Protect your deck from joist rot

Grace flashing tape

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 Grace Deck Protector 45639 Felt Asphalt Rolls

— Gary Wentz, Senior Editor


Image provided by Grace


Related articles from The Family Handyman:

- Rebuild an old deck with new decking and railings

- 7 Deck building tips

- How to build deck stairs

- Low-maintenance decks