Deck Life And Maintenance: How Long Does A Wooden Deck Last?

As a homeowner, there’s nothing more satisfying than being able to sit back and enjoy the beautiful yard you’ve worked so hard to achieve. The last thing you want to spend your time doing is worrying about your wooden deck and whether or not you’re going to need to replace it soon.

The bad news is that no deck is going to last you forever. There are a number of factors that contribute to deck deterioration and you just can’t avoid some of them. However, there are plenty of steps you can take in order to prolong the life of your wooden deck.

So, exactly how long does a wooden deck last? And what can you do to ensure that your wooden deck lasts as long as possible? Read on to find out!

The Lifespan of a Wooden Deck

Wooden decks are the most popular decks out there. This is because wood is simple to find, relatively inexpensive, and it creates a warm and inviting atmosphere in any backyard. However, wood comes with its fair share of issues as well.

Wood, no matter how well you treat it, is susceptible to warping and rotting. And there’s no way to ensure that your deck never gets wet.

If you take excellent care of your deck, giving it all of the maintenance it needs, it can last for 20+ years. That said, the exact amount of time a deck will last depends on the type of wood type and a variety of other factors.

Wooden Decks Made From Cedar

Cedar is the workhorse of woods. It makes the perfect material for fences and decks because it’s less likely to retain moisture than many of the other woods that are commonly used for decks. This means that it’s less likely to rot.

However, if you want to keep your deck looking as good as the day it was built, you’re going to have to clean it as often as you reasonably can. Also, you’ll want to seal it annually.

Cedarwood scratches easily, so if you have pets or you plan to put chairs that move out on your deck, you might want to reconsider using this wood.

On top of routine hardware checks and replacing boards when needed, cedar decks are high maintenance. But, if you treat it right, your deck can last as long as 40 years.

Wooden Decks Made From Mahogany

Mahogany is a beautifully colored hardwood, which means it resists those scratches that you have to worry about when it comes to cedar. They’re not as high maintenance, but they are natural woods which means they will still decay over time.

If you take care of this type of deck, it can also last you upwards of 40 years.

Wooden Decks Made from Pressure-Treated Lumber

Sometimes, in order to ensure that wood lasts in an outdoor setting, manufacturers pressure-treat their wood and force preservatives into the grain. This helps to limit rot and increase the wood’s resistance to insects.

That said, pressure-treated wood does tend to warp and change shape as it dries. So while it will resist a lot of the environmental changes that the weather brings, it might not be the ideal material for everyone.

If you maintain and seal your pressure-treated deck, it can last you around 50 years.

Factors that Contribute to a Ruined Wooden Deck

Now that you understand some of the lifespan limitations of the various types of wood, let’s take a minute and talk about the different things that factor into the life of your wooden deck.


If your deck sits under too much shade, it’s probably going to take a lot longer to dry out after rain. And if it gets hit by the scorching sun all day long, it’s going to fry the sealer and boards over time.

You want to make sure that your deck sits in an area that gets varied amounts of shade depending on the time of day, if possible.

Lumber Quality

You get what you pay for. That’s a saying that applies to every part of life, but especially when it comes to the building blocks you use to construct your home and the constructs around it.

Look for lumber with as little defects as possible. While it might seem attractive to purchase lower grade lumber, remember that knots, twisting, and cupping contribute to a less appealing appearance and a lower structural rating.

Distance From Ground

If your deck sits close to the ground, the fact is that it probably won’t last very long. The soil holds onto moisture and releases it constantly and when you build a wooden deck right above it, you’re just begging for that wood to soak it all up as often as possible.

Also, it won’t have enough ventilation to dry out after a rain.

So while a deck that’s close to the ground might be nice to look at, remember that you want to give it enough space to dry out and not absorb moisture from the ground.


You’re going to want to make sure that you invest in a top quality coating material for your deck as well. Stick with a coating that repels water and also has a wax or oil base. This will stop the water from seeping into the surface of the wood. This is another area of deck maintenance that you just don’t want to skimp on.

Getting the Most From Your Wooden Deck

You might look at a wooden deck and wonder why it doesn’t last as long as the other wooden structures around your home do. The fact is that your deck won’t have a roof over it to protect it from the elements, so it’s eventually going to need to be replaced.

However, you can enhance the lifespan of your deck by ensuring that you select the best decking material.

Want A Deck That Lasts Even Longer Than Wood?

If you read this whole article and wonder would allow a deck to last as long as possible maybe its time to consider a composite decking material? We install lots of composite decking surfaces that give you many benefits over wood including no need stain or seal the deck surface, no splintering, and no maintenance besides general cleaning. A deck is a big investment and you will appreciate a composite deck for years to come.

For more information about decking and roofing, visit our website today!

Roofing Contractor Prince Frederick, MD