wood deck sealer, which is a topcoat that covers the wood, eventually flaking and peeling off, necessitating major maintenance to restore its appearance. “Ipe oil penetrates into the wood grain and is completely absorbed, so there is never any flaking or peeling to worry about. The oil can be easily rolled, brushed or sprayed on—then you just let it soak into the wood, so application is much easier than a traditional water sealer for wood decks. The oil can typically be applied every two or three years, depending on how much direct sunlight the deck is exposed to.”