Are you fed up with replacing your wooden deck again and again because of warping? We see you and understand your annoyance.

We have put together a few effective preventive measures and simple tricks to save you from frequent trips down this lane. However, to eliminate a problem from its roots, we should know the exact cause for it.

With that said, we’ll first discuss why warping happens in detail and then move on to the solution. So, keep reading to find out.

Why Does Warping Occur?

In simple terms, warping is the twisting of timber from its supposed shape due to adverse weather conditions. Uneven shrinkage is the root cause of such disfigurement.

Whenever timber is exposed to rain, it absorbs water and expands a little. Later, when the surroundings return to their regular dry state, the wood loses that water and tries to contract back to its normal size.

It is at this point that trouble occurs because when the wood dries up too quickly or too slowly, it tends to lose its original shape.

Another point worth noting is that it’s not just rain or sun that causes warping as certain woods are “hygroscopic” in nature. For those of you who don’t know, this is the property of wood by which it passively absorbs water from a humid environment.

Types Of Warping

Wood can warp in many different ways. Let’s quickly take a glimpse at the most common types:

Warped Timber Deck

1. Kink

In this type of warping, the wood deviates from its straight structure and twists towards one side.

2. Bow

This is the most common type of wood distortion. In this, the wooden board assumes a bow shape lengthwise, while there’s no change across the width.

3. Twist

You might have come across twisted warping in wooden stairs or fences. In this type, the timber twists in shape, and all four corners end up unaligned and out of position.

4. Cup

Cup-warping is not that common. It is the same as the bow type, but the distortion is along the width instead of the length.

You must note that wood warping depends on multiple factors like the species of wood, air flow, grain orientation, finishing quality, etc. Now that you are acquainted with the basic know-how of the problem, we can proceed to find its efficient solutions.

How To Stop Your Timber Deck From Warping?

Deck And A Lounge Chair

1. Inspect During Installation

The prevention should begin right from the start when you are installing the deck. If you are thinking about renovation, then read this section carefully.

Paying attention to these small details will help you increase the longevity of your deck.

2. Wood Grains

Wood grains can affect the quality of timber more than you know. The pattern of the grains affects the reaction of lumber when it adapts to moisture.

For instance, a straight grain texture with less than 0.8 mm pore space doesn’t warp as readily as others. Additionally, wood chopped from the core of a tree is relatively stable and doesn’t shrink.

3. Sawing

Another crucial factor is the sawing technique. You might find it difficult to believe, but yes, the methodology followed while processing the timber does influence the warping.

In a flat-sawn board, both the edges are at an equal distance from the heart of the tree. Therefore, it’s less likely to get crooked. Furthermore, a quarter-sawn board has symmetrical annual rings because of which contraction occurs evenly.

A fluctuation in sawing speed and bad maintenance can lead to uneven thickness of the wooden boards, causing them to be bulkier in the middle. This is how bow-type deformities occur, and you can prevent them by sawing at a steady pace.

4. Proper Seasoning

The curing and drying process limits various types of warping in wood (except for crooking). A few key points to bear in mind while seasoning your wood are:

  • Prevent half-dried timber from regaining moisture too quickly.
  • Avoid drying the wooden boards for an extended period.
  • Don’t under or over dry your timber boards.
  • Drying for a long period can lead to splits and cracks.

Now, if patchy drying has left your wood uneven, then sealing its ends can help. You will find that maximum moisture escapes the boards from their edges. Meaning, unsealed ends shrink faster as compared to the sealed ones, thereby causing the wood to warp.

5. Flip The Warped Boards

When the damage has been done, but the wood is at a curable stage, this technique will do the trick. You need to unscrew the boards, flip them, and screw them back after drilling new holes.

Make sure that this time around, you use more screws than before; six is the magic number here. Better positioning will keep the boards tightly secured at their respective places.

Hence, while nailing down the boards, use two pairs, each at one end and two towards the outer edge, near the joists. In this way, the wood will not have enough space to twist or move. Also, we advise using long nails or screws for added stability.

6. Add moisture

You might wonder that moisture is the culprit here; why would we want to worsen the situation by adding more? Hold that thought, we’ll clarify it in a bit.

The boards shrink and develop bow-type warping if the moisture leaves the surface too fast. We can fix this shrinking by bringing the moisture content back to an optimum level and exerting uniform pressure.

You can do that by pouring a little water on the timber until it pools. Leave it like that for around fifteen minutes; now, we know you will feel sceptical doing that but trust us, it will prove useful. The wood will absorb most of the water but wipe away whatever’s left after fifteen minutes.

After the above step, the boards will become somewhat pliable and bent, and once this threshold is reached, you’re ready for the next part. Fix the timber in the desired place using a rigid structure like an iron tube and a clamp.

Lastly, leave them to dry in a ventilated place, avoiding direct sunlight, and you’ll be good to go.

7. Replace The Festered Boards

When only a few boards are warped, it might be convenient to just replace them instead of putting in the extra effort. Simply pull out the distorted boards and replace them with the new ones.

If you have leftover matching wood, then this method is your best bet.

8. Prevention

The best way of saving your deck from the cruelty of weather is to cover it with rescue paint. You’ll find a lot of warping prevention paints on the market that are budget-friendly and effective. With just a few coats, you’ll have your deck looking new and safe from further damage. Also, remember to clean your deck regularly.

Stop Your Timber Deck From Warping

We have reached the end of our guide on saving your timber deck from warping. After covering its root causes, types, preventive, and fixing methods, we hope that it was worth your time.

Wood warping can be very annoying and replacing the entire deck can burn a hole in your pocket. But with our tips, you’ll be able to get away without spending much while ensuring that the deck remains beautiful and long-lasting.

On that note, we’ll be signing off. Take care, folks, and we’ll see you next time!

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